Maximizing the human capital of the Arab society
Newsletter Spring 2019
Arab women who say Yes to self-fulfillment
Starting from the top
31 women from Arab society are about to start an internship at leading law firms and in the public sector
90% of the participants from the Kav Mashve Law Business Clubs-Program have been accepted for an internship. 21 participants will start their on-the-job training at leading Israel law firms, a 50% increase compared to last year, and 17 in leading public law departments. 74% are female future lawyers.
Until today the number of Arab attorneys in leading Israeli law firms is negligible (about 15 in Israel’s top 20), so these results are a game changer. Kav Mashve continues to create a new reality of proper representation of female Arab jurists in the core of legal practice in Israel.
The Lotus Center: High-Tech comes to Druze women in the Carmel
Kav Mashve is proud to be a partner (together with Portland Trust) in a very special initiative – the Lotus WOMEN Space for Inspiration, Training and Employment, or in short: the ‘Lotus Center’. This project provides an opportunity for religious women in the communities of Daliyat al-Carmel and Isfiya to be part of the high-tech industry in the country without leaving the village.
According to Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, less than a third of Druze women work. Most of those who do work are employed in teaching and education, with very few in other fields. The percentage of Arab women who work in high-tech today is 0.1%, which is in complete contradiction to the fact that more than 50% of Arab women are interested in the fields of high-tech and science. As for Druze women, the conservatism of Druze society and some of its internal ethnic characteristics prevent women from joining the force. Additionally, Druze live usually in Israel’s periphery, which suffers e.g. from shortage of jobs and day-care for working mothers.
The Lotus-Center was founded by a visionary brave Druze woman called Mayssa Al-Sheikh, who dared to challenge the religious and traditional constraints and to offer a better future for her talented women friends.
Lotus will enable these women to enter the Israeli high-tech industry and to pursue a successful and fulfilling career, while working close to their homes and respecting the religious authority in their community.
As part of this program, Druze women will be trained to become computer-programmers in the frame of Kav Mashve’s Coding Bootcamps. In addition, the participants will receive an intensive soft-skills training and assistance in the placement process with relevant employers. The long-term goal is to establish a hub for women in Daliyat al-Carmel/ Isifya, in which high-tech companies can provide jobs for women according to an outsourcing model or through opening small branches within the center, that employ women directly. Moreover, the hub will offer training and co-working space.
We at Kav Mashve see this initiative as a unique model that can be adapted to many places in Arab society, and believe that it is time to capitalize on the tremendous potential that exists in the female workforce in the various sectors of Arab society. We call upon the government, foundations and any relevant body to invest in the venture and its success.
Women Power in Lead Forward
"I worked close to home, in a comfortable and permanent job, then I realized something!"
Meet Maram Hussein-Sheikh, one of the amazing women who participate in Kav Mashve’s ‘Lead Forward‘ program (more than a third of the current cohort are women). Maram tells us about her career, and how she became the first Arab woman to work for a venture capital fund in the center.
You studied economics and accounting at the university, it’s not exactly a girl’s dream.
Believe me, I always knew that management and economics would be my future. Even when I was little. Well, I did not know what economics was, but I was always passionate about numbers and mathematics and pretty early I realized that I wanted to work in management and economics.
Did your parents try to convince you to learn a “respectable profession”?
Unlike many people I know, my parents were very neutral. They let me choose what I wanted to learn without any pressure, for which I’m very grateful. It’s really not something you can take for granted in our society.
You grew up in a supportive home, how did this affect your perception of the status of women in Arab society?
Alongside my aspiration for a high-quality career, I always wanted to work in a managerial position, through which I could empower the status of Arab women in the workplace. Ever since I was little, I have seen with my own eyes how the voice of women, their opinions and desires would be disparaged. Women, at least at their workplace in the Arab society, suffer from oppression. This turns their careers into an arduous and busy journey. I always knew that it was possible and that women had tremendous power. It’s important for me to tell every young woman in the Arab society to ignore statements like “the profession you chose requires many years of study and you will not have time for a family at home.” Ignore those who say, “You have to finish with the degree and then find a husband.” Or “this job is not suitable for women because of the intensive working hours “. Do not be limited to places close to home, fight in order to realize your ambitions, because if you love your job you will reach the right balance between career and home. Believe in your abilities and you will know that even if your Hebrew is not the best, you are smart enough and you will always have unique added value wherever you work. You deserve to fulfill your dreams.
