Need for women in data science

  • TECH
  • Monday, 11 Mar 2019

Sarojini (left) and Sharala said they are kick-starting the training with national schools. — LOW BOON TAT/The Star

The Centre of Applied Data Science (CADS) is launching Data For Her, an initiative to train women in data science and programming in order to get more of them involved in the tech industry.

Its founder and chief executive officer Sharala Axryd says ­technology is a thriving industry offering an abundance of ­opportunities for women and men.

She says studies reveal there aren’t enough women in the sector, as they make up less than half of the graduates in engineering and technology fields in Malaysia.

Sharala says the rise of women in the tech workforce could ­potentially increase Malaysia’s GDP (gross domestic product) by RM6bil to RM9bil, a key economic growth factor under Budget 2019.

She says the Data For Her ­programme aims to engage girls from secondary schools and ­universities, and help them break the glass ceiling by equipping them with the right tech skills.

CADS is partnering with the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs (Nawem) on the ­initiative.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the Nawem IR 4.0 And The Future of Work ­conference, which updates women entrepreneurs on relevant tech developments.

Nawem president Sarojini Ruth Rajahser says such efforts are necessary to counter job losses among women in the workforce – according to the World Economic Forum report, women will face three million job losses over the next few years due to a changing job market.

“Given this landscape, we believe chapters like Data For Her are crucial. We look forward to working with CADS in increasing the number of women in technology,” says Sarojini.

Sharala says each class would train about 20 to 25 participants on gamification and predictive modelling, with slightly different programmes for teenagers and adults.

She adds that they have several schools lined up for the programme and the initiative will focus on national schools first, as she believes some private schools already have a tech syllabus in place.

For its first year, Data For Her will run one-day programmes to gauge interest and may roll out more in-depth ones later.

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