Yeah it’s true that women own only 5 percent of startups.
It’s true that only 7 percent of partners at top 100 venture capital firms are women.
It is also true that in the high tech industry, the quit rate is more than twice for women (41 percent) than it is for men (17 percent).
Whether it’s about startup founders, investors or people in computing and technical roles, there is always a big gender gap.
And, yeah! It is also true that, I also feel like I am left behind in the world of technology. It is not because I was incapable of doing those stuffs in which boys are said expert. It’s also not because I didn’t try to learn technical skills or I didn’t get time to learn.
I am 19 and half now. In coming September, I will be of 20. It is high time to analyze that what were the reasons, that my batch-mates went ahead and I felt like I had not got what I wanted. Here I am going to pen down my feelings and experiences of some stages of my life. I strongly feel that, this can also be story for many girls, why they don’t come for engineering and why there are very few women in computer science and technology.
It is the matter of time when I started dreaming.
It was the time I was studying in 4th grade when my father taught me to dream. At this young age, I was free to dream for anything, without thinking of any barrier in my later life. And, I was dreaming to become an astronaut.
Kalpana chawla was my role-model, inspiration and ideal. I was imagining myself as a girl who can achieve anything. At that time, there was no good school in my village from where I could enter my dream world. I started preparing for the entrance exam of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya. Finally I made it and got myself enrolled in 6th grade. It was my first time when I was away from my home and my family. I had the pain of moving away from my parents and family for the first time, but I entered in my new school with immense pleasure and great hope. I felt that this was a good opportunity for my dream to come true.
Navodaya also taught me nothing about computer science and technology.
I spent my five years (class-6 to class-10) in JNV-Siwan. I have learnt many things in those five years. And, the one thing, which resonated many times in my mind, is to have a better lifestyle. I had started imagining of myself as a successful woman. I was planning for my better tomorrow. I was working hard those days. Physics was my favorite subject and I was spending most of my time solving physics problems.
But when It comes to talk about computer science and technology, I had learnt just nothing in those five years. I was simply unaware with the fact that, I was going to make my story in computer science. I am having much troubles in first and second years of my graduation. If computer were an integral part of my early education, then story would have been different.
Two reasons that kept me away from technology…
Lack of information : In JNV-Siwan, we were not allowed to keep mobile phone or any electronics gadget with us. We were allowed to talk to our parents once after 15 days with coin box. We didn’t had access of internet and google. The point here is, we were kept away from technology. We had a course for computer as an optional subject and also our school had a computer lab full of computers. But if I have a fast memory, I went to the computer lab 10 times in one year. Our studies were mostly limited to the theory classes (including some lab hours for physics, chemistry and biology). Computer was an optional subject and almost no one wanted to study it because they didn’t know how computer would play an important role in later life.
Second reason might be more real, why less girls are going for technology. In my school JNV-Siwan, I used to feel like I was captured in a cage and there was no freedom to even learn things.
JNV-Siwan is a residential school where all students used to live in hostel and the house masters were supposed to provide services of warden/guardian. Boys had more freedom. They had permission to go anywhere in the campus all the time. They were also permitted to go out of campus if they needed. So, the boys can go to the teachers to clear their doubt, they can go to computer lab and they can access the internet for as long as they want. They also used to go to library and read the books which were not allowed to take to hostel. In short, boys were more free to do what they wanted.
Talking about opportunities for girls, they were not allowed to go out of their hostel rooms (except for classes) without permission of warden. And they didn’t even get permission to go unless it was very urgent like some medical issues and so. Suppose a girl wanted to take a print out from computer lab, she had to take permission of warden, warden asked caretaker to go with her. Now the girl went to computer lab with caretaker to take print out. As soon as her work was finished, she had to come back to hostel immediately. To put it simple, girls had less opportunities to explore in the campus. And what I feel is — less opportunities for girls is the main reason for gender gap in technology. I could feel the differences, at the end of class-10 where I knew nothing in computer science, many of the boys in my batch had good knowledge of computer.
One of my key rule is that information and facility, two are the necessary components to learning. I feel that I had lack of information to come ahead in field of technology.
After class 10th, I left JNV and went to Patna and then Kota for the preparation of IIT-JEE. In those three years, I never thought of studying computer science. The ultimate goal was to clear JEE exams and get enrolled in any of IITs, NITs and IIITs because I was directed to do so. Finally the time came in july’16 when I got myself enrolled in IIIT-Allahabad.
I don’t know It happened fortunately or unfortunately that I got IIIT-A. IIIT-A has great coding culture and I had non-coding background. Gradually I developed my interest in coding but, I had to face many difficulties in first year. I felt being inferior among my batch-mates. But finally It is my second year and I am happy now. In the journey of these two years in IIITA — Despite being just beginner in development and coding, I am happy, because now I am more confident. I have passed many barriers and hope to have good experiences ahead.
About me —
I am a second year undergrad at IIIT-Allahabad majoring in electronics and communication engineering, but am passionate about computer science.
I wish all the students of my village to take their right education at early stage. Quality and access to education should reach to them in their early environment.