An aspiration to inspire others to blaze- the Tech path
At VARINDIA, we always take a mission to put women technology leaders under spotlight. As digital world has changed our daily lives from the way we work, to the way we live, there has been a growing momentum among the women to climb the ladder in the Senior Management in their respective organizations. Women in Tech activities aim to discuss how women could have larger roles in creating success stories in business and technology. Diversity brings business value.
Technology has changed the way people do business, thinking, behaving, communicating and working at different work places, at the same time digitization puts the consumer in the driver’s seat, making them more informed, more demanding and more vocal about what they want and what they do not want. It is like 3D graphics (Discover, Design and Deliver).
Women are playing a crucial role in every sphere of the industry including science and technology. Women today have gone beyond and literally touched the sky. Gender diversity become a critical priority for many organizations in the country to ensure to create a sustainable pipeline of the best available talent and increase women representation at senior levels. To support this priority, there are certain forward-looking enterprises runs various interventions.
Maintaining work-life balance for women used to be a challenge initially, but now we are in an era when you see women leaders across industries, hence this hasn’t been a challenge now. Women are actually multitaskers and they are trained to take care of their family while equally focused on their work.
Over a third (38%) of women working in the IT and tech industry claim that a lack of females in the sector made them wary of entering the profession, according to Kaspersky’s latest Women in Tech report. Highlighting the importance of role models in the quest for gender diversity in the technology industry, the research also found that only 19% of women currently working in the sector were encouraged to take up a role in IT or technology by a female role model.
The research, involving 13,000 men and women working in IT, found that almost half of women (43%) had to find their role through their own research. A further third (33%) were encouraged into tech during their education, thanks to their school, college or university. These results show early signs of change at the grassroots stage, but that a current lack of female representation is still a key barrier to achieving a diverse workforce.
Today we can witness, women have presence across the sector in the technology sphere includes, Blockchain, Digital Assets, Fintech, AI, Women in Space, Global Women's Entrepreneurship & Leadership, Podcasts and Healing and Wellness. Secondly, global investment into women led companies has reached an all-time low during 2020. We are seeing many innovative ideas come out of developing nations across the globe that deserve more visibility and connectivity with qualified investors and partners who can help them grow and scale.
A worldwide pandemic, uncertainty, and troubles- big and small over this past year have brought increasing challenges and anxiety--but they have also brought together women leaders and innovators around the globe. 2021 is expected to bring some good news, by changing mindsets at a cultural level by encouraging more young women to pursue their dreams. Technology and the internet are great leveler because they give access to a sea of knowledge and anyone can start a business from anywhere!
With International Women's Day observed on the 8th of March every year to celebrate the achievements of women across sectors, various women leaders have shared their insights, on how women have broken barriers, especially in the technology space.
At Zendesk, women make up 37% of workforce in the APAC region
SVP & COO, Asia Pacific, Zendesk
"The pandemic has further accelerated the need to address gender equity within organizations - and it starts with businesses ensuring the fair treatment of women in alignment with their needs and ensuring they feel valued at their workplace. The reality is that the tech industry still struggles with representation. At Zendesk, women make up 37% of our workforce in the APAC region and 31% of our global leadership teams. While we’ve made great strides, we know there’s always more work to be done.
Change can only happen when gender equity is one of an organizations’ core corporate values and where supporting policies are agreed at the top and rolled out across the entire organization. That’s why at Zendesk we have a broad range of practices and policies that focus on intentional hiring, interview bias training, talent management and development programs and employee community groups. The goal is to empower our workforce to collaborate with each other, seek out qualified women for roles across the company, and create a space where women can be themselves, form supportive relationships and reach their full potential."
Women have proven to be focused on finding solutions for challenging situations
Executive Director Syska Group
“During the pandemic, the world witnessed that countries which had women in the leadership positions were in a much better shape than the rest. Women have time and again proven that they are focused on continuously finding solutions for challenging situations. The world wants change and this could definitely be a century where equality can be established in every field. A big example that showcased a country breaking the etch was when Kamala Harris became the first woman Vice President of the United States. It is key that in this post pandemic world, we not only identify but accept the problems of patriarchy. We need a more humane and rational approach. Most importantly women always believe in working in a sort of comradeship. Be it healthcare, hospitality, politicians, innovators, women have been front liners. It is time we must discard the gender stereotypes, empower and let women take the lead towards this unrivalled gridlock.”
Technology has been a key enabler in women empowerment
Business Development Director, Axis Communications, Asia Pacific
“Working in the security and technology industry for more than two decades, I have witnessed a drastic evolution of technological advancements not just across industries but in different aspects of life. Technology has been a key enabler in women empowerment. Technology as a tool has unleashed immense potential and opened several opportunities for women in different fields.
Technology has been the backbone of innovation and growth for the country. Technology acts as a catalyst to improved efficiency and productivity of organizations and is crucial determinant in the development of any country. I saw this new hybrid model as an opportunity for creativity and innovation to execute the existing skills and acquire new ones. For instance, during pandemic, Axis Communications organized a series of webinars focusing on Women in Security - discussing the challenges faced in the personal and professional life of Women working in Security industry. This led to exchanges of ideas across APAC region from different functional roles.”
One need to challenge herself constantly and be open to new opportunities
VP, Customer Success, Salesforce India
“While re-skilling is most definitely the order of the day, for individuals to sustain competition and stay relevant. It is also essential to connect with peer groups and mentors, who can support and enable your growth on both personal and professional fronts. At Salesforce, we have programs that aim to amplify the progress of women in every step of their journey. We achieve this through professional and personal development, allyship, supportive connections, and taking action on gender equality.
