Women outnumber men in biology and related sciences in higher education in Israel, a report published by the Bloomberg news agency revealed on Tuesday.
This says the report, could give women an advantage as the government and private investors put increasing amounts of money into the life-sciences industry, one of the country’s fastest growing sectors, collecting the most venture capital money in the first half of this year.
The article quotes a number of Israeli women working in the field who share their thoughts on why women have the advantage.
Daniella Nistenpover 22, a bio-medical engineering major at the university in Haifa who plans to work in bio-mechanics or bio-materials research says that when she sits down in a lecture hall for one class in neurophysiology and another in biological processes, she sees a sea of women.
This is not the case when she takes courses in the theory of electrical circuits or differential equations at the predominantly male Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She believes it is evidence that she has picked the right career.
“It makes you feel that in the life-sciences field, a woman can make a mark,” she adds.
“Women traditionally are not the main breadwinners in the family and can afford to pursue a PhD, whereas men have more pressure to go out and make a high salary,” says Anat Cohen- Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen Ltd., which was founded by members of an Israeli army intelligence unit that designed software to break codes.
The Tel Aviv-based company uses algorithms to trawl private and public databases to discover proteins that may have the ability to treat diseases.
According to Bloomberg, Cohen-Dayag is one of three female CEOs in the Tel Aviv Biomed index. The others areKinneret Livnat Savitsky of BioLineRx Ltd., which develops clinical stage therapeutic pharmaceutical drugs, and Pnina Fishman of Can Fite Biopharma Ltd., which is focusing on treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Cohen-Dayag adds that the industry is a good fit for working mothers like herself, ‘‘Because of its academic characteristics, the culture in the industry has traditionally been more permissive, enabling more flexible hours, which has enabled women to juggle career and family.’’