Women technologists come to the fore

Dec 17 2012, 00:35 IST
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SummaryEleven years back when I entered the Information Technology field, I rarely used to see women around.

As the country sees more and more hacking and coding events, the women software developers get a platform to experiment with various technology platforms and gain in confidence about their coding skills. The companies now promote them not because of any social obligation but to improve productivity

Eleven years back when I entered the Information Technology (IT) field, I rarely used to see women around. Now there are lot of women entering the company over the past two years,” said Sheera Shamsu, an Intel employee who was a participant at the full day Women Hackathon event held in Bangalore last week, first of the kind held by California-based Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology, the institute which works for increased women participation in technology, in the country.

Today 20% of technical college graduates are women, which makes them a significant segment to tap, with a scope to mirror this number at work places as well as the country progressively leverage this limited education resource pool at all levels. Currently the women participation in technology field is 40% at the entry level, 22% at the mid level and 7-10% at the senior managerial level according to Stanton Chase, a human resource consultancy.

Today most of the companies are promoting gender parity not out of any social obligation but clear productivity reasons. It is just a reflection of demographics of the country being reflected at the work place as well. The talent spread will be more or less equal, with the only factor working against women being the availability of equal opportunity.

The companies save a lot of money by continuing with experienced women. They don’t need to invest in new talent acquisition or training or looking at compatibility of a new recruit at that level. At Microsoft India, 40% of the employees are women. “With the fast growth we are seeing in IT, it would be impossible to replace if that percentage of your workforce drop off after marriage or having children. A natural level of progression means that there will be a large proportion of women at senior roles as well,” said Harish Vaidyanathan, director, evangelism at Microsoft Corporation India.

For instance, between 2009-2011, Yahoo! in India has seen an over 84% increase in the number of women making it to the senior manager’s level. “You don't want to lose a talent. Hiring a new talent with same productivity level is impossible. Holding

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