The pandemic has shown us how working collaboratively can mutually benefit all team members. Be it a personal or professional hurdle an individual is trying to overcome, this period has taught me the importance of being an empathetic leader. After spending a considerable amount of life chasing both my professional and personal goals, my one key takeaway would be that - you need to challenge yourself constantly and be open to new opportunities.”
Having more females working within the industry could set an example
Vice President of the Global Sales Network, Kaspersky
“The results demonstrate a significant issue, highlighting the force of the ‘snowball effect’ if it travels in the wrong direction. For the women surveyed that had to take a leap of faith into the sector when there are so few examples of females who have trailblazed before them, it would have been incredibly daunting.
But the research also draws a line and highlights the possibilities if there is a more positive shift in the future. Having more females working within the industry could set an example and reassure others around certain fears associated with gender inequality. This could provide the catalyst that truly accelerates the change that is desperately needed.”
Women have to walk the extra mile to prove their worth
“What started decades ago as a day to demand equality, International Women’s Day has progressed to celebrating women who changed the world and those who continue to be change makers across sectors. Gender specific roles have evaporated with women leading in scientific and space research, technology, businesses. Learning from my experiences working with people internationally, I would like to mention key qualities that I believe make a great leader – humility, self-recognition, passion, and of course, talent. As women, we have to walk the extra mile to prove our worth. Challenges like cultural and social biasness will always remain constraints but that is no reason to hold yourself back. It is heartening to see women stepping up and claiming the corner offices. The moment we reach a state of ‘self-recognition’, realize our self-worth, acknowledge our talent and fears, follow our passion we will be in a state of growth and in a position to break the false glass ceiling. This day is a reminder that success is driven by passion, morals and rigour. It is only a matter of time that the Indian women lead the positions of power across all sectors, influencing the next generation to carry the mantle of leadership.”
True empowerment will be achieved if women have the opportunity to gain digital literacy
Sr. Director of Channel, APAC, Tenable
“True empowerment will be a reality when all women have the opportunity to gain digital literacy and not miss out on acquiring education, jobs, networking opportunities and access to information. More can be done to harness the power of technology to foster equity and not leave anyone behind.
The industry would need another 4 million trained workers in order to properly defend organizations and close the skills gap. This gap could be substantially closed if women were proportionately represented in the industry. Only through increased inclusion and diversity of race, gender, perspective and thought can countries achieve greater creativity and innovation, think outside the box, and outmanoeuvre its adversaries.
At Tenable, remote working options have always been made available to employees so it hasn’t disrupted productivity levels. We have engaged with individual team members to get an understanding of their personal home workspace and identified what they need to comfortably and effectively perform in their role. We have created resources like Family Corner, Tenable Fit and remote work tools and best practices for employees to access.”
Women are no longer at risk of missing out the most promising jobs
Vice President, Powertrain & Electrification, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, R&D wing of Bosch
“Digitalization has brought empowerment to the entire world, particularly to women. Women are gifted with superior social skills and when social skills are complemented with advanced digital literacy, which is one of the core requirements of digital age, it works well. Big data, artificial intelligence, advanced computing methods etc. have improved female presence in economic life by eliminating the need for any physical mobility. So, to summarize it in two points, one is that there is an unparalleled inclusion of women in the Indian economy, boosted by technology platforms and secondly women are increasingly pushing the boundaries of technology development. Ample opportunities for women in STEM space (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) exist and women are no longer at risk of missing out on the most promising jobs of the digital age. We are also at 50:50 gender parity rate in STEM graduates and at 35% in the IT workforce, which is far higher considering US and Europe that are at 25% and 18% respectively. Technological solutions to manage flexibility of the hybrid workplace is becoming equally imperative and organizations are investing on this heavily. Crafting a new work culture adapting to the new hybrid model that redefines expectations, building stronger connect mechanisms and having stronger performance management mechanisms are evolving. Every day is a learning and I too am adapting to the changing times.”
Technology enables flexible working options, more focused job opportunities for women
HR Senior Business Partner India, Juniper Networks
“Digital innovation is clearly reshaping our society, economy and industries at a scale and speed like never before. Empowering women to better utilize technology can be a game changer and will make a positive impact across education, healthcare, and ensuring the provision of clean drinking water and energy. If harnessed and applied to its full potential, countries can perform the role of ‘force-multipliers’ in society.
The ray of light is that women now have easy access to education, distance learning courses, financial and banking services, entrepreneurial opportunities, and many more opportunities like never before. For women in the corporate world, technology enables flexible working options, more focused job opportunities and freedom to build financial independence. of which has helped create a stronger ecosystem for women’s personal and professional development. The game is changing – slowly but surely. Personally, I focused on operating from compassion, providing support, being inclusive and adding fun along the way through interactions. Physical and mental wellness became very important areas to focus on to bring our best selves to work and in decisions we make. My organization launched some very focused initiatives on employee wellness through 1:1 coaching which was timed perfectly and helped foster emphasis on employee safety and wellbeing as top priorities.”
Working mothers strike a better balance between work and home responsibilities
IT Head - Chief Information Security Officer, NEC Corporation India
“Technology has provided a level playing field for women, promoted gender equality, and boosted women's empowerment in many areas. Conventionally, women workers, in particular, as primary caregivers at home, drop out of their careers because traditional jobs require them to be present in the office for a specific duration of hours. With the work from home (WFH) model, homemakers and stay-at-home mothers have got the opportunity to harness technology's power to find relevant job opportunities and upskill to fill the career gap. Additionally, working mothers can strike a better balance between work and home responsibilities with the integration of technology into the renewed working model. This has seemed to work well as attested by industry estimates, diversity hiring in 2020 went up by 32% as opposed to 23% last year demonstrating how technology has had a role to play.
