Every year, on an average, 52 per cent of the entry-level jobs in IT go to women.
Yet at the middle level, the ‘leaky bucket’ syndrome kicks in and more than half of that workforce vanishes, said Sarada Ramani, CEO of CI.COM, speaking at the city’s first ever Devfestw — a developers’ fest for women held recently.
Organised by the Google Developers Group (GDG), Devfestw saw a large group of women technologists, ranging from first-year Computer Science Engineering (CSE) students to hardcore programmers, come together for some ‘geekery’.
Ms. Ramani and P.R. Jayashree, director, Next Wave Multimedia, discussed with Deepa Venkatraman, a freelance journalist, their struggles and triumphs as the city’s top technology entrepreneurs.
According to Ms. Jayashree, a female workforce is generally more productive than its male counterpart since women are better at juggling and meeting deadlines.
“You’re a woman? So am I,” said Ms. Ramani, while explaining why she wouldn’t cut her women employees any slack due to their gender.
Both women encouraged the audience to think about working for start-ups and small enterprises rather than “following the herd” and joining MNCs.
Madumitha Viswanathan, an organiser of the event who works for BMK Solutions, stressed the need for women to know what “the real IT scene is and how many choices there are where your work can really matter to an organisation rather than you being considered as just another resource of the company.”
“Things are changing now. I myself was hired through my Github profile and a coffee shop conversation on Twitter, rather than conventional means,” she said.
Ms. Ramani concurred, while saying newspapers ads didn’t offer much. “You should look at being hired through social media like LinkedIn,” she said.
Karthik K., a member of GDG and another organiser, said the GDG had been working hard toward a Devfest specifically for women for almost a year. “Chennai has seen the highest turnout at an Indian Devfestw thus far,” he said.
Most of the college-going participants were appreciative of the GDG’s efforts in bringing together all the women who share a love for technology. “The best part was knowing that your educational background doesn’t matter as long as you’re passionate about technology,” said Pandi Kirupa, a third-year ECE student from Alpha Engineering College.
“It was an eye-opener to learn that there is so much more to IT than just working for Infosys or Wipro,” said Abhigna Antari, a second-year CSE student from VIT University.