JAYANTI MALA CHAPAGAIN
Founder, Spiker Solutions
When we think of the tech world at a surface level, it may seem like there is no barrier for a woman to enter and excel in the world of tech. The increase in remote work culture, freedom of working from anywhere anytime, good pay scale, increasing opportunities in the global market, social reputation, etc might seem very lucrative and most of them are actually achievable.
But when we dig into it at a deeper level, factors like unconscious bias to self-doubt to difficulty in returning to work after giving birth, the not-so-gender-friendly work culture, etc are some barriers that many women have faced during their careers. For me, along with the numerous hurdles, stereotypes and generalisations, being the only female in the core tech team in a few organisations during my early career, I had self-doubt in myself, which I think acted as a barrier in my career.
ROJA KIRAN BASUKALA
Deputy Director, Nepal Telecommunications Authority
I do have the same opportunities as men in the tech world as I have been contributing equally as men. There are no gender roles in this industry and everyone is capable of handling the responsibilities irrespective of any gender. However, I have been confronted with gender-related roadblocks for career growth to the senior management positions. The organisational politics of male counterparts in the organisation created such roadblocks in my career though I am highly competent for such positions.
Founder and CEO, Hamro Lifebank
Women are perceived less technically proficient or less capable of leading teams and it is a difficult process to unlearn for many. It’s very common to find yourself as the only woman in a room full of men. I’ve been in many situations where people tend to organically look at your male counterparts for opinions, and your voice and perspectives are brushed off. And you have to spend time trying to convince them to take your voice seriously, look beyond how you dress or talk, and treat you as an expert. The major roadblock is having to work more to build that credibility, which should not have been questioned in the first place because of your gender. But it does take grit to continue to power through.
As you focus on building your technical skills to start in tech, never underestimate the importance of soft skills! Good communication and the ability to work in a team are extremely important.
Software Engineer, Cotiviti Nepal
Having chosen the tech field as a career, I have always believed in breaking the stereotypes of society, whether it be related to gender or disability. There are a lot of significant barriers women or girls in this field face, particularly the lack of inclusivity, recognition, and acknowledgment in the workplace, and gender-related stereotypes and biases are more visible, either directly or indirectly. Often women are not trusted enough for leadership roles, considered less knowledgeable and skillful, and held back from career advancement in many cases. On top, being a woman in tech with a disability in Nepal in this scenario has added more challenges like the lack of basic level accessibility in terms of physical infrastructure in workspaces, social stereotypes, and attitude, which have been the most significant barrier in my career path.
Chief Operating Officer, Nepal Clearing House
I have never faced any barrier in my career because of being a female and have been empowered to be part of the strategic decisions and changes. However, I agree that we lack a workforce of women in the tech sector which is mainly due to the gap in STEM education due to stereotype beliefs discouraging girls and young professionals to pursue careers in the tech industry considering that the work in this industry is more demanding with odd working hours. This has resulted in the industry now being a male dominated industry. Despite the barriers and challenges, there are many successful women in the industry and are paving the way for future generations. And with the changing mind set and high demand of tech resources, we can now expect more women to consider careers in the industry.