Undoubtedly technology has been at the center of the country’s growth and progress, empowering people and businesses. For the section of society that never got a chance to experience technology, its real-time application is no less than a miracle. It has opened doors of opportunities for people who already have access but earlier struggled with the bandwidth and speed. Furthermore, smart city technology solutions benefit the commoners and make everyday life more efficient.”
Technology in tandem with education has played a critical role in improvements
Head of Marketing, India Region, Pure Storage
“I would say technology in tandem with education has played a critical role in improvements in our economy and society. The role of technology in community development has given power and a voice to people within the larger ecosystem. It has given many of our citizens the opportunity to create a better future for themselves. Just looking around at the vegetable vendors and fruit sellers using technology to market their goods and speed up delivery and you will appreciate how much technology has impacted their lives. And it's permeating almost every aspect of our lives from digital payments to filing our taxes.
It was challenging in the initial days when we were all coping with transitioning from a face-to-face working environment to a fully virtual one. It was even more challenging for me as I joined Pure during the lockdown so I've not even met my colleagues in person yet. But I think we've all coped very well and we have figured out how to continue being productive and delivering on our business objectives. The added benefit is that we get all that time that we used to spend on commutes to and from the office back.”
Technology is essential for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment
Director - Marketing, Dell Technologies India
“Technology is essential for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment in many fields. Modern technology has completely transformed our lifestyles. In general, it has made work, life, and access to information and communication a thousand times easier than ever before. Time and again it has been stressed that empowering women using technology can be a "game changer" if harnessed to its full potential and women have always been the participants at the front-and-center, in history-altering innovations for centuries.
Since Internet penetration is directly proportional to increasing economic growth, it has the potential to improve our economic standing within the world economy. Disruptive innovation technologies play a critical role in addressing the challenges faced by communities in areas such as education and healthcare. It is important to develop technological innovations that are suitable to solve problems faced by the community.
Dell has a longstanding culture of ‘Working from Home’ and our new work approach is an extension to the existing one. Our remote or flex work journey started about a decade ago, and flexible working is in our DNA. “Connected Workplace” as we call it, was implemented as a company initiative many years ago. Dell has the infrastructure, automation, monitoring tools and network topology, which have been empowering Work from Home for our team members.”
Every rising voice for empowering women causes a ripple effect
Red Hat India, South Asia
"Without a doubt, Technology has played a critical role to help navigate through the challenges across verticals. Men or women, changes in technology have impacted all of us. More so in today's scenario where the world has come even closer virtually. Technology helps dissolve barriers and practically connects the entire world through the internet. Women are not only consuming quality content but are also exposed to the overall sentiments of the world towards them. Every rising voice for empowering women causes a ripple effect and serves as an inspiration for women to chase their dreams. Technology not only offers e-learning and online education platforms but also propels women’s careers through remote working especially for those who are constrained to stay at home. It has instilled the need of education for young girls thereby increasing their chances of employment. Women are now competing at par with men in workplaces and are well educated about their rights. Public acknowledgment and celebration of their successes, however, hasn’t been on par with that of their male counterparts. Technology and communication have helped us reach out to people and spread awareness about this new role that women have taken over. Although a lot is yet to improve, technology has been one of the key factors serving as a game-changer for women around the world.”
Lenovo implements policies that make women employees feel included, engaged, and recognized
Head of Communications, APAC, Lenovo Data Center Group
“Technology often outpaces regulation, challenges existing status-quo and accelerates acceptance of a wide variety of working models. This has a strong impact on not just participation of women in the formal workforce but also their ability to identify and access economic opportunities as micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector. As technology makes location irrelevant in the new normal, there is greater participation of working mothers and women who may not be able to commute to work but can work remotely. While companies commit to gender equality and workplace diversity as a sine qua non of organizational culture, implementing policies both at the regulatory and corporate level that make women employees feel included, engaged, and recognized will make all the difference. Business continuity and VDI technologies can play an enabling role here. At Lenovo, we take pride in enabling an inclusive culture that champions diversity. In my experience, the ability of technology to turn a government’s vision into a clear actionable process and then produce timely, transparent reporting on impact and outcomes is its biggest strength. For me, simple things like allocating OOO time on one’s calendar or responding to non-critical emails at the end of the day or time that suits one’s domestic priorities can go a long way in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Also, adapting to the new realities requires learning new hybrid work skills, embracing flexibility, and keeping track of innovations in the market so we are always on-point.”
Having more women leading tech research and development will have a greater impact
Vaishali B Shivshankar
Head of Marketing & Communication, India & SAARC, Rackspace Technology
“Smart phones and mobile internet facilitate have become key functions of daily life, this availability to technology has opened the door to women’s voices, which were once confined to the home or marketplace. This technology has allowed women to reduce social barriers, allowing for training that boosts proficiency and in turn opens opportunities. Moving forward digital illiteracy, along with poverty and gender discrimination, will have the biggest impact on job security as the pace of technology advances. Having more women leading tech research and development will have a greater impact and lead to more opportunities that meet the unique needs of women and tap into a huge economic force.
Technology undoubtedly plays a vital role in the growth of industry, from cloud computing to artificial intelligence, technology is beginning to revolutionize how the world economy functions. Companies are to streamlining processes, improving efficiency, enhancing customer experience, and ultimately increasing revenue.
A focus on employee morale was one of the five strategies Rackspace Technology implement at the beginning of the pandemic, with a focus on a shared purpose, accessibility to leadership and transparency. Additionally, the culture team have worked to create a joint experience with virtual events, from quizzes and gameshows through to weekly catch ups.”
