Women in Tech- Inspiring stories and the road ahead


Strength in numbers

Sandy Carter, IBM’s worldwide General Manager of Ecosystem Development and Social Business, is considered amongst the top ten women leaders in tech today. In a recent conversation with YourStory, she quoted a survey, which found there are three times as many women developers in India than in the United States. “There is a lot of passion and energy in India to do things and we at IBM are producing great mentors who will help the next generation,” she said.

Over the past year, we have seen a lot of efforts by the public and private sectors to encourage young girls towards STEM education (Science, Technology, and Engineering & Medicine).

Leading by example

Padmasree Warrior, who served as the CTO of CISCO from 2007 to 2015 and has just been appointed the CEO of NextEv for US, told YourStory that while data disclosed by companies reveals that women make up only 20 per cent of the workforce in the country, the reality is that the numbers are much lower.

Her message to all the women is, “Don’t go with the attitude thinking I can have a career or a family; go with the attitude that I can have both. When you go with that attitude, you can and will have both.”

She adds that on a day-to-day basis, women end up prioritising. “The secret is for women to be able to think that I will be able to do both and be successful at both, which actually leads to success both on the personal and professional fronts.”

Future leaders

While Padma and Sandy have already made their mark as corporate leaders, there is a new generation of women who are trying to bring about a paradigm shift in their own way. These are women who have been featured in our Techie Tuesday column and are making an immense difference to the technology world.

Rani Pachauri

Rani Pachauri, who was born in a village in Andhra Pradesh, lost her father at a very young age and had a difficult childhood. She studied in a Telugu-medium school where computers were inaccessible. But her determination and the support of her uncle drove her to complete her education. After a bumpy journey, today Rani is the Founder and CEO of Dream Tekis Software Pvt. Ltd., a software products company that builds core insurance enterprise products.

Read her full story.

Shahani Markus

Shahani, born in war-stricken Sri Lanka, wears many hats. She is the Head of Engineering at Virtusa (Sri Lanka); CTO at ICT Agency, Sri Lanka; Board of Management member at the University of Colombo School of Computing; senior eGovernance consultant at United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka, Technology Adviser to the Royal Government of Bhutan, and co-founder of three companies.

A truly accomplished techie, her journey has not been smooth. Shahani says that whether it was academics or in her career, she was discriminated against because she was a woman. Nevertheless, she has overcome every obstacle to become an inspiration to many women in technology in Sri Lanka.

Read her full story.

Sreepriya Koppula

Sreepriya is a trained classical dancer whose heart lay in technology. She is the CEO and Founder of Turnaround Systems, so named because their product was all about tuning images. Her journey from being a techie to building a company that develops automated image editing technology is an inspiration to everyone.

Read her full story 

The road ahead

With women comprising less than a quarter of the Indian workforce, many multinationals are taking steps to increase those numbers. Indian technology companies too are witnessing a change. However, women should not believe that their careers will only flourish at the cost of their families.