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Women and IT: exploring opportunities

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DQC Bureau
New Update

While more women in rural India have taken to micro-credit to start new

ventures, the number of women entrepreneurs in the IT industry is very few.

Could it be that risk averseness increases as one moves up the pyramid? This

question was raised during a TiECon panel discussion on "Targeting the

Indian Woman." The session also featured IT products that could be targeted

for women.

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Revathi Kasturi, who heads Tarang Software, said that TiE had recently

started a women's forum to motivate women in IT to take up entrepreneurial

roles. Rajeev Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Innovate, which designs IT products for

consumers, shared his experiences in designing a new woman-centric product.

"IT products are conventionally designed and marketed keeping men as target

customers. We found through study that designs based on product usability

aspects can lead to exclusive women centric design."

Innovate has come out with a mobile accessory that also doubles up as an

attractive fashion statement for women. Called Mite, the product helps users

receive calls. "Indian women find it inconvenient to carry mobile phones

due to their dressing preferences," said Agarwal. He said that the product

has been received well.

On the issue of how IT is helping women in micro finance, Vicar Aula, Founder

and Chairman, SKS Microfinance, said that his organization used Management

Information Systems (MIS) to reduce risk and lower the transaction cost. He also

added that SKS would start pilots along with Visa for cashless transactions

using mobile point of sales.

Yuma Reddy, Chairperson-Training, AWAKE, said that simple training courses in

using a computer to send email and set up web pages could improve the marketing

capabilities of women entrepreneurs. "IT has a huge role to play as

technology tools to enable women in setting up enterprises."

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