Women have significantly transformed the narrative debate on women empowerment
Chief Branding Officer, ESDS Software Solution
“In today's dynamically changing world, technology plays a crucial role in advancing women in their careers across industries. Technology often serves as the key growth driver behind any social change. Earlier, our society "perceived" that women were supposed to be inside the house and handle the household chores. By the hype of technology in the market, women have tried to level up to all the technology changes and cope with the changing technology environment. Mastering the technology changes, women have significantly transformed the narrative debate on women empowerment.
The role of technology in economic development can be attributed to several factors. These factors encompass - time, efficiency, specialization in work, accessibility of natural resources, industrial expansion, and most significantly, the Digital and International Trades.
Women have been excelling across several departments and overcoming all the hurdles coming in front of them. Nowadays, women successfully balance their personal and professional lives according to their priorities and maintaining a hybrid work-life balance. During this pandemic situation where kids have been learning from home, it was highly important to pay some attention to better their skills. I have always played the role of a daughter-in-law, a wife, and a mother. I have always believed in a proper work-life balance that can help you grow in all dimensions and extents.”
Women can definitely benefit from technology
SVP & Global Head, Consulting and Digital Services, Tech Mahindra
“Technology has proved to be the backbone of economic growth, especially during the ongoing COVID crisis. It has enabled business continuity, seamless communication, innovation and flexibility of work in the new-normal. Various digital tools and technologies have evolved and converged to enable this hybrid working model, which I hope will enable more women to enter and stay in the active workforce in the future. Technology has transformed societies as an equalizer providing inclusive access to people around the world to learn, to work, to trade, to express opinions, to influence thought.
Women have definitely benefited from this, but the pandemic has also shown us that access to devices that enable this may not always be available to women. As Indian corporates, we can help by making available devices exclusively for use by women, and equip them with the skills required to use them effectively. At Tech Mahindra, we have various initiatives and policies in place to welcome different perspectives and voices in celebrating a diverse and inclusive organizational culture. Our CSR focus is on enabling and empowering women through skills and opportunities.”
Role reversal to attain the pinnacle of success
S Mohini Ratna
The role of women has changed tremendously and they have been able to create a positive impact in the society. From housewives to CEOs, the transition can be seen at an accelerating rate. The advent of the latest technology has widened hope and opportunities.
Women have established themselves socially, politically, economically and in almost every field. The journey of liberation of women has crossed many milestones and society has also evolved broadly. Today, along with handling critical and important clients at office, they successfully multitask at home too with her impromptu skills. Women are more focused and have a unique decision making power even at senior leadership level, in the most optimal manner, and at times are in a better position than men. Empowering women can help the society to grow and develop at a faster pace. We are definitely redefining the world!
Altran, part of Capgemini is committed to play the role in accelerating women’s progress at the workplace
Chief Human Resources Officer Engineering Centers, Altran, part of Capgemini
“An ideal work environment is diverse, recognizes talent without bias and actively promotes gender equity. Opportunities for women in leadership roles used to be a handful when I started my career in technology more than two decades ago. Over the years, I have witnessed a steady growth in the representation of women in engineering as well as other professional spheres. While Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown has, in some ways brought an impact, I am confident that it will gather momentum in the near future.
At Altran, part of Capgemini, we have made substantial progress in fulfilling the individual career needs of our employees by aligning gender parity with business strategy. We are committed to play our role in accelerating women’s progress at the workplace. My advice to young women is to find the right mentor, trust the guidance, gain knowledge and share their learnings. It is important to keep a positive attitude, remain focused and turn every challenging situation into an opportunity."
CrowdStrike’s culture welcomes free thinking, personal initiative and ownership
Managing Director Pune, India, CrowdStrike
“At CrowdStrike, innovation is essential to our business model, so we encourage every employee to constantly think of ways to improve, expand and enhance our products and services. While a remote-based workforce may be a sudden change for some companies, it can also offer organizations a way to diversify and expand their talent pool and even reduce some operating expenses, such as real estate and travel. Beyond that, we think that this shift provides a perfect opportunity to advance and strengthen the company culture in a way that inspires, supports and empowers all employees, wherever they may be.
Culture isn’t something that employees should read about it’s something they need to feel. At CrowdStrike, our culture is active, meaning that our employees aren’t mere recipients of corporate messaging, but true ambassadors of our mission to make the digital world a safer place to live and work. A key part of our culture is autonomy, giving people the time, space and freedom to do their job as they see fit and offer suggestions for improvements or enhancements along the way. As a result of this approach, some of our company’s biggest projects have been initiated by employees and powered by their understanding that our culture welcomes free thinking, personal initiative and ownership. It is so important to give employees a platform from which they can share their perspectives and stories, connect with others and see how their views connect with the core values of the organization by creating spaces for people to have a 1:1 connection. This must be done intentionally, enabling a shared sense of culture through communication, learning opportunities, common experiences and, above all, a deep respect for one another.”
Digitization is a roadmap of moving towards digital business
Head- Marketing, India, Pitney Bowes
“The global pandemic is rapidly reshaping organizations as they adapt to a new business environment with new technology needs and changes in the way we operate in our ecosystem (customers, partners, employees and vendors).
Technology has made many jobs, location agnostic, now wherever you are, you can work online and collaborate with distributed team members across the globe. It is widely accepted fact that technology is the key driver of overall development of the country.
With Digital India initiative launched by Government of India, technological progress allows digitalization in all the areas driving economic growth. There is shift in how we do business – now every business, which was offline and is shifting online. Every company is looking different business models to sustain, sell and engage with their customers and other stakeholders. Digitization is a roadmap of moving towards digital business, as well as the creation of new revenue streams and offerings.
