Women must mentor women, says tech ecosystem leader


During its third Women Leaders Summit, The Jerusalem Post highlighted women who are leading the way toward our nation’s future amidst the backdrop of the October 7 tragedy and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Hilla Bakshi, founder of HaMeetupistiot (women who meet up) was a speaker at the event held at the Google for Startup Campus in Tel Aviv last week.

How do you believe women’s voices and contributions can be pivotal in shaping a more inclusive and equitable society, particularly in male-dominated industries like tech?

As a tech leader and advocate for DEI (Diversity, equity, and inclusion), I believe women’s voices and contributions are crucial for a more equitable society, particularly in male-dominated sectors like tech.

Women in leadership roles set role models for future generations, showing that gender shouldn’t limit career aspirations and encouraging more girls to pursue STEM careers.

As experienced professionals or community leaders like myself, we must support upcoming women leaders of all ages and sectors by sharing knowledge and guidance to overcome barriers.

The most important thing is to encourage them to speak up, even if it seems frightening at times, and to put their “foot in the door” as often as they need to.

In the workplace, creating a welcoming environment for diverse perspectives through equitable hiring, mentorship, and amplifying women’s voices is critical.

Could you share a personal experience or story highlighting the impact of women’s leadership and innovation in your field and how it has contributed to positive change?

My business started five years ago because I recognized a void in the industry – the lack of female presence at professional meetups and events.

My experience as a Meetup attendee and former product manager enabled me to create a safe and innovative space where women could start investing in their own professional development.

My community has seen an immediate impact as a result of my reframing and messaging of the product called – Meetup. Through my re-messaging, I encouraged them to take 2-3 hours a week for themselves – to learn, meet new people, and network with like-minded individuals.

Since then, women have begun attending more meetups and professional events, sharing  knowledge online, and making meaningful connections as they should.  We now have more than 21,000 members in the community and are growing exponentially each month. The impact we had on the tech industry was enormous and made us one of the more important and prominent communities out there.

The aftermath of tragic events like October 7 often calls for introspection and action. How can we leverage technology and innovation at this time? And what role can women leaders play in driving this change?

I believe that by combining our leadership qualities with technological advancements, women leaders can help build more resilient and compassionate communities, ensuring a proactive approach to preventing future tragedies and fostering social healing.

Women leaders can play an essential role in ensuring that technology and innovation are used responsibly and ethically and for the common good. They can also help to create a more inclusive environment that values and respects diversity in both the military and the business sector. The October 7 tragedy proved once and for all that we must foster collaboration between men and women to ensure everyone is represented and that ideas are given equal opportunities to be heard.

Women continue to face barriers and biases in the workplace. What strategies or initiatives have you found effective in breaking through these barriers, and what advice would you give to other women aspiring to leadership roles in your industry?

Companies should create more equitable hiring policies, provide mentorship and networking opportunities for women, and create a more inclusive workplace culture. Additionally, companies should strive to create an environment where women feel comfortable speaking up and expressing their ideas.

The same goes for women, who should take risks and believe in themselves more. It is also important that women mentor other women and build a strong network of support for one another, advocating for more equitable and inclusive policies in the workplace.

In 2024 and on, I hope to see more women employed in leadership positions in our industry and that more women will be given the same opportunities as men and same resources and support.

As we strive for progress and empowerment, collaboration and solidarity are crucial. How do you envision fostering a supportive environment that uplifts and amplifies women’s voices within your industry and beyond?

To foster a supportive environment that uplifts and amplifies women’s voices within any industry and beyond, a multifaceted approach is essential.

This includes establishing platforms for women to share their knowledge and achievements, creating mentorship and networking opportunities that facilitate career growth, advocating for policies that ensure gender equality, and conducting educational initiatives to combat unconscious bias.

Supporting women-led projects and initiatives, celebrating the successes of women, and encouraging collaborations is also crucial.

Furthermore, cultivating a culture that emphasizes mutual support among all colleagues can significantly contribute to women’s development. Together, these strategies aim to build an inclusive, equitable environment that not only elevates women’s voices but also enriches the industry and society with diverse perspectives and innovative solutions.

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