Carmel 6000 and AMIT: Bridging Opportunity Gaps Together

Carmel 6000 and AMIT have a whole lot in common. Both believe in the power of STEM and education. Both appreciate the enormous potential of young women. And both are determined to use said powers, to unleash said potential.

Bessie Gotsfeld founded AMIT, short for Americans for Israel and Torah, in 1925, in the hopes of supporting and educating young, religious women in Jerusalem. Since its founding, the organization’s mission has expanded.

Dani Rahat, AMIT’s Deputy Direct of Pedagogy, uses the language of “the periphery and the center” to explain AMIT’s mission. Those on the periphery of Israeli society, any marginalized population, receives fewer opportunities than those in the center. AMIT works to provide opportunities to “the periphery”, working to empower a range of marginalized individuals on a personal level, while also developing a pool of diverse, talented, Israeli professionals on a national level.

AMIT runs 110 schools and programs, educating 34,000 plus students, 24,000 of whom are geographic or socioeconomic minorities of Israeli society. AMIT works to level an uneven playing field, by developing and implementing innovative teaching methods, incorporating technology into the classroom, and empowering students to use technology effectively.

So, when Yossi Tsuria came to AMIT to pitch his pipe dream, AMIT was really excited to get on board. The two missions build off of one another, both working towards the same goal. As Rahat said, “We immediately saw the potential of continuing young women’s education in computer programming and were excited about giving them such an amazing, hands-on opportunity to experience the high-tech world from an insider’s view point.”

Both are not just working to gain more women access to the world of STEM. It’s not just about getting women to enter the world of STEM, but it’s about getting these women to rise to the top of it.

According to Haaretz, 58% of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Israeli universities and colleges are women, but only 29% of students studying computer science are women. According to Noa Samolsky’s Experis article, the statistics don’t improve as you enter the workforce. And they get even worse as you start looking at who’s filling senior positions. Women make up 27% of the Hi tech employee work force. And only 19% of senior positions are held by women.

Rahat cites representation as a serious challenge facing young women in Israel today. It’s a whole lot harder to become a leader in tech without the guidance of powerful women before you. Carmel 6000 and AMIT are working to develop a full force and network of women in STEM to enable more women to break the glass ceiling.

And that’s just the beginning. AMIT is excited to watch Carmel 6000 grow to serve more marginalized populations, like the Israeli Arabs, Haredim, and young men who can’t serve in the IDF. And AMIT is excited to see the impact of all of the applications that the women at Carmel 6000 develop.

About the Author
Sophie Friedman grew up in New York City with her three siblings. She’s a Junior at Bowdoin College in Maine where she studies English & Education, writes a food column for her school newspaper, and leads camping trips. She’s spending the semester at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University, working at Carmel 6000, and writing about what’s going on there.
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