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VMware partners with Airtel, others for initiative to keep women in the workforce

VMware partners with Airtel, others for initiative to keep women in the workforce
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US-headquartered VMware, which provides services for managing cloud systems, is spearheading an initiative to encourage Indian women to remain in the technology workforce, a top executive told TechCircle.

“We are looking to stop the phenomenon of women quitting their jobs for a variety of reasons globally but we are starting with India as the participation rate is relatively higher in India,” said Duncan Hewett, senior vice president and general manager of the Asia Pacific and Japan region for VMware.

For the initiative code-named Project Taara, VMware is tying up with telecom major Bharti Airtel, IT solutions provider Cognizant and San Francisco-based non-profit organisation Women Who Code.

Regina Wallace-Jones of Women Who Code said that more Indian women participate in the technology sector as compared to developed economies such as the US. 

“India stands at 42% (proportion of women in the IT workforce) with US trailing behind at nearly 30%,” she said, adding that women's participation is therefore essential for India’s IT industry, which is expected to drive digital transformation and add an estimated $154 billion to the country’s GDP by 2021.

VMware's Hewett said that women in the technology sector were more prone to quitting jobs owing to motherhood and they found it difficult to come back after a break as changes take place rapidly in the sector.

“What we are trying to do is bridge that gap. We act as catalysts who will help these women who are interested to come back to upskill and also help in placing them later,” Hewett said, adding that the company was looking to sign up more of its client organisations as partners for Project Taara.

The programme, according to Hewett, is open to all women from the technology sector including varied departments such as HR and marketing and it aims to resettle 15,000 women in two years.

Hewett further said that the programme is important because it also encourages diversity at the workplace.

“Innovation is the key for any tech company today as technology is evolving rapidly and Taara will help us in our efforts to strike a balance in the workforce,” he said.

VMware has more than 5,000 employees in India. It did not provide statistics on the attrition rate of women at the company but said that it was working towards solving related problems.

In connection with the programme, the company is expected to make investments in certain areas including supply chain, logistics, and education.

Hewett added that VMware was already creating a portal for the project and is setting up a calls/care centre for women to get answers to basic queries about the programme which will start in December.

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