International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, is a day to recognize the accomplishments of women, raise awareness on gender inequities in the workplace, and in this very particular place, look more closely at the role of women in tech.
International Women’s Day is a significant opportunity to recognize the progress that has been made in women’s rights, celebrate women’s achievements, and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.
With a vision of raising awareness around this year International Women’s Day theme, Embrace Equity or #EmbraceEquity, we have some of women leaders sharing their views on recognizing the contribution of women leading the way and helping build a more sustainable and diverse future for all.
International Women’s Day 2023: Here’s what some women leaders say:
“We have all discussed gender diversity as an industry defining topic before. Today, the discourse has shifted significantly from a focus on gender diversity toward empowerment and inclusion. While equal opportunities lay the groundwork, organizations need to ensure they create an inclusive workplace culture where careers can thrive. Working women often must choose between family and work responsibilities which leads to them quitting their jobs, this is despite equal opportunities being provided.
The organizations now must evolve their diversity initiatives and take a step forward to bring in a flexible work schedule that allows women to build their careers. The primary step 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 boardroom and 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. The tech industry as a male-dominated space lacks female role models and leaders that young women can look up to. While we see a rise in equal opportunities, structural barriers still exist at some levels. Proper mentoring and accessible career development programs can help in kick-starting their careers and market their skills.”- Muthumari S, Head of Data Science, Brillio
“As we become a more digitalised society, gender gap in accessing this digital sphere increasingly widens. Technology in today’s form act as a reason as well as a solution to the exiting gender parity. While women and girls remain underrepresented across the multiple facets of technology, they also remain hesitant towards using digital services or pursuing a career in tech. According to a recent survey, only 27% of female students surveyed would consider a career in technology as compared to 61% of male.
Organisations today need to go above and beyond the minimum requirements if they want to achieve real, long-lasting progress towards gender equality. Businesses must focus on strengthening the foundational pillars such as access to digital skills, availability of high-quality, affordable childcare, social safety nets, flexible work schedules, and unprejudiced societal norms. This is the time for organisations to foster an equitable environment where young women can interact with successful women leaders and create meaningful opportunities for the younger generations.
Whilst there is a lot that businesses can be doing to ensure a diverse and equitable workplace, one of the biggest obstacles women faces is the lack of self-belief. Many don’t think that they can conquer challenges that they may face in senior positions, but I know that women are more than capable of taking on difficult positions, tasks, and responsibilities.
Self-belief is a major factor to drive yourself towards success. When faced with a challenging situation, I tell myself “Don’t give up just yet!”. With faith and perseverance, anything can be achieved. The sky’s the limit!” – Nithya Cadambi, Director of Finance, APJ & India, Commvault.
“Equal opportunities help ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources, and more is being done now to ensure that everyone is being treated fairly. However, providing equal opportunity is not an end in itself. In fact, it is a starting point. Organizations will have to go above and beyond to address the gap that exists today. They must implement measures that give all an equal opportunity to succeed too. In order to do so, the ecosystem has to be open and supportive. Companies must develop policies and practices that embrace diversity and reduce bias. An inclusive environment where all employees feel welcomed, valued, and respected, can build a more positive workplace experience for everyone.” –Neha Akhouri, Director of Engineering, Akamai Technologies.
“Around 36% of the five million employees in the tech industry are women, according to the latest NASSCOM data. While we come a little closer to fostering gender equity every year, the gender-based gap in skill development remains a top concern today. This is why it should also be addressed as a key priority because I believe that women in tech are integral to sustaining a digital future. It is imperative we rethink how to balance the skill deficit on a larger scale, like the Mission Shakti announced in this year’s union budget highlights the importance of women’s education.
Getting more women in STEM careers requires creating a foundation for them to hone digital skills needed in today’s professional world, like promoting skill development through industry-oriented training, and establishing frameworks that attract, hire, and retain women across all levels. According to an Indeed survey, 58% of the women in the Indian workforce had left their employment to focus on like childcare, 21% for health issues and maternity leave accounted for 13% previously. We must also address these challenges women face while balancing family with their career progression. To enhance autonomy in work culture, organisations must evolve their diversity initiatives such as integrating flexible work policies including flexible working hours, hybrid/remote-first roles, childcare support during maternity transition to support women in defining their career. To build a resilient workforce with equal representation we must start thinking beyond gender equality. The focus should be on continuously investing in and promoting women to upskill and learn the futuristic technologies that will make them ready for the digital era.” – Triveni Rabrindraraj, Head of Sales at GoTo, India.
“Women’s representation in tech is important from a diversity and equity standpoint, and equally crucial for building an inclusive and innovative digital future. Despite efforts to close the gender gap in STEM fields, there is still a dominant perception of these careers being male dominated. Therefore it becomes important for businesses and organizations to continue their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This can include initiatives such as mentorship programs, leadership development programs, and outreach efforts to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM. Additionally, imbibing a gender inclusive culture in tech can have positive effects on the broader economy. Several studies have shown that companies with more diverse teams tend to be more profitable and innovative, as they are better equipped to understand and meet the needs of their customers.
At Axis Communications, we currently have a 40:60 ratio of women to men across South Asia Pacific. We are very proud of this diversity and we continue to work hard to challenge the status quo to bring about a positive transformation in terms of women representation in the surveillance sector.”