Like everyone, pandemic has changed my life too. It was a challenge in the beginning, juggling work and home but with time, all aspects have settled down. I have adjusted the schedule accordingly and spaced out my responsibilities, be it daily chores at home or attending office work. There is a fair understanding from stakeholders at home and in office, however I feel the lives have become all the busier, while we knowingly or unknowingly taken up more responsibilities. With technology dependence, we have embraced digitization as consumers and must broaden our mindset to build best digital client experience for our customers and ecosystem as well.”
Women all over the world are breaking new ground in every arena of life and work
Head of Marketing-India & SAARC, F5
“As digital transformation become a priority for businesses in India, leaders take the center stage to become more strategic to help businesses survive and thrive. In India, women have been able to surpass the inequality at the workplace to a certain extent. Currently, women all over the world are breaking new ground in every arena of life and work.
With newer technologies coming up, which raises the need for reskilling to unleash technology's potential. This has further changed the role of women in tech in three ways:
1. Increased opportunities: The adoption of new technology is much faster now, than it was earlier, due to the pandemic. As enterprises adopt digital transformation and digitalize their business, it opens up more leadership positions for innovation that women can vie for and ascent to top-level positions.
2. New perspectives are valued: Today we are seeing that female leader at technology companies add value to a company and its customers because of the mix of different perspectives
3. Skill set requirements: Skilling is one of the most important national agendas. In addition to its core focus areas, the Skill India initiative must also focus on skilling women for different job roles, Enterprises should focus more on creating opportunities and providing the necessary training to women in various domains to help them maximize their expertise, contribute and make an impact.
I believe that the shift towards a cloud-first approach, automation, use of AI and ML, and enhanced focus on data analytics and security with a business-driven mindset gives enterprises and economy a competitive edge. Most importantly, pandemic acting as a catalyst in accelerating digital transformation has increased the possibilities of diverse and new business opportunities with more of Human first approach.”
Women who develop competence will thrive in the years ahead
Senior Executive Vice President - India & Global –Sales & Solution Engineering, NTT-Netmagic
“Technology has been instrumental in improving and changing almost every aspect of our lives. In many areas, it has come across as a game changer, including being an enabler in terms of career opportunities for women. The evolution of digital technologies has empowered millions of women to join the global workforce. They are making their mark felt in even most demanding areas such as space science even in a government organization such as ISRO.
There is ample scope for women in tech-driven areas such as fintech, IT and ITES, management and various other roles. Women who develop competence in areas like networking, development, application design, cloud technologies and cyber-security will thrive in the years ahead.
Since I am a part of the technology sector, the transition from in-office to a hybrid culture hasn’t been too drastic for me. The biggest challenge in such a scenario especially during the lockdown came from the blurring of boundaries between work and personal lives.
While remaining put at one location, the tendency to be ‘always on’ takes over. However, the key for me was to treat the routine as normal. My roles and responsibilities remain the same whether I am working from office, home or anywhere. Thus, by sticking to the routine and working with the same focus that being in office requires, I have been able to efficiently handle my professional and personal responsibilities.”
Women must ensure that they are at the forefront of this change and play their part in driving growth
MD, Lead - Global Technology for Communications & Media, Advanced Technology Centers India, Accenture
“Digital is removing barriers to learning and enabling women with opportunities as new business models emerge. Similarly, collaboration tools are enabling new and flexible ways of working, which may potentially provide women, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities, with more opportunities that weren’t available or recognized earlier. Women must ensure that they are at the forefront of this change and play their part in driving growth.
Today, growing digitalization presents tremendous opportunities for women in technology to position their expertise as a technology leader, tech strategist or architect, security consultant or data and AI expert. At Accenture, growing the number of women in technology roles is a key priority, and there are early interventions such as Accenture’s ‘Quantum Impact’ program where we are enabling our women to build their technology skills and overall leadership skills.
The hybrid work culture was not a cake walk. It took some time to get the hang of it and adjust to the changes. In fact, there were times when my daughter’s classes were most priority and or a client meeting that I had to attend without any distractions. Initial days of panic and hoarding slowly gave way to marathon planning as we realized this was a long haul. All hidden talents and experience of running the house came to the forefront and we managed to get by – every individual chipping in diligently. Accenture implemented several initiatives and made the right interventions quite rapidly to help its people transition to the new ways of working.”
Citrix always believed in empowering more women through technology and transforming the future of work
Vice President, Channel, APJ region, Citrix
“The whole remote/hybrid work model is expected to become be a game changer for women all over. Owing to the greater flexibility that technology has provided, women have been better able to balance their family and professional duties, not having to choose between one or the other. The remote working revolution also has the potential to bridge the gender gap, one of the biggest challenges that businesses face, but more needs to be done before it can become a mainstay. And this was made possible because of technology driven solutions such as digital workspaces. At Citrix, we have always believed in empowering more women through technology and transforming the future of work. While we as women have to juggle a lot more than just our work, every day I am motivated by the idea of technology opening the doors of accessibility, opportunity and equality for all women, especially the ones that are under-resourced.
I moved to Singapore to take over my new role at Citrix just before the pandemic began. While it all seemed new and difficult to adjust at first, Citrix’s simple yet effective remote working technologies helped me adapt quickly and made my transition smooth. I feel proud to be working for a company that recognizes the need to focus more on the people using their technologies than the technology itself.
At Citrix, we strive to constantly improve our employee experience everyday which has helped me and all our employees work better, without compromising on our health, in spite of a dynamic business environment such as ours. I am extremely fortunate to be a part of an organization that constantly encourages me to refresh, recharge, and be my best.”
