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Many women in the technology sector take a break for motherhood, but are keen to return and thrive. Three successful returnees share their inspiring stories!
Being an ambitious woman in India is almost an act of rebellion. Even today, we don’t see nearly as many women as men in the professional sphere. While India has the highest number of female STEM graduates in the world, women constitute only 14% of the total scientists, engineers, and technologists employed in Research and Development institutions in the country.
The root of this issue goes down to society’s gender norms that consider childcare and housework the exclusive domain of women. For long, a woman’s professional success wasn’t considered significant, since it is men who are seen as the primary breadwinners of the family.
Even women who wish to resume their career after a gap for motherhood or other reasons, find it difficult to do so. Especially in the dynamic technology sector, after a career break, one’s skills can easily become outdated. This can impact women’s confidence and self-esteem, and discourage them from going back to work. Unfortunately, while there are many return to work programs available today, there aren’t that many offering upskilling programs for women on career breaks.
However, that is changing, with more women determined to succeed, and organisations supporting them as well.
One of India’s largest up-skilling programs, VMinclusion Taara aims to support women who want to get back to the workforce and effectively give them a second chance at a successful career in technology. The program will help women upgrade their technical knowledge and build confidence to be able to get back into the workforce. Certifications on the latest IT solutions in Datacenter, Networking, Cloud and Cloud Management technologies will be provided under this program.
VMinclusion Taara was born of the belief that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical for innovation and growth. It is a not for profit initiative that aims to increase the representation of women in the Indian technology sector. Here is what we learnt from three women who successfully navigated the return to work, armed with new skills and confidence.
Varshini Sankar had to quit her lucrative career with some of the finest tech firms in India to relocate to Germany because of her husband’s job. Soon after that, she got pregnant with her first child and decided to focus on raising her child and her household responsibilities.
Varshini loved being a mom and spending time with her child, but she also craved the high of taking up new challenges every day. She says, “While my baby was the love of my life, it was as if I knew nothing apart from being a mom. I’d forgotten my identity, and how invested I was with my career. More than anything else, I wanted to be financially independent and rekindle my interest in technology.
Yet, returning to work wasn’t easy. During her break, technology had evolved and she found herself ill-equipped to deal with the transformed scenario. Varshini knew she had to up-skill if she wanted to go back into the workplace. However, with time constraints due to the baby, attending physical sessions or classes wasn’t feasible.
It was around this time that she came across VMInclusion Taara on social media. Their courses focused on upskilling women after career breaks. They were online and self-paced, allowing her to study according to her convenience. Varshini is a Taara graduate now and recently landed her dream job.
Mythili also decided to take the life-altering decision to quit her job after the birth of her child. After a few years, she decided to restart her career, but the job she found wasn’t in the field of her choice.
Mythili too realised that she needed to refresh her skill set to be on par with others in the industry. It was around this time that she came across Taara, and it proved to be just what she was looking for!
The program was tailored to her needs, it was self-paced and online, included briefings and webinars, on-demand content, hands-on labs, live online instructor-led classes, and even a social platform to meet more women striving to upskill.
Mythili completed the program with ease and has now been placed at a multinational firm, ready to chase her professional dreams again. She credits Taara for making her confident enough to reenter the workforce. Her husband who fully supported her decision adds, “I genuinely believe that women hold our society together and to stop them from chasing their dreams is nothing short of robbing them of their dreams. Societal change, gender role reversals, and true inclusivity will take time to take root, but it is crucial for each one of us to drive the change in our own lives.”
Despite several apprehensions, Nidhi Gupta decided to quit her flourishing career to devote herself to motherhood. Her family moved to a new country which was a big adjustment and required her all the more to focus on motherhood. Yet, the monotony of household work often bothered her, especially as her child grew older.
She knew she had to go back to work but wasn’t sure how to do it since the technology landscape had evolved and her self-esteem had also suffered a major blow due to it. She was ecstatic to hear about the Taara program as it addressed her problems effectively with professional-level training on some technologies she wasn’t well versed with. She says, “The fact that it offered women like me the chance to become VMware certified professionals via online courses free of cost was just the icing on the cake.”
Today, Nidhi is a graduate of the Taara program, and a VMware certified professional. She is grateful to Taara for helping her move beyond the gap in her career and come back stronger. She is excited to rejoin work and has been offered a job at a multinational tech firm.
Women dropping out of the workforce is a sad reality. Women in India face constant pressure to prioritise their family over their careers. While these societal norms will not be discarded in a day, initiatives like Taara help women keep their career aspirations alive and encourage them to achieve their own dreams.
Learn more here about VMinclusion Taara which aims at upskilling 15,000 women in India by providing free technical education and certification courses on digital business transformation technologies. More than 7500 women have already registered with the program and the numbers continue to grow everyday!
Optional – If you would like to read more stories from the Taara graduates visit medium.com/@vminclusiontaara
In association with VMware
Images provided by the respective women whose stories have been featured
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Anjika is a student at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, pursuing honours in English
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