On December 19, 2020, at 5 PM (+5.45), Tech Community Nepal conducted its10th Episode of IT Talk Series with The Girls in Tech. Aakash Karki, Digital Marketing Consultant at Tech Community Nepal, hosted the show and welcomed the guest, Melisha Ghimire, Managing Director at Girls in Tech Nepal, and the audience.
A discussion was conducted in this episode on Nepalese Women in the Tech Industry in Nepal, the career of young Nepalese women in the IT Industry, and strategies to take the lead in the IT Sector.
What brought Melisha into the IT Sector?
Melisha’s High School Days created an obsession with technology and programming. For electronic tests, she used to shine. Her family and friends were also involved in the IT business alongside that. In the 2010s, the IT boom illuminated the IT market as a reservoir of possibilities. A Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) who urged Melisha to work on becoming an MSP was Melissa’s niece. She needed to have her choices as well: software or hardware as her occupation. These considerations increased the purpose of Melisha to be in the IT market.
How did Melisha’s parents view Melisha’s decision to pursue IT?
“Melisha states, “I used to have average school results. My intention to study Science (Physics) gave my relatives questions and amusement. Yet I was not persuaded by the stubbornness within me. People proposed that I prefer Architecture or Management for a simpler life after secondary school. Some of them suggested IT, however, especially software, as it has ease and money in it.
Her parents never challenged Melisha to seek an academic degree. Education and success were never hindered by having two daughters and no sexism in the family of Melisha. In addition, her parents were still nervous about her picking a topic that might provide alternatives. But the firm aim of Melisha to become an IT enthusiast has never selected an offer; it has always been IT.
Nepali Society’s View on Girls/Women in the IT sector
Nepali culture offers a lot of respect to government workers or jobs where your occupation is addressed to you. Parents also tend to seek such jobs for their kids. In the IT business, experience shows less participation. There were 4 girls in my batch in the school. But the number has been increasing. Women realize that in IT, they will do well. They are now capable of seizing the chance to follow an IT career. Nepali women are more competitive and educated about their dreams and how to make them come true.
Worked with several colleges, Melisha saw a growth in the female population in the IT industry. She also shares her joy that employers are making fair wages for the workers, without racial inequality. The Nepali culture is, indeed, evolving positively.
Jobs for women in IT companies in Nepal
“When people get into IT they think Coding and programming is the only option left or making an impression. Many girls quit programming and get into content writing and management. But there are more options other than Coding. There are cloud computing, Data Analysis, Digital Nepal Marketing. Basically, It can be applied in every sector. All it needs to explore and create opportunities.”
Melisha suggests that Coding and programming are not the only options in IT. Women can find many options as It is now prevalent in every sector and flourishing with Digital Marketing.
What is Girls in Tech (GIT NP) doing for Females?
Melisha says, “We, women, are raised differently. Staying coy and under rules are our to be our attributes. My team is trying to make efforts for girls to get out of that periphery and discover the joyful STEM world. ”
Melisha tells the Tech Community team about the various thematic areas where Girls in Tech can make more women involved. She shares the skillful activities by her GIT NP. Some of them are listed below:
- Girls in STEM– A proposal to integrate Stem in CURRICULUM for girls in school Level
- For High School level Females, using DESIGN THINKING GIT NP tries to demonstrate the fun STEM N TECH has to offer for girls. GIT NP ensure to educate them on the diversity and opportunity in IT besides Coding and Programming
- BREAKING OUT THE COCOON PROGRAM – In this, students in their 3rd and 4th year of Bachelors are enrolled in the group. This program runs for a year and has 3 layers: HUMAN SKILLs, CAREER COUNSELING, and HARD SKILLS. Along with this, GIT NP is planning to launch JOB READINESS TRAINING. Females then face the interview. It is to be done with 7 public Colleges in Nepal.
- PROFESSIONAL BREAKTHROUGH PROGRAM- In this program females who have attended professionalism and are involved in companies are taken. Here, GIT NP, along with such females, tries to dig into gender-related issues and resolve them.
- HER JOURNEY EVENT- Every month, GIT NP invites a professional role model in the IT sector to give a Ted Talk to Bachelor students. This event gets uploaded in GIT NP’s Youtube Channel.
- MENTORSHIP PROGRAM- In this 25-27 national and international mentors coach 2-3 mentees. Recently, a farewell for the first batch was conducted.
