A report done by Power In Diversity examined 70 Venture Capital funds and 424 private and VC-backed startups that are active in Israel. It revealed that the average percentage of women represented in companies is 33%. Though there is a more substantial presence of women in large companies (36%) than in smaller companies (30.8%), the representation of women in tech jobs is a mere 27%. When it comes to management roles, being a C-level executive, a VP, or a director, only 23.4% of these positions are filled by women. That is to say, less than a quarter of the decision-makers in the ecosystem are women. When looking at VCs, only 14.8% of the partners are women and 9% are investing partners. This piece of data correlates with the percentage of companies that are founded by women in the tech industry which is 12%. These statistics reflect not only the Israeli tech ecosystem but also the global one, as the universal technology industry has only 31% overall female representation.

In order for the startup nation to continue to thrive, there needs to be more diversity within tech; there is no reason why the human makeup of the ecosystem should not represent the number of women in the general population, and the number of qualified women for these roles. Though there has been a significant increase in the number of women that are represented in the tech ecosystem in Israel, it is far from being enough. This series will focus on those women who have made it in tech and tell the stories of their journeys within the tech ecosystem– where they are now, and how they got there. We hope that this series will inspire other women to go after their tech-driven goals and not let gender biases, prejudices, and stereotypes get in their way; we hope to motivate companies to allocate considerable resources to the implementation of diversity programs and focus on expanding the pool of candidates that are underrepresented in the workforce; we hope to encourage government and educational institutions to take measures in providing the tools, support, and means necessary to enable a more diversified tech workforce.

Today is World Health Day. In its honour, we interviewed Carine Belle Feder, the co-founder and CTO of Antidote Health. Antidote Health is an Israeli startup that is aiming to give everyone, and anyone access to affordable, quality healthcare, regardless of race, location, or circumstance. Since quality healthcare is a basic human right, they strive to ​​provide the best healthcare possible to all Americans at affordable prices–anytime, anywhere. They have developed a telemedicine app whose advanced platform asks users simple questions about symptoms and medical records before putting them in touch with a clinician. Users can see a healthcare professional immediately or can choose a time that is convenient for them. With the app, a practitioner examines users via video call and diagnoses symptoms in real-time. They can provide prescriptions for local pharmacies or any test or referral that a user may need.

Antidote Health partners with dedicated board-certified clinicians for primary care, offer expert support in the realm of mental health and have customized treatment plan and medication management for hypertension care. They are growing by the day, spreading care to as many communities as possible. Currently, they offer their services in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Now, through their platform, Americans can get acute and primary care services at a fraction of regular costs. Patients get treatment 24/7 for a variety of health concerns like earaches and infections, stomach problems, allergies, bronchitis and more.

In a conversation with Geektime, Carine Belle Feder opened up to us about her journey through tech, and how she got to where she is today: a co-founder and CTO of an Israeli healthcare startup.

Ever since she was a little girl, Carine Belle loved computers. From the young age of 3, she was constantly playing with them, and as she got older and started her journey through education, this love only grew. In high school Carine Belle’s focus was on computers; at the time she didn't realize that computer science was a path many took to simply make money– she just loved it and was a proud computer nerd so wanted to pursue it. She then enlisted into the IDF’s Unit 8200 - the intelligence corps. It is clear from the beginning that Carine Belle knew she was destined to work with technology– she surrounded herself with people who felt the same, which only heightened her interest and love for the field.

Later on in her career, having worked as a developer for some time, Carine Belle developed a desire to start her own company– one where she could wear many hats: write code of all kinds and work with customers. Through friends and military colleagues, she was introduced to her fellow co-founders who shared the same mindset as she did. Together, they decided to join up and run with their idea; right before the pandemic started, Carine Belle left her full-time job as a developer and started on her journey to create Antidote Health.

But getting to where she is today wasn't an easy journey, and Carine Belle felt some deterrents along the way because she is a woman. Even though she was a team commander in a very difficult technical position in the army, she found that when she was released, she couldn’t get a job with equivalent stature, though her male counterparts, who held the same position as she did in the army, were. When she was eventually hired, any time she asked for a promotion, a raise, or to be trusted with harder, more important tasks, she was always challenged. It is as if no one trusted her to get the job done or thought she deserved more, simply because she was a woman. But Carine Belle says she was able to make strides and achieve her career goals “Because I never gave up. I just kept on pushing until I got to where I needed to get to.”

Carine Belle attests this inequality to the fact that women in the high-tech scene are the minority. She thinks that both genders assume women are not as technical as men and don't understand the intricacies of tech to succeed in it. And unfortunately, this means that today, if you are a woman in the field, you must tear yourself apart and work harder than anyone else to prove your worth. And even then, you may not succeed and get what you deserve. That’s why Carine Belle wants more women in the field. “If there are more female high-tech executives, then it will attract more women into the field because they will see that they too can do it; with more women surrounding them, they will feel more comfortable to break through the barrier.” That is why at Antidote Health, they have a female majority. From the get-go, her fellow founders agreed that having a feminist agenda should be part of the company’s ethos for both technological and managerial roles; they actively seek out and recruit women, and don't just wait for them to apply. Carine Belle says that this will trickle down to their clients as well for with an equal number of women working in their company, more women customers will be encouraged to use their platform. Carine Belle thinks women and men alike should follow her lead: “Be a part of a place that wants to do good in the world.”

Carine Belle is really trying to make the path for women to get into or advance in high-tech an easier one– not only in her own company but also in Baot (Hebrew feminine conjugation for “to come''), Israel's largest community of experienced women in software engineering and data science. She co-founded and manages this community, which started because she and the other co-founders of Baot were sick of “being the only women in the room”. More and more women joined, so more and more women started filling those rooms–at conferences, events, community meetups, etc. As more women joined their community, they started giving Baot more of a structure, by offering mentoring, tech forums, meetups, boot camps, tech blogs, and more. Those involved in Baot can rely on their fellow women for advice in a slew of areas, both professional and personal. The best thing about Baot, according to Carine Belle, is that with every new addition to their community, they learn something new; all these women have something to offer one another. This is true in their community but can be true to all facets of life as well– we just need to give women a chance.