Technology has opened up a plethora of job opportunities for women
Head, Marketing and Communications, Vertiv India
“With the help of technology, women have been able to manage home and work affairs with more ease, especially with platforms like e-commerce, OTT, healthcare and fitness apps, and virtually staying connected with colleagues, friends and family. Technology has opened up a plethora of job opportunities for women and enabled them to move beyond traditional roles. Women have been able to leverage technology for education, social support, as well as access to learning and training programs in STEM fields. STEM was one area that was previously largely male-oriented but is now creating opportunities for women to help them realize their dreams and vision of what they can achieve. At Vertiv, we are determined to empower more women through technology. I have been able to operate remotely with as much ease and efficiency only because of all the technology enabled assistance that I have been provided with. Having access to technology will help countries like India speed-up the development process and boost the economy. As a result of the pandemic, India’s roadmap to digital transformation accelerated during the past year. A large number of people were pushed to quickly adapt to various kinds of technology owing to remote working that was implemented across businesses. In Vertiv, our top priority was the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we live and work.
We cater to our partners’ and customers' requirements 24x7 which requires our sales and service teams to meet them regularly to uphold a healthy relationship. This also applies to our on-the-floor factory workers who fall under essential services according to government norms. Vertiv has had its Ambernath and Pune manufacturing plants running since April 2020, the peak of the lockdowns, to extend our support to our customers during the challenging times.”
VMware helps women to enhance their skill sets and restart their careers
Supriya Menon, Director - Education, VMware India
“At VMware, we believe that upskilling, reskilling, and multi-skilling are the need of the hour when emerging technologies are changing the rules of the game at an unprecedented rate. VMware launched VMinclusion Taara with the intent to help women enhance their skill sets and restart their careers.
The current situation has amplified the role of technology in navigating the new normal. As India joins the world in the digital race, innovation, technology adoption and flexibility will catalyze industries at a faster rate. The shift from physical to digital channels is also aiding technology spends. The pandemic has forced several organisations to change systems, processes, and even company culture, technology will reshape long-term customer engagement models, expanding the choices for employees and even redefining their industries to be digital-first.
I think if not for technology we would have all been in a much more difficult situation than we are today. I remember how a year back, I did a team call to let everyone know that they can work from home…we did this shift just a day before the lockdown was announced countrywide. Thanks to technology, we all shifted to our home office seamlessly and with no break in work. We shifted all our classes to an online delivery model, the trainers had to get used to the new way of teaching online 5 days a week, 9 to 6 pm, the sales team started communicating with customers using Zoom and Teams meeting. Everyone was impacted but we learned to balance managing work from home, housework, kid’s education, etc.
Never before have organizations had to plan for such scale and agility. The sudden rise in demand for remote working has led many enterprises from various industries to explore new ways to adapt and innovate. VMware enables a digital foundation that delivers any app on any cloud to any device with intrinsic security architected into every layer. As a tech company with hundreds of thousands of customers, we take resilience seriously, and we have created plans for hurricanes, data-center failures, cyberattacks, pandemics, and other crises. While we never predicted a crisis quite like this, or of this scale, VMware was prepared with a business continuity plan to ensure our 31,000 employees around the globe feel safe and were supported to work remotely in a secure environment. We have also leveraged VMware technology to ensure maximum productivity and engagement for our teams, partners and customers
Digital solutions have helped women improve their financial literacy
Tejaswini Sanya Singh, Director, Cloud Services, Unisys India
“Technological advancements have simplified tasks, enabled multitasking, and significantly reducing the cost and time consumption for every individual. It has made work, life, communication and access to information much easier. These innovations have been particularly beneficial for women of all ages, especially in balancing their personal and professional lives. Thanks to the technological advancements, women today can look beyond geographical boundaries to explore new possibilities for themselves. Digital solutions have helped women improve their financial literacy, explore entrepreneurial opportunities, connect with potential business partners, stakeholders and employers and create new opportunities for themselves. Tech platforms and various digital tools have empowered women to upskill themselves and expand their domain knowledge, without moving out of their homes or seeking any external guidance. Much has been achieved, but we still have a long way to go! I hope technology keeps playing its part in creating a gender equal world.
Technology has played a key role in shaping my career. Over the course of my career in the tech industry, I have ensured I continuously upgrade my skills and stay abreast with the latest. This helped me succeed in my role and take on new opportunities. Serving over two decades in different industries and starting from ground level, has enabled me to learn and take up new challenges and eventually cater to business needs. Personally, like for many others, the transition was not smooth sailing for me as well. However, with the support of my family and with the various initiatives taken by Unisys for the wellbeing of its associates, I have been able to strike the desired balance between my personal and professional lives.”
India has seen the rise and triumph of women leaders
Neerja Birla, Founder & Chairperson, Mpower
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate women from all walks of life! The modern Indian woman is a powerhouse - fighting for her rights and proudly flaunting the many other facets of her personality. She is making her mark in business, science & technology, politics, sports, the arts, and in society as a whole. In this age of globalization, India has seen the rise and triumph of women leaders who have pushed the boundaries and helped to strengthen the workforce by creating inclusive environments. It is heartening to see that this growth is not just limited to women in metros. Even rural and semi-urban entrepreneurs are taking giant leaps for womankind, and encouraging their peers to follow their footsteps.
Over the last year in particular, there’s no denying that the pandemic has been difficult for many, and the pressures have been compounded for women. It is apparent that socio-economic vulnerability combined with the control of their sexuality, societal pressure, harassment or violence etc. gravely impact both their mental and physical health. On our 1 on 1 helpline, we have received calls from women across India struggling with relationship issues, anxiety, depression due to loneliness and self-esteem issues. As a nation, until we come together to create awareness and address the issues women face, only then will we able to create an environment where women can thrive. The change needs to begin with each one of us. We need to respect ourselves and not be apologetic about who we are and what we want. While we have come a long way in these last few years, we still have an even longer way to go. This journey has only begun.”