How was it after you finished your studies?
At the beginning I followed the traditional path. I studied accounting, worked in an accountant’s office, but I soon realized that the usual track of accounting was not right for me. I looked for a challenging position that required analysis and understanding. And although I worked in a comfortable job, steady and with good conditions, I decided to change direction. I came to the venture capital fund ‘Vintage Investment Partners’, where I work today in the Investor Relations Department. I feel that I am fulfilling my aspirations to integrate my background in economics and technology.
Some words about the Lead Forward-Program?
In one sentence: this program changes our way of thinking. Apart from the rich professional content from the management world that we study in this program, there are other values that are very important for our personal development. The whole issue of strengthening our self-awareness, networking abilities, team cohesion, inner reflection, setting goals and pursuing aspirations – all this makes Lead Forward a truly unique and special program.
Thanks to the "Tahrir Square" that changed my life
“I live the dream I never dreamed of,” thus begins Mona Haddad, a participant of the Lead Forward 3, begins her amazing story. We asked her to share with us her personal career path, since she completed her degree in nutrition science and to write a personal letter to the “Arab girl” who is still in search for herself. She shared her story with no hesitations, since ‘Share’ is her second name!
“My name is Mona Haddad, and I live the dream I never dreamed of. Today I live and breathe digital marketing – my passion. I turn to every young girl at the beginning of her studies or at the beginning of her career with one small request: Dare to dream outside the box, don’t be afraid to dream of a different career, find your passion and never give up your dreams. When I had to choose a career, digital marketing did not even exist, so always think about the future!
I suppose my “beginning” is very similar to yours. I finished high school in the village of Rama in Galilee with very good grades. I could have studied medicine or psychology (my parents’ preference). Like me, you did not have a female role model, most of the women I knew were nurses or teachers, and I could not see myself in their shoes. In the end I decided to study nutrition science, and I was sure that someday I would be the happiest nutritionist in the world!
When I finished my studies and thought that this was the spring of my career, another spring surprised me: the Arab Spring. Like hundreds of millions around the world, I also followed what was happening at the Tahrir Square in Egypt. I was amazed by how much power social media had over the nations and how it actually changed the world. At that moment I realized that social media is what I want to do in my life. I started studying the field in online courses and gained the practical experience needed to turn the desire into a profession.
One day I heard about a position in a start-up company, who was looking for a “digital marketing manager for the Arab world”: that’s me! And guess what, they invited me for an interview. It was hard to hide my excitement, and it worked. At the end of the interview, the interviewer informed me, “Mabrouk, you have been accepted!” It was the first day of my career as a digital marketing guru. Soon, as a result of hard work and continuous learning, I became an expert in the field. I began receiving invitations from leading TV channels and top magazines in the Arab world, asking to interview me so I could tell them about my success story. At some point I realized that I was living the dream I had never dreamed of, that I was in the right place, breathing in my area of activity and enjoying every moment.
I would like to approach the “adult young woman” who already started her career and say a few words about Lead Forward. I joined the program to hone my managereal skills. In fact, I received and still am receiving more than expected. The program entails several workshops, meetings and activities pushing participants to research and ponder, not only their personal and professional environment, but also internally, inside our selves, to sepcify our strengths and weaknesses and know how to handle them. An additional thing that surprised me in the program was the link created between all participants making us feel like family. One thing I realized during the program is that, as a young woman with aspirations looking for a self fulfilling career: I am not alone. The support I received from other participants gave me immense strength and proved me I can make a change.
Proud of you Shireen!
Shireen Zoabi joined Kav Mashve in November 2018 as the coordinator of the Coding Bootcamps-program under the auspices of the Israeli Innovation Authority. The program is designed to train programmers to be Full Stack developers. The first class of the program is already underway, and the talented participants who will be completing the intensive training course in the coming months will soon begin their careers in leading high-tech companies.
Entrepreneurship and Technology Portal Arabtechport, a UK Tech Hub initiative at the British Embassy of Israel, has published an article about our Shireen. In the interview Shireen talks about her personal career path, from computer science studies to the surprising turning point in her career! For the full interview