Simple Google search for the Top Tech Coders highlights the fact that there are only two female names up in the top 7, and Time Magazine shares the list of Most Influential People in Tech, has 4-5 women of the 20 names. The tech trades have seems to be attracted to fewer women even in the top tier, but the scenario in India is not impressive either. That wasn’t the least of concerns for Anubha when she got into building GirlScript.
Let’s have the discussion with Anubha who is working hard for the development of women in the tech industry.
StartupName: GirlScript Foundation Pvt Ltd (www.girlscript.tech)
Founder: Anubha Maneshwar.
Hi Anubha, what are the actors influenced to start GirlScript:
I failed in JEE twice, although I had a good rank in state engineering exams I ended up into a random college at Nagpur University. I saw people with 40% has also taken engineering coursework without any prior knowledge, it depressed me because my frequency was not matching at all but, then I decided to come out and change the system. My father’s death after 2nd-semester exams is also a turning point because then I knew I had to go something good. As my father once said to her, ‘’A good artist does not need a stage to perform but talent”.
I loved to surf the internet during initial college days and I found a form related to international women’s day celebration at Google Hyderabad. I filled it and got selected. It was just an event but my whole college thought that I have achieved something big and then I decided to help others as well. I got to know about Mozilla Community (the one that builds Firefox browser) I started volunteering and then ended up working with more than 15 startups and 11 communities including Django Girls, Lean In, P&G etc.
GirlScript is a non-profit project to support women in technology. It offers tech skills online and offline. GirlScript is working on customizing the education system. We understand that students need a boost to start a technical career. With lots of myths and rumors on the internet, learners are not getting relevant knowledge or information about an opportunity. We are currently operating in 36 cities across India; we analyze each student and then decide where to begin from.
We do it with the help of our chapter leaders, who coordinate with us. Apart from this, we have conducted India’s biggest Python Programming BootCamp called LetsPy and GirlScript summer of Code Program that had 1000 participants from 4 countries to help students learn about open source development and help NGOs by developing their projects for free.
Initial journey experience:
It was easy when I started out as a student. Although because of my college was not popular so people used to judge my talent. Then I started telling different college names to different people and decided to reveal the correct name only when I become successful.
But now, as the journey went on, I have bigger problems. Relatives don’t support me for leaving 4 job offers and going for so much hard work and no constant money in hand. Indian society has stereotyped women and their job roles, people don’t usually understand what and why I am doing. My mother being a single parent gets blamed for it and making me so much independent.
Problems solved by GirlScript:
We are trying to solve the main five problems I noticed in my college life:
Lack of awareness: The opportunities available in the world are limited to few women in India. Only a small group of people make use of these opportunities. GS hopes to reach to all of tier-two and tier-three cities.
Projects: The students from computer science and information technology are never into developing self-projects which give you real-time experience. But, sellers are targeting women, and they are opting to buy projects.
Lack of Skills: 95%of graduating engineers are not employable for software development jobs, says a 2017 research. Only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a program, a minimum requirement for any programming job.
Fit for Indian Structure: There are several international organizations to support women in technology, like DjangoGirls and WomenWhoCode, but there are certain requirements for starting their chapters that cannot be fulfilled in India.
Diversity and Inclusion: In India, apart from so much modernization, girls fear to take up a career in STEM. Most students remain aloof of the technology trends in the world and stay behind their global counterparts.
As of now, we don’t see any community, organization or company working for students. They are putting up the syllabus, courses or events that they want to but our methodology is completely different. The thing that helps us in overcoming the drawbacks as compared to others is we are a team of below 24 years of age.
We actually understand how things work in the Education system and what needs to be changed. In 2017, we did 65 events across the country and impacted the lives of 3000 students. And that’s why our startup has flourished so easily because we regularly talk to people, take feedbacks and work on principle- observe, learn, apply!
Yes, we have multiplied our presence in different cities within a year. We are also going international and opening our chapters in Canada and China respectively from Jan 2019. We are also working to customize tech education in every possible way and create an affordable software product.
Why many women are not into business or entrepreneurship:
Honestly, women fear to take up such roles because of the mindset they have developed. From the beginning, they have taught that tough jobs or roles are only for men. Even I want to get women employees in my startup but parents don’t allow them to travel, to do something that is a risk to their career.
They want them to get a job and get married to a guy. Although, I have started GirlScript to remove this mentality and therefore the name is GirlScript. We also reserve 50% of seats for women programmers because there are still 3% of women in open source contribution.
Message for young entrepreneurs:
Youth must stop complaining and spreading rumors that there are no jobs. There are millions of opportunities, all they need to do is to groom themselves, improve the way of communicating and not learn every skill. Instead, learn one thing and be completely sure about it. They should stay away from misconceptions and get a suitable mentor who can guide them through crucial years of their life.
Stack on startupsindia:
I regularly read about inspiring fellow entrepreneurs and their story. I believe that it is an excellent platform to bring these amazing stories outside and showcase it to the people. I can imagine how many people are getting inspired each day.
Thank you all for reading the story. This is DevJ signing off.
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