Mumu Pande, Chief Technology Officer, Eka Software Solutions
Most women in technology have experienced biases that have harmed them professionally at some point in their careers, such as being frequently stopped in meetings, having their capability or judgement questioned, and so on. Deep-seated biases must be reshaped over time, which is mostly due to the fact that most job pathways were historically designed with men’s lives in mind.
There are four areas that I believe can help solve this across a wider system rather than expecting women alone to solve this problem on their own –
a) Awareness – both men and women must be more aware of their own biases and identify when these beliefs are influencing their decisions be it to assign work or when hiring.
b) Attitude – we must learn to accept men and women in roles that defy our preconceived notions.
c) Systemic change – only by developing mechanisms that are free of bias is when we can bring about real change. Checking for gender parity when shortlisting candidates, for example.
d) At an individual level – never underestimate the power of persisting. Set high standards, have the courage to stay on the path, and ask for support when required. And, when the time comes, pay it forward and provide the same support and mentorship to budding women tech professionals.
Neetha Jagan – Principal Program Manager, Sabre Global Capability Center, Bangalore
I am so proud of all the progress women in technology have made in the last couple of decades. Our achievements are a testimony to the intellectual prowess of our women colleagues. It is a little disappointing, however, that women typically have a lower representation at the leadership level of technology companies. Technology leadership roles still have a skewed ratio of women to men. One of the biggest challenges to this might be not just the mindset of the women, but that of those around them.
Our women and the people in their support system must develop a mindset as well as the confidence that as they grow in their career, they can still balance other priorities in life, continuously learn and upskill and be on par with the best technologists in the world. Women should also develop the resilience and confidence to not just survive but thrive in the ever-changing technology world. Having this as the foundation can help women break barriers and clichés as they grow in their careers. This will cascade and help change mindsets around them as well. As a result, I am confident we will soon have equal (if not more) representation of women in technology leadership roles.
Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC
“We are glad to witness women breaking the glass ceiling positive representation at many leadership positions, especially in the technology, ICT and video security industries. Today, organizations have been proactively working towards creating a much broader diversity and inclusion policy. In fact, the percentage of women at the APAC region at Axis Communications is around 39%. Additionally, the increasing participation of women from Tier 2 and 3 Indian cities supported by various government backed STEM academic programs is a step towards a merit-based and indigenous culture of growth.
I strongly feel that companies must adopt unbiased screening process when it comes to recruitment and promotions to ascertain a healthy gender representation where calibre should be given the topmost priority. We must supplement our efforts with initiatives like mentoring programs for women to train them early on their career. For instance, at Axis Communications, we conduct several virtual events, trainings, and workshops to increase awareness, remove workplace biases and generate discussions to celebrate an inclusive workplace.”
Swarnalatha Puligorla, Senior Director of Engineering at Commvault
“Gender imbalance continues to prevail in technology industry even today. Lack of female role models, less supportive workplace cultures, under appreciation of leadership potential, existing gender biases, and many such reasons are affecting women employees’ growth in the industry. To top it up, women is being tasked with invisible work which further challenges retention of women in STEM fields.”
“Business leaders must strive to create a gender-inclusive ecosystem with well-designed programs for up-skilling, leadership grooming and re-skilling in both technical and soft skills. Mentorship and development programs for Women should be integrated in organizational culture to help them unlock true potential while simultaneously increasing their visibility in the workplace. Furthermore, we need to cultivate interest in girls at a young age and encourage and inspire them to join STEM. Diverse teams drive innovation thus, we cannot lose another second to gender bias in the workplace.”
Muthumari S, Associate Director, Analytics at Brillio Technologies
“Work from home” has done more damage with soaring attrition in women across the globe than ever before. It has become nearly impossible to take care of the bulk of the domestic responsibilities and not unplug from work. 2022 will be more turbulent, introducing more change management as we slowly move back to the Office-First model. There are continuous uncertainties in every aspect – how we live, work, travel, being social, taking care of family/kids/school.
The primary solution would be to look at flexible working hours, continuing remote-first roles, improved autonomy on work, childcare support during transition, and a well-defined career path. Solving the diversity gap through balanced diversity representation in the board room and also exclusive diversity-focused roles at the executive leadership levels is a solution for the long run. While we train our women leaders in dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity to “Proptimise [Prioritise & Optimise]”, it is essential that we coach our colleagues and leaders to lead with empathy through challenging times.