The tech industry in Silicon Valley is notoriously male-dominated, but the fight to get more women involved in STEM-related industries is a global struggle, too. Luckily, there are women fighting to change that — like 24-year-old Rojina Bajracharya, for instance.
Bajracharya, whose goal is to be a professional software developer, was the first winner of the Toptal Scholarship for Female Developers in 2015. Toptal, a U.S.-based company that connects businesses with freelance developers, designers, and software engineers, created the scholarship program to support women in tech.
Bajracharya cofounded Girls in Technology, which helps women in Kathmandu learn more about opportunities in the tech industry. Through the Toptal scholarship, she received $5,000, along with a mentorship opportunity with a Toptal developer.
Anna Chiara Bellini, head of engineering at Toptal, told Refinery29 that the company hopes to help close the gender gap in the tech industry.
"Having a larger pool of talent is always better," Bellini said. She added that, "Women often don't feel entitled to have a place in tech," but that Toptal is working to change that mindset through its scholarship and through its network of developers.
"She's really amazing," Bellini said of Bajracharya. "We were quite mind-blown by her application."
Ahead, Bajracharya and the other rising stars changing Nepal's tech world share their thoughts with Refinery29.
Editor's note: Photos and captions were provided by Toptal and Girls in Technology. They have been edited for length and clarity.