Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 6: Women in the Land of Milk, Honey and High Technology: The Israeli Case

Ronit Kark


Ronit Kark In the 1990s, Israel emerged as a leading center for technology start-ups and innovation. In the year 2000, near the peak of the high-tech boom, Israel had about 4000 high-tech firms and new ones were forming at the rate of about 500 start-ups per year (de Fontenay and Carmel, 2004). At this stage Israel had the highest number of engineers per capita in the world and the high-tech sector comprised 15 percent of Israel’s overall economy (Adams et al., 2003). The centrality of high technology to the Israeli economy can be seen in the fact that its exports in 2000 accounted for approximately onethird of the country’s total industrial exports (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2002). Israel has the third (after the USA and Canada) highest number of companies listed in NASDAQ (Breznitz, 2005; Eidelman and Hazzan, 2005). As early as the 1960s and 1970s, large American companies, such as IBM and Motorola, first made Israel into one of their leading development centers, while from the mid-1980s the number of international companies operating in the country has been growing. Alongside these, thousands of local start-ups were founded, some of which went on to become independent multinational firms that are traded on the NASDAQ and compete successfully with the global giants from the Silicon Valley (de Fontenay and Carmel, 2004; Teubal and Avnimelech, 2003). Since the early 1990s, high-tech industry has played a central role in the Israeli economy, while turning the whole country into what the industry calls...

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