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, Seo Analyst in Marching Ants, hosted the show and welcomed the guest, Melisha Ghimire, Managing Director at Girls in Tech Nepal, and the audience.
In this episode, a discussion on Nepalese Women in Tech Industry in Nepal, Young Nepali women’s career inIT Industry, and strategies to take the lead in the IT Sector were done.
What brought Melisha into the IT Sector?
Melisha developed a fascination with computers and programming from her High School Days. She used to excel in Computer exams. Along with that, her family and relatives were also involved in the IT sector. The IT boom in the 2010s highlighted the IT sector as a pool of opportunities. Melissa's sister was a Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) who inspired Melisha to get focused to be an MSP. She also wanted to have her options: Software or hardware as her career. These factors strengthened Melisha’s goal to be into the IT sector.
How did Melisha’s parents view Melisha’s decision to pursue IT?
Melisha says, “I used to have an average performance in school. My decision to pursue Science (Physics) brought doubts and laughter to my relatives. But the stubbornness inside me didn't get convinced. After my high school, people suggested that I choose Architecture or Management for an easier life. However, some of them suggested IT especially Software as it has ease and money in it.”
Melisha’s parents never questioned her to pursue academic education. Having two daughters and no discrimination nature in Melisha’s family, Education and achievement were never obstructed. Moreover, her parents were always concerned for her to choose a subject that could offer options. But Melisha’s firm goal to become an IT enthusiast never chose an offer; it was always IT.
Nepali Society’s View on Girls/Women in the IT sector
“Nepali society gives lots of respect to government jobs or jobs where you are addressed with your profession. Parents also prefer their children to pursue such jobs. History suggests less involvement in the IT sector. In my batch, we were 4 girls in the class. But the number has been growing. Women know that they can do well in IT. They are now capable of seizing the opportunity to pursue a career in IT. Nepali women are more competitive and aware of their dreams and ways to get them in reality.”
Melisha, working with many campuses, has seen an increase in the female population in the IT sector. She also expresses her happiness as companies are making equal pay for the employees, with no gender discrimination. Indeed, Nepali Society is changing 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, DiGIT NPal 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 DiGIT NPal 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.
“Our roots have developed the mentality that women leading a company are not taken seriously. This brings us lots of discouragement can be found. While representing our company in any meeting, I used to get muted and my male partner was given a chance. Answering questions with logic would make them feel my presence. In science labs in schools, females are made to stand and watch boys do the experiment. There are many positive changes however there are challenges and all our determination to nail the job will make us stronger. ”
Melisha knows that things are changing, but there are still doubts and stereotypes are present in the environment. Fighting with our parents to attend a late-night event is still hard work. We are given limitations. It takes time to change, but all we have to do is work and prove to them that IT is open for everyone and women are as equal, focused 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.
Congratulations to Tech Community for completing Episode 10 on IT Talk series with Girls in Tech Series.
Looking forward to attending a similar exhilarating and inspiring Talk series.
- Managing Director at Girls In Tech – Nepal
- Managing Director at Shequal Foundation
- Program Manager for Women in Big Data in Southeast Asia
- Former CEO at Smart CAD Academy
- Former Alumna at the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)
- Former Officer - Enterprise Solutions at Thakral One Nepal
- Former Microsoft Student Partner at Microsoft
- SEO Analyst at Marching Ants
- Former Digital Marketing Assistant at Sagar Group
- Former data entry specialist at CloudFactory
Do check out the live video of Episode 10 of Girls In Tech.
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