Women face a double whammy of inadequate technical skills and low gender parity in the tech sector.
In April 2021, Capgemini and SRF Foundation launched a program – ‘Coding for Girls’ to introduce female students to the world of technology.
The programme (in line with the New Education Policy of 2020) aims to impart coding skills among girls enrolled in government schools in Hyderabad, Gurugram and Noida. The program has touched 10,000 girls belonging to grades 6 through 10.
Dr. Suresh Reddy, Director of SRF Foundation says, “The vision is to increase the representation of women in the technology sector in the future with the hope that these skills will enable them to enter the tech industry not only as engineers but as business leaders and entrepreneurs as well.”
The 26-hour programme teaches subjects such as Scratch, Block Programming, Minecraft, C, and C++. It focuses on building the ability of the girls to solve real-life problems.
Along with coding, Dr. Reddy says, the girls are being provided with career counselling and acquainted with automation and robotic industries to ensure that they do not pass up on opportunities and instead make full use of their skills.
The program is divided into teaching, practice, and evaluation sessions. Students who pass the evaluation test will get a certificate, and those with excellent performance receive recognition and awards.
A survey by Aspiring Minds among 36,800 students from over 500 colleges observed that only 36% of software engineers could write compatible code in India. It clearly illustrates the gap in technical skills faced by people in the technology industry. Additionally, there is a disparity between the number of men and women in the sector. According to The Economic Times, a survey done by ITES companies with a sample of over 3 lac women concluded that tech companies only have 26% women in engineering roles. It means that women face a double whammy of inadequate technical skills and low gender parity.
Due to the lack of funds and facilities, most government schools do not include coding in their curriculum, which helps in promoting analytical thinking and innovation. For female students, especially, school is the only place they can get these kinds of opportunities.
Creative initiatives like Coding for Girls create exposure to the world of technology and pave the way for a bright future of the country.