The Untapped Potential of Women in India’s Technical Sphere

Balvinder Shukla

Women constitute almost half of India’s population, of which about one-third have completed secondary education and one-fifth have gone for higher education, with only around 8% having technical knowledge. With such a low percentage of educated women having technical education, some remarkable women like Shakuntala Devi, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Tessy Thomas, “Missile Woman of India”, and many others have broken through the glass ceiling to reach the highest tiers of success.

In small-scale and informal sectors, such as handicrafts, Papad and pickle making, women-led Haats, agriculture, women make up a significant portion. Despite facing numerous challenges like societal biases and work-family juggling, they consistently demonstrate resilience and success.

How many of these women do we see becoming mainstream success stories?
Providing such women with access to education, financial, technical, and digital literacy and skill development opportunities can empower them to scale up their businesses, improve productivity, and enhance their economic security. Recognising and celebrating their achievements will also inspire other women in their community to pursue their interests, become entrepreneurs and contribute to their empowerment and overall economic development in their local communities.

Educated and empowered women are more likely to contribute to their children’s education and upbringing, cultivating a more virtuous, inclusive, and progressive society. Involving women in technology design can improve their productivity, access new markets, and overall economic and social well-being in the informal sector, bridging the digital divide.
Additionally, gender diversity in decision-making leads to more holistic and inclusive policies and enhanced problem-solving capabilities.

Despite the government’s numerous efforts to support and empower women, a disconnect exists between government efforts and ground reality: Women’s empowerment often remains superficial, with decision-making and control still in the hands of men in the families.
Achieving the dream of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ necessitates a profound transformation in societal attitudes and family dynamics to ensure that women contribute their full potential towards the nation’s progress.

Views expressed by Prof. (Dr.) Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Professor – Entrepreneurship, Leadership & IT, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Sr. Vice President, RBEF

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