Deerwalk Blog

Reflection on Informal Conversations with Deerwalk Female Employees

Posted by Nistha Upreti on August 05, 2015

Nistha Upreti
It hasn’t been long that Hilary Towle joined the Deerwalk family as the new English Lecturer. She is a native of North Carolina, USA and has completed her Master’s degree in International Education Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education in May 2015.

She is actively involved in promoting women’s reproductive health and rights throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Her active involvement in Deerwalk events displays her passion to share knowledge, improve her teaching skills, and to learn new things in a very new environment. Her involvement has helped improve positivity at Deerwalk. One of the main reasons she has managed to bring a positive change is because she always listens to feedback and if required, changes her approach to reach her goals.

She smoothly undertook three sessions of Informal Conversation last week for all the female employees of Deerwalk Services. The sessions were focused on career challenges faced by women in the IT sector and gender bias, to name a few. In the first session, extra efforts were required to break the ice, which was expected as the women were a little shy about sharing their thoughts and problems with someone who was relatively unknown to them. Once the conversation started all went well. In the sessions that followed thereafter the girls had a very healthy interaction with Hilary and among themselves as well. These sessions were highly fruitful, overall, as one of the factors was the determination shown by Hilary to create an environment that helped the girls to talk freely.
Thank you, Hilary for your effort. We, Deerwalk Staff, are glad to have you as a friend and we hope you will surely enjoy your stay here.

Hilary Towle
As Nishta mentioned, my professional interests lie at the intersection of education and women’s empowerment. Teaching at DWIT fulfills the educational side of my passion. In order to get a better understanding of women’s lives in Nepal, I thought it would be a good idea to sit down with all the female employees of Deerwalk Services and have an informal conversation so I could hear first-hand what their experiences of being female in Nepal are like.

The female employees were broken out into three groups and each session offered unique conversation. The first session proved a little difficult because I wasn’t quite sure how to kick things off, and understandably the women were a bit hesitant to open up. Most of the time was spent with the attendees introducing themselves and then asking me questions.
Thankfully Nistha gave me some advice, which helped make the next two sessions more comfortable. I began each session by asking the participants what one word came to mind to describe being a female in Nepal. The second group responded with words such as, “busy,” “multi-tasking,” and “caring.” I asked the women who responded to elaborate and they offered up personal stories of having to juggle work and home life responsibilities and often feeling as though much of the burden for caring for their families while simultaneously maintaining a professional career fell on their shoulders. We commiserated that this seems to be the case in many parts of the world, including America. They even allowed me to ask questions about health education in Nepal, which is something I am very interested in. They recounted their own experiences of going through school and where and how they received much of their information, as well as the taboo still surrounding the topic in Nepalese society (again, like in many parts of the world).

The third group was a mix of quiet and talkative. I appreciated that many women shared their experiences of navigating the tricky waters of being female in a largely male-dominated society and work place. Overall, most of the participants of group three felt they were supported and encouraged by their families to pursue their dreams. Many of their families expressed joy in their daughters and sisters being hired for such a wonderful IT company.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the female staff of Deerwalk Services. I think there is great joy and power in bonding with fellow women no matter where you are or where you work. I thank them for taking the time to join me and allowing me to get to know them a little better. I hope I will be able to develop friendships with many of them during my time here.

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