Skilling women coders to enable gender-balanced workforce in the space of technology
The under-representation of women in technology space is unrelentingly disrupting the corporate ecosystem. Even with all the talks and boardroom discussions of gender diversity in companies, we still see a serious dearth of women professionals in senior technical positions. The participation of women techies in business is not just a gender equality slogan; it makes much economic sense too. Technical acumen and technology leadership do not come exclusively to men and for every loss of female talent there is a corresponding social, economic and skill loss as well.
Organizations have begun to evaluate such gender situation and assiduously thinking about strategies for the coming years to address this incessant challenge. With the vision of building a pipeline of women leaders, it is imperative for tech organizations to lay the basic foundations that are aligned with the corporate philosophy and vision when it comes to developing women techies. And as they move up the ladder, it is essential to institute up-skilling programs at each level to ensure that they are abreast with all the latest developments in the industry. Equally important is to re-tool them so that every organization can have a sufficient number of women techies who look promising enough to take top leadership positions over the next few years. With such a strong focus on nurturing and mentoring women in tech space, let us see what all steps are being taken by organizations and other agencies to up-skill and train the women tech layer segment.
A women exclusive program to empower women techies by NASSCOM named as ‘The Women Wizards Rule Tech’ (W2RT) was conceptualized to increase the number of women across all levels in the IT firms. Launched in June 2018 with the focus on re-skilling female employees, this program is a part of NASSCOM's FutureSkills platform. Through this NASSCOM's program, female coders are getting the support to learn and acquire new skills through both online and offline modes. "Women employees sometimes have to take a career break because of happenings in their life. WWRT can help them stay abreast by getting trained in the latest technologies. There are three mentees for one mentor. Lab facilities in member companies are utilized for training purpose." Says Sujith Unni, regional head for NASSCOM.
Amazon partnered with ‘Girls Who Code’ to overcome the imbalance in the coding community and to thereby empower women in technical fields. The main aim was to build a pipeline of future female engineers in the United States through this initiative. Another program named as ‘Amazon Future Engineer’ was designed to spend on computer science education focused on kids and young engineers. Another initiative, ‘I Want to Code’ program by Amazon India focused on creating awareness among girls about career opportunities in the STEM fields and to learn about the prospects of how areas like engineering and coding can help them in the future. They conduct workshops and hands-on training to help girls kick start their understanding of coding so that they can pursue to acquire the skills ahead.
A leading innovator in enterprise software - VMware, Inc. had partnered with the world’s largest and most active community dedicated to inspiring women – ‘Women Who Code’ (WWCode). Progressive organizations like Dell, Cognizant and Airtel are supporting such initiatives and related causes as it includes training on all important technologies like cloud management, IT infrastructure and many other future-oriented areas. The objective is to help upskill around 15,000 tech candidates who have left the industry earlier. By developing them with new age courses, the plan revolves around supporting such pool of talent and help them to re-start again in the world of work.
Companies like PayPal too focuses on women technologists through their programs like ‘Recharge’ for bringing women back to work in the technology space after their break or sabbaticals. They run programs to help provide an opportunity to women folks for familiarizing and re-skilling them with the latest trends in the tech industry to increase their diversity ratio in the technology space.
In fact, estimates from NASSCOM highlights that 45 lakh people are employed in the IT industry, amongst which half of the given workforce is in need of re-skilling over the next five years. Hence, government, organizations and other related institutions today must make a conscious effort to nurture technical women employees. Spot them early, give them ample opportunities to grow and learn, involve them in key strategic projects that can give them greater insights, and equip them with the capability to lead technical teams for create a better ecosystem that is gender balanced in the tech space.