Women in Tech: Thrive or Survive?

Women are no less than superheroes. From balancing and prioritizing the responsibilities of home to inspiring young girls to be like them, women in tech have come a long way! Indeed, the journey of these tech ladies is an inspiration for many more to join the work-force. Their initiatives and hard work have made the tech industry a better place for women.

Today, more women are enrolling in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses as compared to the previous decades. You can hear the women in tech talk about the gender diversity in the tech industry and the difficulties faced by them in the panel discussion below.

Undoubtedly, women have broken down the stereotypes and made space for themselves and for the future women into the industry. The IT industry has played a key role in the growth of a country's GDP and employment rate. Indian IT industry employed 205,000 new hires, up from the 185,000 jobs added in FY19, and had 884,000 digitally skilled talents in 2019.

Over the recent years, women working in the tech industry have increased in India. A research study titled 'Women in Tech: India leads the way', showed that the employment rate of women in the IT sector in India has seen a rapid increase over the past decade, with more than 30% of employees now being female – which contrasts with stagnation or decline in the participation of women in IT in many Western countries.

A gender-diverse workplace is a necessity for the company's growth in the twenty-first century. Giant companies like Zomato, Uber, Google, Flipkart to name a few are trying to understand the cultural norms and create a suitable environment for women. Infact, a research study showed that corporations with at least 10 percent women on company boards have 2.5–5 percent higher returns on equity, firms where women are at least 30 percent of C-Suite have 15 percent higher profitability than others (Raghuram et al. 2017).

Microsoft's DigiGirlz is a program for middle and high school going girls to connect with Microsoft employees and get an insight into the career of tech. A new study pointed out that the total spending on gender diversity by India Inc has moved from 23 percent in 2016 to 32 percent in 2019. Accenture had introduced a high-tech Women Rise program in 2018. The program aimed to assist women in building a long-term career in technology. The maternity leave, period leaves, sabbatical leaves, and other special programmes for the women employees to return to the work.

Similarly, Airbus India had launched the ‘FLY AGAIN’ programme to provide opportunities for qualified women who took a break from their career and wanted to join the workforce. Candidates were given upskilling programmes, mentoring to catch-up effectively with the industry. Watch Praveen Voona, head of Recruitment & Employment talk about this with us here

At acceIHERate 2020, senior leaders discussed the problems faced by women in technology. Unconscious gender bias was felt by 82% of the women. Additionally, it is difficult for women to explain career breaks on their resumes. It affects their confidence and makes it arduous to return back to work.

Subsequently, the survey by JobsForHer DivHERsity established that while companies start with 30% women at the entry-level, the number of women drops to 10% at the managerial level and then diminishes to only 1% at leadership levels.

Namrata Gupta's book, " Women in Science and Technology: Confronting Inequalities" throws light on the gender disparity in the industry. She writes that while men and women start their careers in IT companies in India at similar ages, men in senior positions are often younger than women at a similar level.

Nonetheless, New Start-ups like JobsForHer and Sheroes by the women and for the women have made it easier to join back the workforce and have women-centric platforms. Sheroes, by Sairee Chahal is a space for women to discuss their career, health and other relevant things.They provide mentorship, resources, and various opportunities for women. JobsForHer by Neha Bagaria is a platform for women in India to begin, restart and rise in their careers. Watch these women talk about their careers over here

The equality among men and women can be achieved with more women stepping-up in the industry. Currently, the IT industry is opening-up its doors for women and taking initiatives to make the workplace more agreeable for their requirements whereby they can prioritise their career without compromising on their personal milestones. Certainly, the world of tech seems to promise a prosperous future for women.