Philanthropist and author Sudha Murthy today wondered how social changes in the past 50 years has brought a large number of women in engineering and other fields. At present, 35-40 per cent of IT sector employees are women while she had been the only girl student doing Electrical Engineering in Karnataka decades ago. “There have been lot of social changes in engineering sector as well as in other fields including IT since my day as the only engineering student in university,” Murthy, chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, told PTI.
“And now when I visited the same place after over five decades, what a change it was! 75 cent girls in instrumentation, 75 per cent in electronics, almost 70 per cent in computer science,” she said after being conferred the ICC Lifetime Achievement Award here. Recalling her days in the university, she said there was not a single girls’ toilet in the institution and when she had approached the authorities on this, they refused to build the facility on the ground that there was no guarantee a woman would pursue her studies in engineering stream.
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“Today’s women are more assertive, have lot more economic power and more vocal,” she said. “When I had opted for engineering, I was told by my family that no man will marry you if you go for the stream. Now can anyone say that?,” she asked.
Murthy, whose Infosys Foundation is involved in philanthropic work, said her dream remained to provide three-time meal to every child in rural area, four dresses and help to study and pursue vocation. She said that the Infosys Foundation has set up 14,000 toilets in South India and set target for 60,000 libraries.
To a question about her icon in life, Murthy, the wife of Infosys co-founder N R Narayanmurthy, said, “I never believed in icons. I always believed (that) correcting yourself is most important.” The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said it was a great privilege to bestow lifetime honour on Murthy whose Infosys Foundation has made India proud at home and abroad.