Cracking and Creating

Assya Yukht

The Cracking the Glass Ceiling program celebrated the Sodkot's efforts and abilities in three spectacular events during the 2015/16 school year:

The first event, the Crackers' Quiz, took place on February 8, 2016 at the Weizman Institute for Science in Rehovot and was attended by Sodkot from all over Israel. This is the third year the quiz was held, jointly produced this time by Sha'ar – the Kol Israel Haverim Division for Educational Excellence and the Davidson Institute for Science Education – the Weizman Institute's educational department. The quiz is an expression of the learning efforts and process of this unique program – Kol Israel 12695068 997574713660609 2053893435588759839 oHaverim's "Cracking the Glass Ceiling", designed to provide girls with the tools required to obtain a quality high school matriculation certificate that includes enriched mathematics and science subjects, provides more opportunities, and increases options in choosing to specialize in fields such as sciences and engineering in university. The program operates throughout Israel and continues to develop every year.

The schools' program coordinators worked full steam in preparing for the quiz. They were motivated not only by the possibility of wining the contest but also by the process in which the girls participated. The girls' math tutors also saw the quiz as a challenge and trained the girls for it – in some of the schools they brought puzzles and thinking games they had prepared themselves and worked on them with the Sodkot. The math teachers joined the in the celebration, swept up by the enthusiasm.

"When I saw the tutor's enthusiasm I couldn't avoid joining. I decided to take on the quiz as a challenge", said Jana, Head Teacher in Math at the Baum School in Kiryat Gat. "The boys in my class all excel, but I had less faith in the girls – I admit it. The boys would tease the girls, saying they wouldn't succeed at the quiz. That only increased the girls' motivation, they wanted to prove that they were capable. They worked harder on their math than they had any other year, constantly asking Moti the tutor and me questions, and did not leave us alone.

I was so proud of them. When the girls took first place, I was very moved."

The Baum School girls, who won first place in the quiz, returned the school with great pride. An astonishing change seems to have taken place – they now participate in class and exhibit much knowledge and confidence in their abilities.12716184 997058653712215 4323540509751911988 o

The girls of the Meir School in Kiryat Gat, who won second place, also feel that the quiz proved to them that they are much more capable of dealing with math than expected.

The mayor and the head of the Department of Education invited the winners to the mayor's office and even put up billboards expressing the town's pride; local newspapers were filled with articles covering the victory.

The second of the three Sodkot events took place on April 7, 2016 at Amdocs in Ra'anana. The Products Evening event marked a peak in the collaboration between the girls and their adoptive companies: As part of the project 10th grade girls worked on the development and marketing of a product together with companies that 'adopt' them to promote the girls' empowerment during the entire year; they exhibited their products in booths at Amdocs. Using a cellphone application they placed for the Audience's Choice. The competition was so close that two winners were eventually chosen: the Shal'on School in Kiryat Gat, in collaboration with Intel, and the Neve Sarah School in Pardess Katz, in collaboration with Teva.12983305 1009228029169213 5877036458042416142 o

The third and last Sodkot event for the 2015/16 school year will take place in early June: a website exhibit to be produced in collaboration with Afeka College.

Kol Israel Haverim has 8th grade girls meet with hi-tech women entrepreneurs who mentor them and meet regularly with them to construct websites devoted to women scientists of the past and present. This collaboration provides girls with a double inspiration – the women scientists about whom they construct the websites, and the volunteers who devotedly contribute their time and knowledge. The websites are constructed in small groups by the 8th grade girls participating in the program; each school chooses a website to represent it in the competition that takes place at the peak event. Women from the hi-tech field evaluate the website according to indicators sent to them in advance; on the evening itself they speak with the girls about their work.

The program initially held one peak event for all the Sodkot. As the program grew and the number of participating girls increased, the single event was replaced by three different events adapted to the different age levels in the program and celebrating diverse abilities and successes with our partners.