“The stereotypical notion that women can’t do well in the technological field is completely false.” Akshay Ahuja
“We have never experienced any reluctance from girls to come up for our Robotics courses,” asserts Akshay Ahuja of RoboChamps , as he discusses Women in Tech with SheThePeople.TV.
Ahuja began his start-up journey early on when he was still in his second year at college. He organised two learning-based programmes, “The first was a summer camp for school students. We taught these students basic circuits and other concepts related to electronics. The second initiative was a six-week industrial training for B.Tech students.”
He managed to get about 29 students for the B.Tech programme from all over Chandigarh and started teaching them the use and functioning of ATMEGA 8 IC technology, “an integrated circuit that is usually taught to students at the M.Tech. level.” This was not a smooth journey as he claims to not have proper infrastructure.
It was a learning experience for the students and an eye-opener for Ahuja who realised that the kids grasped quicker than the adult trainees. He then put a nine-year-old into the same ATMEGA 8 IC tech. programme which the B.Tech. students were training at and realised that the kid, Aryaman Verma, learnt it better than adults!
“This led me to the conclusion that kids are like a blank hard disk, and the software our education system has installed in them is a pirated one. From that moment onwards, I decided to start training kids in Robotics, introducing them to the effective teaching methodology of ‘Hands on Practice’. And that is how RoboChamps came into being.
Weather young or old almost all guys have some level of interest in Robotics and girls are stereotypically considered to not have such interests. We ask him the same, to which he responds, “We have never experienced any reluctance from girls to come for our Robotics courses. Be it boys or girls, there is always curiosity or keenness among kids to try their hands on Robotics.” So there you go, reality does not speak of stereotypes and myths.
However, he does believe that parts of the Indian society still do not allow girl child education. “We realise that in certain sections of society, parents are still reluctant to provide quality education to the girl child. But fortunately, we have never experienced such reluctance. Even in the workshops we hold in slum areas for the underprivileged kids, we do not see any skewed gender ratio in terms of participation of kids.” He goes on recollecting that in some schools he has found more number of girls than boys have interest in these workshops.
A strong advocate of gender equality, Ahuja mentions that out of a workforce of 25 at Robochamp, 14 of them are women. “I feel that the stereotypical notion that women can’t do well in the technological field is completely false. There is literally no field out there that women can’t participate in. The women in our research team are regularly coming up with impressive modules that have helped RoboChamps grow immensely.”
Lastly, he makes a huge shout-out to girls to join robotics as he believes that India will have a huge number of women entrepreneurs in the future if girls become more and more innovative. Robotics is one such manner to promote this innovation.
We think so too, hopefully this shout-out will go a long way in increasing awareness among girls about robotics.