A report that examined 70 Venture Capital funds and 424 private and VC-backed startups that are active in Israel 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, VP, or 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 only 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. Overall, higher gender inclusivity in the tech industry can lead to better outcomes, with more efficient decision-making, bolstered innovation, and enhanced business and economic yields. And so, 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.
Ronit Maor is the CFO at Earnix, a global provider of real-time AI-driven rating, dynamic pricing, product personalization, and fully operationalized telematics solutions for Insurance and Banking. Being a prominent figure in driving Earnix’s accelerated growth, in 2021 Ronit managed to lead the company to double its workforce and become a Unicorn after securing $75 million in growth funding with a pre-money valuation of $1 billion led by Insight Partners, together with JVP, Vintage Partners, and Israel Growth Partners. In 2022 Earnix managed to sustain its growth. Ronit started her career at the age of 26 as the CFO of M-Systems, the inventor of USB flash drives and a Nasdaq-traded company, and served for 10 years until the company was acquired by SanDisk. She holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering and Management (Cum Laude) from Tel Aviv University. Before joining Earnix, Ronit served as CFO at Pontis, a leading digital customer engagement company, until its acquisition by Amdocs toward the end of 2016. Moreover, she held the position of VP of Corporate Development at Modu, an Israeli start-up designing unique cellular phones. Today, in addition to her role as a CFO at Earnix, Ronit also serves on the board of a tech company traded in Nasdaq and mentors women, leading them during the early stages of their careers.
In an interview with Geektime, Ronit opened up about her thoughts and visions in the world of work and life as a woman in tech.
Ronit did not initially set out to work in technology, but rather was presented with the opportunity and took it. Her family values motivated her to a desire for financial independence and pushed her to excel in the field, particularly during the army where she discovered her resilience and ability to handle pressure. She claims that important strengths to have in the high-tech field include “Being sharp, analytical, resilient, and willing to work hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone”. She also believes that work-life balance is a constant effort that requires defining guiding principles and being willing to adapt as circumstances change. When considering where to work, Ronit values the people she will be working with, particularly the CEO. Ronit joined Earnix’s team because of her previous experience working with their CEO, Udi Ziv, and their belief in Earnix's potential to drive transformation and innovation in the insurance and banking industries.
When asked about how equality is implemented in the workforce, Ronit explained that the company has “A structured internal salary process that assures that all team members will be paid according to their professional experience and capabilities. When we offer a salary to candidates from minority groups, even if their salary expectations are lower than the market, we will offer them a competitive offer based on both external and internal benchmarks.” They are thereby achieving equality through both individual action and systematic changes.
“Regardless of gender, I set very high goals for myself, work hard, and try to be the best I can be. That is agnostic to my gender. I am proud to be working for Earnix where 30% of our R&D employees are women. Women also account for 25% of our executive leadership team and 20% of our mid-management team. We continue to work hard to increase and improve those percentages”. Nevertheless, there is a clear lack of women in many industries, particularly in fields that are traditionally male-dominated. This imbalance is a major issue, as it can lead to a less diverse and inclusive workplace, and can create barriers for women who are seeking to enter and succeed in these fields. So, Ronit thinks that “The industry must enable work to be more flexible to make sure that both women and men will be able to balance between work and other fields, but as I mentioned before, work-life balance is tricky – as finding the ‘right’ balance is hard. You need to define a guiding principle for such a ‘balance’ and acknowledge that every decision will have consequences. This balance can change according to dynamic life changes and priorities.”
To women already working in the field, Ronit has some advice: “I think you first need to act based on your own preferences and priorities. In that sense, listen to yourself, manage your career accordingly and be confident with your decisions, while still knowing each course of action has its ‘price’. Also, know that life is dynamic, and every decision can be altered throughout the different career and life phases. I also believe in mentorship - finding the right person with whom to consult. If you follow work with accuracy, determination, and a strong work ethic, you will be able to build your career, regardless of your gender.”
To companies and organizations in the field of finance and high-tech, Ronit affirms: “During the past few years, I have witnessed a change in the tech industry regarding the existing gap between male and female employees. We need to understand there are differences in the way the industry treats the genders, in particular in the opportunities for women to progress and develop in their career path, and act to bridge them, specifically when it comes to women in management roles and their salaries. These changes need to start from an early stage of our lives where the funnelling to different roles and industries start. And from a different angle – the state and other organizations need to encourage men to take an active role in their family life. This will allow women to push forward their careers. Personally, I had the privilege that my spouse takes an active role in managing our family life. Moreover, Covid and the shift to hybrid work can accelerate this shift and consequently – open more managerial roles to women.”
Written by Alissa Abrahami, Anoushka Redding, and Michal Pacifici