‘Women are missing out on a large number of high-paying jobs’
Oct. 3, 2013
Information technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy -- but just 27 percent of women currently make up the technology workforce.
That statistic motivated IU business student Ankita Maru to help jump-start Women Empowering Success in Technology, or WESiT, a student group that strives to increase the number of women in technology-related occupations.
“Women are missing out on a large number of high-paying jobs,” said Maru, who will graduate with a master’s degree in information systems from the Kelley School of Business in May 2014. “The world is missing out on the solutions women could bring if both genders were more evenly represented.”
The student group is headed by IU’s Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, which targets the underrepresentation of women in technology on a global level.
WESiT will officially launch with a talk, “Life Choices in a Digitally Connected World,” by Moira Gunn, host of NPR’s Tech Nation. The talk, on Oct. 28 at the IU Auditorium, is also part of "Connectedness: Networks in a Complex World," the fall 2013 Themester, an initiative sponsored by the IU College of Arts and Sciences.
Maru said the group was also inspired by the national campaign Sit With Me, which aims to increase the number of women in computing and information technology by encouraging women to tell their stories through videos and stories on the campaign’s website.
Currently, Maru is a business analyst intern at Cook Medical, where her job is to understand internal business needs and provide technical solutions to design systems that align with the company’s needs.
Before coming to IU, she graduated at the top of her class at the Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute in Mumbai with a bachelor’s degree in information technology engineering. There, she learned programming languages and how to develop new computer software systems.
At first, Maru said, the idea of leaving India to attend graduate school in a foreign country excited her, but actually living on her own in a country she had never visited had its difficulties.
“The differences in food, figuring out light and water connections in my house in the first week -- it was definitely a culture shock,” she said. Fellow students in her master’s program helped Maru assimilate, and over time, she adapted to being away from home.“I was always interested in learning how companies use technology to solve business problems,” she said, adding that the Information Systems Graduate Program at the Kelley School provided the perfect blend of business and technology curriculum.
After graduation in May, Maru eventually wants to move back to her home country, where she wants to work for as an IT consultant at a consulting firm.
Maru credits her parents’ positive outlook for pushing her in the right direction. “I’ve always looked up to them,” she said. “When I need them, they’ve always been there to support and understand me. They’ve helped me get through some of my toughest life experiences.”