Israel's military is working to draw more women into its computer division and its efforts are showing promising results.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) distributes brochures encouraging 11th grade girls to join "the next generation of technological women" and runs several programs that identify and train promising female high schoolers in subsidized courses. The program has led hundreds of women per year to sign up for the army’s computer and communication corps, officers estimate.
Women represent more than 50 percent of staff in IDF cyberdefense units. However, the number of women in research and development jobs is still "extremely low," according to a 2011 IDF assessment.
The campaign to enlist more women in technical roles stems from the IDF's increasing use of technology and subsequent need for skilled personnel over the last two decades. The IDF's Hadarim program provides young women in their last year of high school with a year-long introductory computer course taught by Microsoft trainers. When program participants reach the army, the army's computer school teaches them network administration, systems management, programming, and cyberdefense.
Some students continue in an IDF computing center that is known to train top programmers and startup CEOs, making graduates highly sought after in the workforce.
From The Wall Street Journal
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