“MOST people, when they hear my voice, think I should be aiding and abetting someone else – everyone used to say, ‘who is the boss’ and I would say ‘no, I am’,” says Sheelika Ravishankar, head of Outreach and People programs at Team Indus, a private Bangalore-based company making a bid to land on the moon.
Across the globe there is still a depressing lack of women in prominent roles in the technology sector. And those that are there, as Ravishankar says, are often mistaken as the secretary or PA as people fall on old stereotypes associated with women in the workplace.
According to a January 2016 ‘Future of Jobs’ report from the World Economic Forum, which surveyed 371 leading global employers, women made-up only 5 percent of CEOs and 19 percent of board members in the ‘Information and Communication Sector’.
Furthermore, women in 2015 held only 25 percent of all computing occupations. Asian women made up only 5 percent of this number.
Then consider that 88 percent of all information technology patents (from 1980–2010) were invented by male-only invention teams and only 2 percent invented by female-only invention teams, the picture emerging becomes even more male-dominated.
Developing Asian nations, such as India and Malaysia, are establishing themselves as technology hubs that might one day rival Silicon Valley. It is important women share in this success and are not overlooked due to tired sexist stereotypes and cultural limitations. But what can be done to change the statistics?