Equip girls with tech to increase women entrepreneurs: Experts
World Bank states that India ranks 120th among 131 countries. As per women are concerned, its only about 14 percent of Indian women who own or run businesses, according to the Sixth Economic Census conducted in 2014. Women only account for 17 percent of GDP’s in India, which is less than the half the global coverage.
Adequate encouragement should be given at grassroots level to girls to foster their potential for pursuing technology and thereby burge on the number of female entrepreneurs in the country, a panel of women entrepreneurs told an international conclave in Thiruvananthapuram recently.
While participating in a panel discussion on ‘She is the Boss, She Loves Tech’, held on the sidelines of the concluding day of ‘Huddle Kerala 2019’ at Kovalam, they opined that the representation of women in the technology sector is minuscule now.
The two-day event, one of Asia’s largest congregations on startup ecosystem, was organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
“We should address the issue at the grassroots level, and schools should encourage girls to pursue technology. There is a favourable milieu for women to enter this field as finance from banks, learning and mentoring opportunities are available for them,” said Ms Kiran Bhat, Founder and MD, Xebec Communication.
“It’s a fact that technology has transformed the industry. We need more women startup networks happening on a regular basis. Industry mentors should come voluntarily to conduct mentoring sessions for women,” she added.
Noting that tech women are of rare species, Ms Pooja Ravishankar, Head, Category Marketing, BigBasket.com, said it is imperative to shed the typecast roles assigned to girls and involve them in jobs like repairing vehicles, and electric components at home.“We have to start from home and when it becomes a culture, we will reap the benefit in 10 to 15 years.”
Citing her experience at the company, Ms Pooja said, “Women employees have attention to details, and patience. But it is very hard to find talented women in mid and higher level.”
She informed that BigBasket has embarked on a pilot project of employing women as delivery executives.
Admitting that scarce number of women in technology field is a reality, Ms Sruthi Kannan, Head, Launchpad Startup Accelerator, CISCO, said women have to move away from stereotypical tasks and must play to their fullest potential. “More than the quantity, the quality women contribute in workforce is immense. It is also important to empower men so that they can extend their support to women.”
Ms Anju Chaudhary, Director, Enterprise and Alliances, Builder.ai, said every woman should be able to unlock their potential. “It’s our responsibility to encourage women and join hands to make them powerful,” she added.
Ms Punita Sabharwal Kapoor, Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur, was the moderator.
The event, which hosted an array of technology experts and marketing leaders, offered a unique platform for startups to showcase their products before technology and industry leaders from around the world.