Women hold roughly a quarter of the jobs in the field of computing and in the high tech industry, the quit rate among women is twice that among men. So, the gender gaps remain.
While it’s been nearly 150 years since computing came into existence with some of the first programmers being women, it’s been a rough ride for the women in the industry. Choose a random woman professional in the field or even a young girl pursuing engineering, chances are she feels lonely, underrepresented and inferior in comparison to men and boys.
Some of these women sure face inequality and discrimination at home and in society, being on the backfoot and not getting access to the best. While gender equality campaigns are turning out to be effective in removing these shackles, the tragic truth is that empowered women, with access to quality education and resources, are equally at a disadvantage.
Being a woman in computing and tech, I know.
What’s not yet right?
Lack of role models
What happens when you see a sky with no stars? You believe there are none. Exactly what happens to women starting off. Seeing a lack of role models they can relate to, gets women to believe that it’s hard for them to excel.
And yet, there are so few.
Lack of a network
There’s probably more to the saying “birds of a feather flock together”. Men often have friends and a reliable network of other men to help them out. Women don’t. The presence of an encouraging and like-minded network obviously goes a long way.
We have the women doubting themselves because of stereotypes like “women are biologically not meant for math and computing”. The society does little to debunk such baseless myths and this affects women subconsciously.
Traditionally, men are more likely to be recognized for their achievements in coding and computing than women. Society prefers women to be experts at non-scientific skills.
This women’s day, ACM W VIT wants to start changing the paradigm.
Based out of VIT Vellore, ACM W is an open community of women tech enthusiasts, willing to improve the visibility and inclusiveness of women in technology and computing. Having faced and overcome most of the aforementioned challenges ourselves, we understand what girls and women in our field require. It is with our experience, achievements and networking support that we implement certain endeavors and strategies to help empower women in computing – from providing girls with sufficient learning resources to organizing events centered on women only, we are influencing lives every day.
The encouraging environment here has led many girls to commendable achievements like prizes at hackathons and good rankings in international code-sprints and we have only just begun.
This world is not perfect. In a perfect world, men and women would be considered as equals in every aspect. There would be no women’s day as there would be no need of one.
In today’s world, no such dream exists. Women have to struggle in every field, juggling household responsibilities along with constantly worrying about their safety. Today is women’s day and finally, finally, people have begun not just to tolerate or accept women, but to celebrate them. People understand and appreciate the struggles that we go through. But that is only for one day; that is only for today.
ACM -W is an initiative which wishes to provide a platform to all the women out there to shine and let their inner worth be displayed. It is a platform where women are celebrated all day, every day. It is a platform where women are equal.
This International Women’s Day, ACM W pledges itself to closing the tech gender gap and turns into the harbinger of better days for women in tech in the near future.