News Column

Is it the eve of a revolution?

January 21, 2014

Golikeri, Priyanka

Bangalore: To encourage female representation in information and technology sectors, tech firms are increasingly coming up with newer initiatives and programmes.

According to experts, the representation of women in the IT sector is just 21% at the entry level, while at the managerial level it falls to 5-7%.

Realising that the usual practices such as providing transportation, flexible working hours, office creches, work from home etc is not enough to encourage women to take up jobs in the tech space, companies are now working towards luring them at college level.

Regional manager of Cisco Networking Academy, Asia Pacific, Sandy Walsh says interactive programmes and sessions with experts at the college level, "can provide better guidance and encourage girls to take up careers in the tech space."

The Cisco Networking Academy Programme, where curriculum developed by the company is taught to college students, currently has a participation from 20,000 students in India.

"And 37% are girls. This is highly positive as the programme delves into basic IT, hardware and software skills, networking security and soft skills. All that will motivate them to take up careers in the field," says Walsh.

Non-profit organisation Anita Borg Institute, which is focused on encouraging women in technology, is associating itself with Lean In, an initiative by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, to design courses and provide opportunities for networking for women engineers in the country.

Anita Borg Institute had recently organised a hackathon for women in the city. The event provided engineering students an opportunity to mingle with women professionals from IBM, Cisco, Yahoo, Oracle and Google to develop applications.

"The idea is to get more women interested in technology. In coding and development of softwares," says Lakshmi Rajesh, programme director, Anita Borg Institute.

Experts say courses, hackathons etc help students and professionals network with industry veterans and get a fair idea of what all to expect in their jobs.

Walsh says Cisco will hold about six to eight 'Women in Technology' events every year, where girls can get more awareness about careers, connect with experts, exchange views and so on.

"We will hold such events in various cities in India, where at least 800-1,000 girls can participate," says Walsh, adding that there would also be webinars every month for students to interact with experts virtually.

Women in top tech roles

Vanitha Narayanan

- Managing director, IBM India

Kumud Srinivasan

- President, Intel India

Neelam Dhawan

- Managing director, HP India

Aruna Jayanthi

- CEO, Capgemini India

Kirthiga Reddy

- Head, Facebook India

Credit:Priyanka Golikeri

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)

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