Women have already cemented their position as thinkers, doers
Juhi Mishra, Manager, HR Business Partner-India, Randstad RiseSmart
“For long women have been major contributors in corporate success stories, more often than not, while working behind the scenes. In a COVID-19 world where almost everything that we know and accepted as normal, has changed, there is a heightened need for this to be reflected in the boardroom as well. The unfortunate reality is that in India, we have only about 17% representation among women in board positions. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day – ChooseToChallenge, is a call to action to recognise and celebrate women for their resilience and achievements. It is also a reminder to women that they have the power to choose to challenge social norms and shape a more equal future.
Within organisations, women have already cemented their position as thinkers, doers, and as forces to reckon with. Now, the time has come to take this to next level; for organisations to create an even playing field, and give women professionals an environment which they can thrive in. Randstad RiseSmart is a firm believer in creating an inclusive and diverse culture where our employees enjoy equal opportunities, and can thrive to reach and exceed their goals. Organizations need to take a proactive stance to create an inclusive and respectful workplace. The effort has to be two pronged – allow ease of entry and provide equal opportunities for development. In the long run, such measures will create a positive environment for mutual growth. Additionally, it will also strengthen the organization’s reputation as an employer of choice, to attract and retain the right talent, and build a diverse workforce that’s future-ready.”
Women emancipation and empowerment should be an ongoing activity
Aditi Shrivastava, Co-founder, Pocket Aces
“Women should be celebrated every day, and their accomplishments and contributions should be recognized throughout the year. Corporate organisations both in India and globally should take the necessary steps to ensure that they groom and motivate women to take up leadership positions to help create the right balance in the workforce today. This will encourage young girls to pursue their dreams and look up to these women leaders as role models. Encouraging women at entry levels will give them the confidence to face all the challenges they might encounter, in their quest towards building successful careers in varied sectors - corporates, sports politics, media, and more. We are increasingly seeing brands rushing to push out Women’s Day content once every year, however messages such as women emancipation and empowerment should be an ongoing activity. As an organisation, we strive to create content that showcases real women and their stories, while also taking steps within the enterprise to ensure workplace diversity where each employee is valued and provided an opportunity to grow irrespective of their gender. This way, we as a society will be able to build a more just and equitable society for future generations.”
Women have created a space and position for themselves at organizations in every field
Margaret Dsouza, Head HR, Flock, Zeta and Radix
“This International Women’s Day urges us to recognize and celebrate women for their role in shaping a more democratic future and building a non-biased society. During the pandemic, working from home was not the same for men and women. Women had to balance both work and family duties simultaneously, which added to the stress and pressure affecting the mental wellness of women to a great extent. Today, women have created a space and position for themselves at organizations in every field, but we can still see that there are unconscious biases that exist in the corporate world. We are constantly working to make Flock, Zeta and Radix a great and comfortable place to work for our women employees. To create awareness about such biases, we have organized special activities and sessions to get people to become more aware of such things. Now more than ever, the focus should be on the mental health of employees, diversity, and respect for each employee, which is vital and needs to be followed by every organization at all times.”
Neither men or women are superior
Surabhi Goel, CEO - Aditya Birla World Academy, Aditya Birla Education Academy & The Aditya Birla Integrated School
“For me gender equality means truly being equal. Neither men or women are superior. It means that we need more men as teachers, it means raising my son to do household chores and respecting a woman who may be more successful than him in the future. I choose to challenge the belief that working women are not good mothers or good daughters. I want to challenge people who look at compassion and empathy in women as their weakness. Because they are actually their strengths. At the Aditya Birla Education Trust, we have several women in the leadership team. We hope that we can inspire other women that they too can lead.”
To increase the number of women in IT, change need to begin at the grassroot level
Bhoomi Mehta, AVP, Special Projects, Cygnet Infotech
“While there is a lot of chatter about increasing the number of women in IT, we need to begin at the grassroot level to bring about this change. Encouraging girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses in school and college is the first step. Over time, this will greatly increase our talent pool. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have led multiple teams and projects, both technical and functional, in different roles at Cygnet Infotech. Our organization is committed to equal opportunities for all. In fact, we are currently running a campaign around ‘It’s okay to take a break” to encourage women who have taken breaks in their career to apply to our organization. The response has been very encouraging."
New opportunities and avenues for women to grow and succeed
Mili Panicker, Senior Manager - HR, WebEngage
“As HR leaders, we are constantly striving to make the organisation a great place to work for our employees across the globe. Focusing on diversity, inclusion and respecting individuals as a whole at every level is very important and needs to be adapted by every enterprise. That said, companies also need to curate and drive HR initiatives that empower women and assure them a safe place to work, while balancing their personal life. Today, with Women’s Day around the corner, as corporate organisations we all need to open up new opportunities and avenues for women to grow and succeed. As HR teams, we need to understand the challenges women employees face at work and believe that empathy and support are two essential things to facilitate the growth of women in the workforce.”
Women have broken all barriers in technology across sectors
Manisha Banthia, Director, Analytics, Fiserv Global Services
“Women from all fields and at all levels should strive to drive innovation and business transformation across organizations. Women have broken all barriers in technology across sectors. The rising popularity of fields like data science amongst women can change the rules of the game. While some are now part of core leadership or have built their own enterprise, there is also progressive increase in participation of women in niche areas like data science and analytics, UI/UX, animation etc. To accelerate growth here, it will be essential for companies to incorporate forward-thinking policies for women and provide them an environment to be at their best.”
