Gender Hardly An Issue; Even In The Tech World
The technology sector, not just in India, but globally as well, is notorious for under-representing women. But that doesn't stop women from carving out a space for themselves in the industry
What do these names have in common, besides belonging to women? Well, these are names of Indian women who hold or have held leadership positions in the top tech companies in India - Neelam Dhawan, MD, HP India; Debjani Ghosh, former VP SMG, Intel; Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman, IBM India; Rekha Menon, Chairman, Accenture India. These powerful women have made one thing very clear - that women not only belong in tech companies, but are also capable enough to lead them to success!
The technology sector, not just in India, but globally as well, is notorious for under-representing women. But that doesn't stop women from carving out a space for themselves in the industry. In fact, in emerging economies, particularly in India, there are significantly more high profile women in the tech industry than in the western world. This is because unlike in the west, Indian students - both male and female - are opting for courses with an obvious career path, with technology featuring among the top most popular ones.
But that's not all. According to a 2017 report by NASSCOM , the technology sector is the second biggest employer of women in India, behind the pharmaceutical and care sector. It found that over 51% of entry level recruits in the IT sector are women and over 25% of women hold managerial positions while 1% make it to senior executive roles.
And this number is set to rise.
The report estimates that the number of firms that currently have more than 20% women at senior level will increase to nearly 60%, with nearly 51% firms having more than 20% of women at senior executive level.
Paving the Way for the Future
Thanks to government initiatives such as the Corporate Act that requires all listed companies to have at least 1 woman board member, board diversity has increased in India. However, though India is making strides in gender equality, there is still a lot to be done. According to a report by talent acquisition firm Belong, there is only one female engineer for every three male engineers in the Indian technology industry, which clearly indicates that we need to strive continually to help women stay and progress in their careers.
Initiatives such as the IAmPower Campaign undertaken by IIT Bombay, to provide free coding workshops for women students across schools in 20 Indian cities, can go a long way in curbing gender disparity in the country. Also, programs such as the Women's Entrepreneur Quest at GHCI in 2016, where six Indian women entrepreneurs with tech ventures were honoured and chosen for an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley for mentoring, networking and learning opportunities, are critical to help women in India and around the world break down stubborn societal and cultural barriers.
To sum up, I'd like to quote COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg: "The time is long overdue to encourage more women to dream the possible dream."
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