At the WomenTech Network, we’re fortunate to have a wonderful, global community of ambassadors who help us spread the word about our work and who helped us make the WomenTech Global Conference 2020 a success and continue helping us on or mission to unite women in tech. We would like you to meet these wonderful people as well; therefore, we’re going to be introducing you to some of our most active members.
Today, get to know Rashi Jain:
Rashi Jain is from Delhi, India. She has an undergraduate degree in Instrumentation & Control Engineering (B.Tech) from Uttar Pradesh Technical University (JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida). She worked as a software automation tester at Cognizant for 4.5 years. A few online certification courses sparked her interest in the field of Data Science, and she decided to pursue a masters’ degree in Data Analytics.
Becoming a Global Ambassador for the WomenTech Network has provided me with a great opportunity to grow and expand my community and learnings. As a part of the team, I have met with few amazing women in my field that have inspired me to become a better version of myself every day!
In Rashi’s Own Words:
What can tech conferences do to increase the number of women in technology?
I believe that tech conferences enjoy a great influence in the community and can play a vital role in increasing the number of women in technology by supporting them in the following ways:
Workshops: While a lot of women might like to have a career in the Tech industry, there are far fewer women that can code. Programming capability might not be the only skill required for a Tech job and many job roles might not even require coding skills, but a large proportion of the highest paying jobs require the candidates to be proficient in programming languages.
Therefore, including workshops in tech conferences, like organizing bootcamps and training sessions can help to initiate their interest in coding.
Follow up: There are many great platforms that provide training to get people started on new things like a programming language. But a problem that most women face is that once the session/training is completed, they get distracted with a variety of other things and lose the focus from the newly learnt skill. Therefore, I believe we need to develop a robust follow up system that would encourage women to keep pushing their limits and ensure that they keep making progress in the field of their choice.
Mentorship: While workshops/training sessions/boot camps provide great opportunities to learn and grow, having the right mentor can completely transform women's career paths. If a woman is taking time out of her schedule to learn new skills, but she is not able to apply them or those skills are not as relevant to the job role she would like in the future, her efforts might go in vain. So, it is useful to have a mentor who has navigated the path they want to follow. Mentors might not only help women grow to be ready for the job they wanted, but also might lead them to the job opportunity.
Back to work initiatives: Every woman in the industry needs to take maternity leave when she is entering into motherhood. While this experience helps her grow in her personal life, her professional life becomes stagnant. Many women even quit jobs to be able to devote more time to the family. It is important to help them get back to their workplaces once they are ready to take charge of their professional lives. Therefore, promoting back to work initiatives by various companies at tech conferences can help these women to connect to the right people and make progress in their professional life once more.
Why aren’t there more female CEOs in tech?
While women are trying to leave no stone unturned to make their way in the tech industry, there are still a very few women who reach the higher levels in the hierarchy like CEOs. There are many reasons that hinder women from taking up these roles like:
- lack of family support,
- opinions taken lightly in board meetings,
- ego problems such as male colleagues not wanting to be managed by a woman.
Can women have kids and a tech career?
I am a strong believer that women can have kids and a tech career simultaneously. But there are many factors that pose hurdles for women with families.
- If a woman keeps family photos at her desk, she is perceived as emotional and weak. Whereas if a man has family photos at his desk, he is viewed as a nice family person.
- Pay gap is a reality that most men fail to realize and understand. But it does exist!!! Many times, women are given less salary assuming that they will not be able to devote as much time and energy to work as a man, due to their responsibilities at home.
- Although there are many companies supporting women to get back to work after a career break, there is still a gap in the opportunities as well as strong bias about women with kids and family responsibilities.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the tech industries today?
The biggest challenges facing the tech industries are facing today are peer competition and resistance to change.
Peer competition: If company A is working on feature X for years, but in the meantime its competitor company B releases feature Y, now to ensure its competitive edge, company A might need to put hold on its work for feature X and concentrate on developing feature Y for its products at the earliest. This might jeopardize the plans and goals of company A, making it underperform than the targets.
Resistance to change: This concept is also related to peer competition in a way. If company A and B were doing the same work manually for years like manual testing of web applications, company A decides switching to automation testing which increases its productivity and outperforms company B. Now company B would also be required to switch to automation testing, else it might lose the clients. But that would require an overall company revamp with re-skilling the employees and getting access to all the latest tools and technologies. Many companies may not be ready to make such a huge shift.