It should not come as a surprise to most people but the number of female engineers is far below as compared to male engineers. Unfortunately, even among the women who pursue engineering, there are very few who study networking and actually work on the ground. However, at Digital Empowerment Foundation, there are a bunch of girls who are breaking this stereotype. Kainat from Madhya Pradesh and Fauzia from Bihar are young ladies in their early 20s who are not only trained engineers but are working on the ground, setting up Internet network and climbing towers.
Twenty-five-year old Kainath hails from Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. At a young age, Kainat lost her father who was a tailor and was raised single-handedly by her mother, a social worker. While Kainat grew up in a house with a younger brother and a younger sister, there was never any bias between her brother and her. She was always encouraged to study, and study more.
In 2013, Kainath completed her engineering from an institute in Bhopal. Later, she went to study PCB (printed circuit board) designing in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Though she had immense theoretical knowledge, she wanted more practical experience.
Her mother, who happened to know somebody at DEF because of the organisation’s work for weavers in Chanderi, asked her to apply for a job here, following which she gave a video interview and bagged a job as a wireless engineer.
Kainat has worked at several locations of DEF and is now set to begin work in Saidanpur village of Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh. Kainat, who is supported by her husband immensely, now handles various responsibilities. She does device configuration at the centre and client levels, network client management, employee and inventory supervision, live network set up, DVR configuration, P2P configuration and even troubleshooting regarding the server or at the client level.
Fauzia, too, handles the same responsibilities, and more, in Bihar. Twenty-three-year-old Fauzia lives with her parents and a younger brother. After completing her education, she went to pursue BTech from Jaipur.
Her connections in Bihar introduced her to DEF, and then there was no turning back for her. Eager to grasp practical experience, Fauzia is someone who makes PCB circuits and climbs network towers with as much ease as probably breathing.
Presently posted in Guna, Fauzia is deeply involved in troubleshooting, at the centre and client level. She is efficient enough to handle most problems through a phone call but when need arises, she even provides door-to-door service. Additionally, she also handles the responsibilities of device configuration, inventory management, TP link configuration and router configuration.