At the Grassroots: empowering girls and women through training to bridge the digital divide

For decades the tech industry has been a digital “boys club,” an exclusive coalition of male computer specialists with a supposed dominant gene for math and science. The truth is girls and women have shown an interest or have been establishing careers in IT related professions for at least a century. However, men have been so hyper-celebrated in computer technology that many women face gender bias when applying for jobs in IT positions. Fortunately, Shefali Kapoor Patel, founder of Vijay Computer Academy, has made it her mission to eradicate this problem by bridging the digital gender divide.

In December 1990, Shefali  started the Vijay Computer Academy, a world class IT education and training institute that helps students, especially girls and women, with workforce-oriented IT skills. She aptly named the academy “Vijay” after her late father, whose name literally means “Victory,” which is what Shefali envisions for girls and women who choose IT careers.

Shefali has made continuous strides to reduce the gender gap at a grassroots level by creating a global and social impact through mentoring girls and women, offering free workshops, partnering with education-directed non-profits and facilitating free coding clubs for girls and women. VCA has trained more than 300+ girls aged 9 to 16 years on various digital and coding skills in Houston and surrounding areas through such free coding clubs. She’s also involved with many other community endeavors that help to empower more women in IT training with Vijay Computer Academy in INDIA, USA & many other countries. Vijay Computer Academy is a proud partner with  EQUALS : The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age.

Vijay Computer Academy has been a pioneer in the bridging the skills gap and gender gap in information technology since 1990. VCA offers career and workforce readiness basic to advanced latest IT education and training programs in the classrooms and online with live instructors across the world. Vijay Computer Academy also reached to the rural areas of India where residents lacked a regular supply of electricity or infrastructure. Despite these challenges, the academy has provided training and employment assistance for more than 5000 girls and women. Also, more than 500 women with disabilities were able to acquire career and workforce readiness IT skills.  

For thirty years Vijay Computer Academy has trained over 30,000 students, 18,000 of which are girls & women.  Those numbers are growing, but there’s still a long stretch of road ahead. Women still only make up a small percentage of the IT workforce. So, Vijay Computer Academy has been working diligently to provide world-class IT education and career counseling to help introduce more women into the IT workforce across the globe.

Since inception VCA has been nurturing the pipeline of next generation of female digital talent.

Shefali & VCA have been working with many corporations and organizations to achieve their diversity & inclusion and corporate social responsibility goals by educating , hiring and retaining more women in IT. Some partnering projects are  “STEM education for girls” , “scholarships to women to pursue IT careers” and other sustainability projects.

Shefali has made valiant efforts to dispel the myth that Math is ONLY for Men. She’s reshaping the image of the IT professional by changing the concept of the “tech guy.” This person is no longer the nerdy dude in a dusty basement who can restore digital order with just a few key strokes. Now, the tech person can also be a “she” who has the technical skills to program software, develop websites, create mobile apps; you name it.

 Vijay Computer Academy has enabled Shefali Kapoor Patel to carry on her father’s name and build a legacy that would live on through her valiant efforts to empower girls and women with the digital skills they need to achieve success in the IT industry.

If you have aspirations for a career in computing or information technology, then join her on digital “VIJAY YATRA” – A trip to victory!


Shefali at

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