The Divide by Gender Exception – An inquiry towards the dearth of women tech entrepreneurs4 years ago Varun Rastogi
Recently,a team of researchers did an analysis of GitHub for open source projects, trying to discover whether their was any bias in acceptance of code. They discovered was that women’s contributions were actually accepted more often —but only if the women had gender-neutral profiles. Women whose GitHub profiles revealed their genders didn’t have it this easy. Not a very welcoming news.
While we have Exception handling mechanisms in the case of the obnoxious divide by zero errors in our code, such a mechanism in our real life lies underdeveloped to handle the sexist exceptions made towards the womankind in the Technical Entrepreneur field today.
Its saddening that a google search for women tech entrepreneurs in India returns back such a small group of talented female entrepreneurs.
Why is this the case?
When Ada Lovelace was the first programmer ever on the first mutli-purpose computer ever build by Charles Babbage…
When two centuries later her vision for a computer to work on more than numbers is coming true with smart phones in everyone’s hands,machine learning and interactive technology…
When Susan Kare worked tireless nights on the UI and typography of the MAC which Steve Jobs could boast about it being copied by microsoft and hence traces of her work finding a way on every digital device of today…
Why do we still have so few women in tech?
It is not that they lack the expertise. They lack opportunities,opportunities that we as a society grab away from them. From being told that they are not fit for an education early in life to being told they shouldn’t be ambitious as their sole goal in life should be to serve at home.From making them guilty about being business oriented to making them guilty about not being their for their children while away working.
Even after 69 years of Independence this bias has resulted in disheartening figures such as less than 40% of girls are in STEM education and less than 10% of company founders being woman. Our society makes life quite tough for today’s young women tech entrepreneur.
But today’s Indian woman is fighting back and with grit,guts and gumption.
Disruptive startups like Zivambe, SquadRun, Infibeam, Culture Valley,etc have women at their core as their founders/co-founders. Times are changing, indeed, but, we need to go faster and deeper and attack the root of this bias : superiority and inferiority complexes.
Men have this feeling of superiority, knowingly or unknowingly, ingrained in them from childhood by the environment the have been in – being allowed to do whatever they wan’t while the woman at home have all the restrictions and are restricted to the house and its chores. This same feeling transfers to their workspace and results in pay scale biases and general distrust in a woman’s abilities .
A hange of attitude will definitely result in change of situations..
A lot of companies today are realising this bias and the power of women and have various programs encouraging us to battle this divide by gender exception. Microsoft’s GirlsInTech initiative anchored at Hyderabad aims to help women overcome biases and become more ambitious in the tech field by providing access to mentoring sessions and investing platforms. Google’s Anita Borg scholarship helps budding young women achieve their dream of studying in their dream university by helping them financially. Efforts are also being made to propagate the ideal of equality through online media having special women entrepreneur related articles like HerStory a women specific subsite of YourStory.
Individually,We may not be able to launch programs and provide scholarships but we can surely do our bit. Each bit of effort counts,a pebble thrown in the water can set the sea in motion and it lies on all of us to TRY to disabuse the women in our lives of the beliefs our sexist society has forced on them , THROW all helpful initiatives and opportunities we hear of towards them,enable them to CATCH these opportunities and get rid of this EXCEPTION in the moral and social code of India.