Various studies, reports and surveys over the years have shown that a higher percentage of women in India study STEM subjects and work in the technology sector than in the USA or even in many European countries. Although the numbers are encouraging, they don't tell the whole story. In fact, women who embark on a MINT career have an incredibly high rate of wear, especially in the middle of their careers. 56 percent of technical women leave tech companies within 10 years – more than twice as many as men.
To gain insight into the reasons behind such trends, corporate responsibility to captivate women, and what women can do to take a successful path in technology, Micro Focus, a UK-based Pureplay- Software company, a conference "Women in technology" Panel in Bangalore and Mumbai recently. The panel included some of the leading women in technology from companies like Infosys, CleverTap, the State Bank of India, LinkedIn, Reliance Jio and many more.
The closed panel with Genefa Murphy, Micro Marketing's Chief Marketing Officer, began with a fireside chat between Genefa and Sayantani Mukherjee Roy, VP & Managing Consultant at Archetype. When Genefa talked about her own path as a CMO of a large IT company, she said that women are always judged on their decisions – especially when they make a decision. Your career comes first. While policies, codes of conduct and attitudes in general need to be changed, responsibility lies with women themselves.
"There is no shortcut to success. And while it is up to organizations to create an environment of inclusion and diversity, it is up to individuals to own their narrative. "
Based on anecdotes and own experience, Genefa also made clear the basic prejudices in the industry regarding the role of women in technology. The fireside chat then opened a round of discussions on the subject of “making the unconscious aware”, which essentially tried to express the unconscious prejudices against women in the workplace.
While in the Bengaluru edition of the panel women talked about their personal experiences with these prejudices – from the assumption that women don't do night shifts, questions about their promotions to prejudices in office – the chapter in Mumbai focused more on the others Approach them and the reasons why such prejudices even exist.
Rebecca Kurian, Marketing Director at LogMeIn, spoke about how women need to drive change and take control of the narrative in the face of prejudice. However, many of the women also agreed that a confident woman at work is often viewed as arrogant or mean – adjectives that are not associated with men who claim this.
Sunita Handa, Senior Vice President (Systems) at the State Bank of India (SBI), led the discussion on how important corporate culture is for inclusiveness – from the choice of the wardrobe to the language used.
“In my personal experience, women can negotiate better and look at things from both a micro and macro perspective. And I think companies need to improve these skills and motivate their female employees as much as possible. “Handa also emphasized that women should continue their education before they can return to the workforce after a career break.
Several prominent female executives participated in the jury, including Suchita Vishnoi, Senior Director Marketing – APAC, Cognizant; Devika Nayyar, Regional Manager – West, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Monika Chourasia, SVP & Head of IT Operations at Vodafone; Dr. Priyanka Singh, data scientist at Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL); Vaishali Soali Nambiar, market supplier, CitiusTech; Indrani Ghosh, Mar-Tech Sales – Senior Brand Services Director of the MullenLowe Lintas Group; Supriya Tandon, Senior Manager – Business Transformation, Micro Focus India; Brinditha Rai, Business Unit Manager, Brillio; Almitra Karnik, Marketing Manager, CleverTap; Ritu Thakkar, IT manager for processes and quality assurance, Vakrangee Limited; Parveen Sheikh, Micro Focus India; Devyani Ozarde, founder and director of Nxtnew Business Consulting LLP; Celia Rexselin, Senior Technology Architect at Infosys; Mary Sunanda, Software Support, MPS Limited; Avvanti Gupta, Co-Founder and Director – Business & Alliance, Nxtnew Business Consulting LLP; Kavitha Kadambi, AVP – FS Digital, Infosys; Sindhu Srinivas, Manager Customer Success, LinkedIn; Elizabeth Thomas, DGM, MPS Limited.
Qualification, the selection of champions in the workplace, taking the lead in eliminating prejudices and non-observance by them found common ground in both bodies. From the question of how women bring a high level of emotional quotient into the workplace to better multitasking, the panel also discussed the need to include more women in the group.