Tamil Nadu

Number of unemployed women engineers in India is as high as 40%

They represent 40% of undergraduates, but number drops as you go up the corporate ladder

Agnes Irwanti from Indonesia never got to complete her degree in electrical engineering, as financial difficulties at home meant her parents had to choose which of their five children could finish their education. “I don’t blame my parents. In my country and other parts of world, women don’t have an obligation to complete their education, as they are expected to be homemakers.”

However, Ms. Irwanti, the co-founder of Multikom Global Mediatama, Indonesia, did not let her lack of a degree hold her back from becoming a tech entrepreneur. She won the IEEE Women in Engineering Most Inspiring Engineer Award in 2012.

She and other leaders in technology from across the world were in Bengaluru on Wednesday to be part of at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Women in Engineering Global Summit.

While women represent about 40 per cent of undergraduate students in India, the numbers keep dropping as you go higher up the corporate ladder.

“Women in stem education are 39 per cent, but many drop out of work in middle to higher levels. At the highest executive levels, this number is just 10 per cent,” said Bengaluru-based Vasantha, Director, Technology Path Finding, India.

The number of unemployed female engineers in India is as high as 40 per cent, as per data obtained from girlsintech.org.

Societal mores have a role to play: as per data from Census 2011, migration among females is maximum due to marriage (64.9%), while among males, the important cause of migration is employment (37.6%).

Breaking stereotypes

In her address, Karen Bartleson, IEEE President-elect 2016, spoke about the many misperceptions women in engineering face. “A popular campaign last year had women sharing their photographs with the hashtag #illooklikeanengineer, to break the stereotype that engineers were nerdy looking people with no social life,” said Dr. Bartleson.

She later spoke to The Hindu about IEEE’s upcoming plans. “We hold 1,600 conferences a year, and many will be in the south east Asia region where we have a huge membership. We are trying to get IEEE researchers to work with policy makers and this is something we would look to implement in India as well,” she said.

Over 200 engineers, academicians and students participated in the conference, of whom 35 international delegates came from countries like Japan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Robots and woman

Manuela Veloso, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, United States, had the audience captivated as she explained the workings behind robot soccer.

“When we started in 1997, it was impossible to think we would be able to control one robot, let alone get five robots to work autonomously as a team,” said Dr. Veloso, adding “Robot soccer helped to study the enormous problem of team work.” In her departments, robots escort visitors to her office. She spoke about how outside her life as an expert in artificial intelligence, she was a mother and “had a life outside work”. “At the end of the day, your friends and family, real and academic, are the ones who make life meaningful.”




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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 3:17:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Number-of-unemployed-women-engineers-in-India-is-as-high-as-40/article14590448.ece

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