• Women in Tech In India: Up Against the Old Boys’ club?

    Why does the startup ecosystem sometimes appear like any old male dominated behemoth? In what’s supposed to unshackle the patriarchal overhang at the workplace, entrepreneurs and their ecosystem drivers often reinforce those very stereotypes. From tech to food startups, there are women everywhere – leading from the front, making up the middle and joining the startup forces at early stage. They are everywhere. Do organisers not see this?

    This evening we are fired up with tweets from @LadyAshBorg who co-founded a startup that uses artificial intelligence for offering newer product experience. Yes, she is totally tech. And she is a woman. Like many many women who are leading tech transformations in the world and in India. But why don’t organisations see this?

    This is the product conclave Ashwini Asokan is referring to, Nasscom Product Conclave. There are 18 women to a speaker list of 200. They aren’t the only one. Take this startup meet in Bengaluru, where there were 6 women to 28 men in the discussion. And this Entrepreneurship Congress where men took majority of stage time. And an upcoming Indo-UK summit has a skewed list too

    That the Indian startup system has remained male dominated isn’t new – things are changing but the change is being brought up not by the system but the women who want to take charge, follow entrepreneurship and use the power of tech and digital to emerge winners. Why isn’t the ecosystem multiplying those energies? Do organisers don’t see it?

    If there’s one thing technology sector has been proud of is their control and understanding of numbers, formulas, code. Then why not fix the numbers when it comes to having gender fairness on panels? It’s been telling of our country’s focus on women in tech that the many lists made contain the same 8 women, as though it’s not about them but the positions they hold. Here’s one, another, and another.

    Manels seem to be a problem across the board.

    Monica Jasuja, a columnist with SheThePeople.TV and a crusader against manels says, “Missing women is a growing concern even in industry events, panels and thought leadership forums where forget equity in representation.” She has some advise for curators and organisers :

    1/ an inclusive approach of overcoming sheer laziness to not spend time looking for experts hence resulting in the same speakers in every industry event 
    2/ every panelist demanding equal representation of women (yes women need to fight for other women too)
    3/ recommending names of experts to event organisers ahead of the event

     

    As per this report in 2014, only 30 odd per cent of India’s tech force is made up of women with only a third making it to the top. Will these numbers change if we don’t even put the spotlight on women who truly are transforming tech by leading, building and coding it? And if we make a start in some sectors, hopefully this will become a real movement to impact change.

    Feature Image Credit: Entrepreneur.com

    Also Watch: Aditi Prasad, Deepti Rao’s Robotix is training girls in Tech

     

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