The abysmal number of women in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and analytics is a worrying trend for organisations all over the world. The resultant sexism is increasingly becoming one of the side-effects, making the global protests for gender equality so much more necessary.
In fact, only about 12 to 15 percent of the engineers who are building the internet and its software are women. Therefore only seven percent of partners at top 100 venture capital firms across the world are women. These numbers are even more deplorable for the Indian new tech sector.
Why is it so? And what can be done to change it?
Analytics India Magazine is featuring women leaders in these sector for all of March celebrating Women’s Day.
Vidya Nagaraj, vice president, Education Product Management and Services at Oracle
What does a career in engineering/analytics/data science look like for a woman today?
Relevant and meaningful data is a powerful tool for any business. Data that shows credible patterns and trends can pave the way for critical decision making. The inter-disciplinary science of integrating programming with data analysis and statistics is gaining a lot of popularity today. This area of work also requires creativity, an eye for detail and good communication skills and is an area where women can leverage their strengths.
Why did you choose this field as a career option?
Technology has always interested me. In my field of work, which is Technical education/training – I need to work with new technologies such as Cloud and design training content that will enable the adoption and use of these technologies.
How is your growth story so far?
I have had the opportunity to hold a variety of responsibilities ranging from software development, Instructional design, curriculum design and development. This variety in experience has helped me lead large projects that need varied skillsets across the globe.
What’s your experience when it comes to maintaining work-life balance?
I like to use the term ‘work life Integration’ more than work life balance. Work is an important aspect of life and so are all the other parts of life. The key is to plan your time and energy such that there is focus on what is important during a given period of time. The definition of what is important can change each day or each week or each month– it depends on the current context. This approach of integrating the key areas of your life and providing each with quality time will ensure your overall well-being as a person.
Your thoughts on encouraging more women in engineering and tech – especially in new tech sectors such as analytics or data sciences.
This encouragement has to start right from the early years at school/home. Developing skills such as creativity, inquisitiveness, diligence along with an interest in specific areas of academics will pave the way for several career options.
What are the key changes in education/career choices needed to exponentially increase the percentage of women in the workforce?
I think we are progressing well in this area. The number of women getting professional education is on the rise. The number of women entering the workforce is also on the rise. The key point is to see how we can all work together to create environments where women can sustain their careers and grow in their careers while executing their life responsibilities.