- THE FUTURE IS FEMALE MOVEMENT – A movement where if a female identifies as a STEM student or professional can register. Fulfilling specific criteria makes them a member of the movement.
- Various Workshops, Boot Camps, and leadership training are conducted by GIT NP.
What can men in IT do to support more involvement of women in the IT sector?
Melisha states,” Chivalry, sometimes is good but it’s not necessary. We don’t want big promises and sacrifices from men, all we are small gestures like making your coffee, investing equally in a group project. If men could support her work in some actions and appreciate them for their contribution, it would be much better and comfortable. Even GIT NP is open for everyone it’s only for one gender. We have to change our view based on a gender basis.”
Ms. Ghimire tells that feminism is not about hating men; instead, it is about perceiving men and women as collaborators and partners. The world cannot run with only one of them. Thus, men’s support is of utmost power to women.
Opportunities for women in the IT sector, especially for High School Level?
Talking with Tech Community Melisha says,” Your inner passion matters the most. Don’t just run into something because it’s a trend or because your sister did it or because it will give you more money. If the course is not in Nepal, go abroad, study, and come back. Explore the opportunities of IT, don’t just develop the idea that Coding is all IT has to offer.”
Ms. Ghimire suggests females to perform research and get into content writing, Cloud Computing, Data Analysis, AIs (Artificial Intelligence), ML(Machine Language), DiGIT NPal Marketing, Graphic Designing, and many more areas of IT. If possible, integrate your knowledge and get started with IT projects.
Challenges women are facing and what are the possible challenges for the females in the IT sector.
The mindset that women running a business is not taken seriously has established our origins. This causes us to discover a lot of discouragement. I used to be quiet when serving our business at every meeting, and my male partner was offered a chance. Answering reasoning questions would help them feel my presence. Women are forced to wait in science laboratories in schools and watch boys perform the experiment. There are many promising developments, but there are obstacles, and all our dedication to lock down the job will make us stronger. ”
Melisha acknowledges that trends are improving, but suspicions and misconceptions are still present in the world. Fighting to attend a late-night event with our parents is always hard work. Limitations are given to us. It takes time to adjust, but all we have to do is a practice to remind us that IT is available to all and that women are just as equal and centered as men.
Parents and Educators steps to encourage females in the IT Sector
Ms. Ghimire agrees that parents are first teachers; we imitate almost everything they do, and in our society men are given more freedom and access to technology.
Melisha throws a sarcasm and says, “Girls are asked to do chores and stay limited. Bringing water to guests is a girl’s job, men cannot do it? Why is it so heavy? If it’s heavy then men are supposed to do it? I still have not gotten any logical answer about it!”
Melisha believes that portraying women as a professional in more soft and gentle books should get changed. Success stories of women in IT, Aeronautics, Science, and Research should be included in the curriculum. Adding to this, Melisha expresses her idea of educating girls in their middle school about STEM, and its opportunities could widen the options for their career. Even teachers can ask more questions to girls not to humiliate them but to help them grasp their attention to STEM. These small steps from educators can make a lot of difference.
Ms. Ghimire quotes, “These changes will take some time thus females themselves should be proactive and vocal about the choices. Taking a stand for bringing the change counts a lot.”
Melisha Ghimire’s Suggestion to Female High School graduate who wants to pursue IT
Melisha quotes, “When in confusion, do research, that’s what I feel, matters for today’s generation. The present generation has access to various informational platforms. Take your field of interest and do substantial research. Find the pros and cons and decide. Or you can talk to a person involved in that field and the research. Explore the colleges that offer the best education. Staying dumb is not an option. To everyone who is stuck or can’t make the right choice research, research, and research.”
Summing Up the Discussion
This interaction session was really informative, exciting, and inspiring. The youths like Melisha are doing so much for their younger ones. Melisha, along with her team, is doing her best to get more people, especially females, into STEM and IT. They also help them get their dream job by providing many other trainings.
Story of Melisha’s involvement in IT itself is so inspiring. I agree with Melisha that our society is changing and opening its arms to embrace equality for their sons and daughters. But still, our education system has to be more concerned with increasing the interest of female students in STEM. Likewise, in a professional setting, men can also support women with small gestures.
Written by: Nisha Thapa