Women have led the effort in making empathy a key enabler in adjusting to remote work
Vineetha Vijayakumar, Head of Product & Program, Esper.io
“Numerous articles have been written about dealing with the pandemic and how we evolved work & management principles. Especially in the field of technology, women have led the effort in making empathy a key enabler in adjusting to remote work - empathy among colleagues, families, friends and the society at large. Let’s shine a spotlight on these stories of leadership, strength and resilience shown by women all over the world. Let’s internalize, amplify and celebrate these stories to spread more hope and empowerment.”
Technology is an opportunity and not a barrier for women
Nithya Krishnan, Director, Marketing – India & SAARC, Trend Micro
“Women have occupied leadership positions in the past as well. However, much focus and attention weren’t given. In the present times, media and society is much more vocal about such aspects. Yes, certain fields which use to see fewer women occupying senior positions now have more representation, whether be it in - IT, BFSI, real estate etc.
Technology is an opportunity and not a barrier for women, as they are working across the tech spectrum, be it - data scientist, software, hardware engineer, programmer, coder or CXO-level management roles. Some of the best tech R&D centers in India employ women within their ranks.
I believe our company has always been a great place to work for employees, irrespective of gender. We provide an equal opportunity for all, where employees get ample scope to grow both professionally as well as personally. Also, we happen to be one of the rare global tech companies to be helmed by a woman CEO. As an organization, the company also supports women to pursue careers in tech, and we have partnered with Girls in Tech, a non-profit engagement that empowers girls and women who are passionate about technology. My advice to women would be to set high goals and benchmarks for themselves and try achieving them, even if they might fail many times. Also, try to find strong mentors early on in your careers, they might help guide you along the way.”
75F values women by encouraging them to integrate the culture
Shilpa Basappa, Associate Director - Engineering, 75F
"At 75F, women hold essential leadership positions. One of the key goals of 75F is to encourage more women in technical and leadership roles as we truly believe that a highly diverse team is fundamental to a company's ability to innovate and stay relevant. 75F also believes that having a diverse and inclusive environment is not optional; rather it is a must-have to hold women talent and make a huge difference in our product. 75F values women by encouraging them to integrate the culture, diversity and inclusion principles into all facets of the company life cycle, thus ensuring a stronger company.”
Shoptimize firmly believe in equal opportunity for women
Sathya Ramaganapathy, VP Marketing at Shoptimize
"At Shoptimize, we firmly believe in equal opportunity for women, and building an inclusive, bias-free organization has been our topmost priority.
The rise of Indian eCommerce has not only boosted India’s economy but has also opened up many opportunities for women. From entrepreneurs building and scaling businesses to increased representation across functions, be it in leadership, tech, or sales & marketing roles - we have been privileged to have a ringside view of the women fueling the eCommerce boom."
Women are good at tech and are also good managers
Sahiba Singh, Chief People Officer at Acuver Consulting
“There is so much stereotyping. Women are good at tech, women are good managers, women can drive and can read maps. But still there are plenty of societal preconceived notions that are imposed on us. Women are constantly being compared to their male counterparts. Thus, I choose to challenge all those who think like this. Stereotyping needs to stop! Corporates should be gender neutral and responsibilities should be assigned based on the skill set.”
Women are breaking every stereotype and excelling across sectors
Ritu Pusti, Brand Manager- Hocomoco
"Women are breaking every stereotype and excelling across sectors, including real estate which is predominantly considered male-dominated. It's also interesting to note that women are also amongst the fastest-growing group of consumers in terms of purchasing land/house.
At Hocomoco, we have always believed in giving weightage to talent/skill over gender, and to build a bias-free organization. Our project management team has close to 50% women employees, and some of the crucial departments (interior and marketing) in the company are headed by women."
Pandemic has tilted the balance of work more towards remote or hybrid
Shilpa Bhandari, Senior Vice President and Global Head – BFSI, Birlasoft
“Technology is an absolute game changer for the workforce and certainly for women. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the power of technology to enable remote working, collaboration, virtual networking within & outside the organization, thus enabling productivity while providing flexibility. These tenets of flexibility, location independence and ability to work and collaborate virtually enabled by technology are very important for attracting, retaining and advancing women in the workforce.
In my role as a business leader, extensive travel to meet clients, teams and partners was always the norm. In the early stages of the pandemic and having stepped into a new global role in a new firm, it was unsettling to understand the ramifications of how long and how pervasive will this change be. However, I tuned myself very quickly to leverage the power of collaboration technologies such as MS Teams and others to design an intensive self-induction and assimilation plan based on purposeful and empathetic communication with our teams, clients and other stakeholders. In many ways, it allowed for a higher level of accessibility since everyone was working in the remote model and travel was at a standstill. One was able to get more time and accelerate virtual meetings, virtual planning sessions, reviews and all other elements of interaction. On the flip side, the remote and hybrid work culture indirectly created a sort of ‘always on’ expectation. There are a far greater number of hours that teams are working and so it is important to define a schedule, carve out time for family as well as mental and physical health activities. I believe that pandemic has tilted the balance of work more towards remote, hybrid and selective travel but also brought to the forefront the fundamental need for human-to-human interaction. Overall, it will have a positive impact on organizational culture to embrace a working model which will draw a more diverse talent pool, provide flexibility, leverage technology even more for building an engaged workforce and bring even more focus on mental & physical health.”
Technology is bringing more women talent to the workforce
Sripriya Kalyanasundaram, SVP - Global Account Manager, UiPath
“My roles in strategic vision and digital automation have allowed me to witness the real power of technology in changing the course of business activities and how the world functions. The leap of automation and nuances of innovation has taught me how technology could empower processes, provide unique opportunities for career elevations, and promote a holistic development for the country.
With my experience of serving both, government and businesses, I could sense the enormous importance that technology carries in development. In fact, technology is the prime factor we should credit for the seamless transition of flexible work conditions, and for bringing more women talent to the workforce.”
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