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Purnima Wijendra


Co-founder & technical director, TechSprint Academy

Purnima Wijendra is on a mission to increase the number of women in technology in Malaysia and around the region through education and training. TechSprint Academy is an all-women coding school, which she co- founded to offer a safe and conducive space for women to penetrate the male-dominated world of technology. “We need more women in tech because only women can invent and create products for other women,” she insists.

Even before TechSprint Academy, Purnima founded a non-profit school called Kuala Lumpur School of Artificial Intelligence geared solely to educate anyone with the desire to brave the world of artificial intelligence. The school provided monthly coding classes and has educated close to 3,000 individuals to date, with 5-10% of participants comprising women.

“Although it is 2020, women are still the biggest untapped resources and talents as they make up 50% of the population. Women only make up 39% of the workforce, 27% of leadership roles in Asia alone,” she says, indicating that women are deeply underrepresented in tech if not absent. “I aspire to close this gender gap and empower women towards their own financial independence, this will simultaneously contribute to the growth of GDP and economy of the country,” she asserts.

While it is easy to feel intimidated as a gender minority in the field, Purnima feels women should hold their heads high. “After all, it was a woman who invented the programming language, and her name is Grace Hopper. Talent and intelligence recognise no gender or colour of the skin. So, go for it,” she says.