If you think coding or writing software is something reserved for men, you are wrong; women coders have lately come of age, breaking the glass ceiling across tech fields the world over.
India is no different, and sensing the need, leading enterprise software provider VMware, in partnership with the global non-profit Women Who Code, has announced it will train 15,000 women in India over the next two years in diverse technology areas -- for free.
The idea is novel because the programme is aimed at helping women with previous experience in IT -- who had to quit as they found it difficult to maintain a work-family balance -- upskill themselves in emerging digital technologies around Cloud and return to work.
Set to launch from December 1, the programme, titled "VMware VMinclusion Taara: Women Return to Work", has received support from several key enterprises like Bharti Airtel and Cognizant who will consider women certified in VMware solutions for relevant IT openings at their workplace.
"We are in a good position to help skilled women, who are currently home, come back, gain the right skill-sets and join the professional stream once again. We can make a difference. This is a journey and we feel learning never stops. This programme is a first such step," Duncan Hewett, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific and Japan, told IANS.
The VMware project will educate 15,000 women in the cutting-edge Cloud technologies like networking, virtualisation, data centre, storage and security.
The programme is designed to equip women with foundation-level training courses on digital business transformation; professional-level courses on virtualisation software for Hybrid Cloud and multi-Cloud platforms and infrastructure; and an advanced course on network virtualisation, data centre virtualisation, Cloud management and automation and digital workspace technologies.
Once completed, the women will get VMware certification.
"I am happy to see that in India, 42 per cent of women are part of the IT workforce as compared to the US where it is merely 30 per cent.
"Many women in India have an IT engineering diploma or background. But those who have left the workforce tend to have concerns that their knowledge and skills are outdated and have reservations about returning," said Regina Wallace-Jones who is on the Board of Directors at Women Who Code.
With a presence in 20 countries, including India, Women Who Code has executed more than 7,000 free events around the world and has a membership exceeding 137,000.
"The training under 'Project Taara' will refresh their understanding of the latest technologies and help qualify women for new jobs in India's data centre and Cloud-computing industries," she told IANS.
Wallace-Jones has earlier worked as Senior Director of Technology and Operations at Yahoo! and Head of Security Operations at Facebook.
According to Devaraj PR, Senior Vice President and Global IT Head, Cognizant, diversity and inclusion are seen as a crucial competitive advantage at the company.
"We are pleased to support this initiative and look forward to welcoming these highly skilled women into our workforce," Devaraj said.
Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO and Head of Digital, Airtel echoed his views: "As a woman technology leader, I can confirm that in today's dynamic environment, constant upskilling on new technologies is critical for the growth of our careers.
"This is a great initiative, as apart from bringing more women to the workforce, this programme also brings in new skills and talent for companies to build a digital foundation for innovation," she emphasised.
As part of "Project Taara," the women will have virtual meetings with industry experts on various aspacts of the New-Age technologies and get their queries answered as they attend online sessions.
According to Hewett, "by upskilling women who left their career, we are empowering them to prepare a foundation for a rapidly evolving technology industry".