My Story: Born And Raised In A Small-Town With No Women Role-Models To Look Up To, I Persevered And Became One

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My Story: 'Born And Raised In A Small-Town With No Women Role-Models To Look Up To, I Persevered And Became One'

Shipra Jain, a software engineer in Bangalore made her way up to the STEM field and the multinational company Amazon despite having hailed from a small town in Rajasthan which lacked even a proper English-medium school during her times.

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Today I have made my home in Bengaluru with my loving family and a challenging job as a Software Development Engineer at one of the renowned multinational companies. However, stepping up into the STEM field was not a cakewalk. I have had my share of challenges and hardships that I learned to surpass gradually.

Hailing from a small town in Rajasthan, there were very few opportunities or people that you could look up to. Finding my way around it with a supportive family and the conscious decision to uplift more women into the field, I have achieved what felt like a far-fetched dream for many during my time. It has all been an interesting balancing act that I continue to carry on proudly.

Inspiring More Women To Step Up

Born and brought up in the small town of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, I had limited opportunities in terms of education and facilities. We did not have access to a proper English-medium school, nor did we have role models to look up to. In my case, I was particularly bothered by the fact that I didn't have inspiring stories about women surrounding me.

There was a binary and tunnelled way of looking at everything, so even though science and maths were emerging fields at my time, girls were nudged to enrol in domestic studies programmes to fit into the stereotypical roles. Maths and science were considered to be more of a man's career options.

Fortunately for me, I have had a strong support system within my family that did not differentiate between my brother and me. My ability in mathematics was considered an advantage rather than a deviation. Naturally then, when I conveyed that I would like to pursue an engineering degree, my family motivated me. Earning an engineering degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, I took the big leap of leaving my hometown to pursue my career.

Often growing up in a small town with limited facilities, we don't realise the potential that we carry. Looking beyond the obstacles, one might be able to find what they are looking for.

Not having had a role model during my childhood, I tried becoming the woman I hoped to see in my childhood. Today the scenario has improved with the internet, information, and political initiatives reaching around every nook and corner. Women's education, leadership, and equal access to opportunities are all being discussed in the mainstream.

The Gap!

However, the gender gap is still very much prevalent, even in workspaces. Especially in the STEM field, the stark gender disparity has made me feel more responsible for empowering more women and building a space where they are not deprived of opportunities. I always encourage women within this field to be self-assured and seek learning opportunities that would help them navigate and seize opportunities as they come knocking on their doors.

I joined the multinational company Amazon in the year 2014 and have worked on game-changing projects, including a third-party client integration for Amazon Prime. Millions of users of the platform are able to access services with ease due to a team that's working hard behind the screens, and I'm proud to be one of them.

Having started here as a small-town girl trying to make it big in the metropolitan city, I am now leading a team of seven other highly skilled software development engineers.

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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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