Women in Technology
by Pallavi Arora
3 minutes read
There's a lot of hype around increasing Gender diversity and most companies have joined the band wagon to show that they are doing their part. There are two aspects that most companies are focusing on - Hiring and Retention. Most companies have programs around increased hiring from Colleges and many are going to women only colleges for hiring.
For lateral hiring, companies are paying placement companies higher bonus for sourcing resumes of women (and converting into a hire).
Most companies have gender diversity oriented ERGs setup which run many programs through the year that promote retention through Coaching, mentoring and exposure to Role Models.
All of this has certainly helped increase the overall gender diversity in many of the companies but has a long way to go to claim victory. There are several challenges that one needs to acknowledge are not easy to overcome -
1.Available Talent Pool - There isn't sufficient number of women Talent out there in the market for lateral hiring and sufficient number of Women students passing out from Professional colleges to hire. Tier-1 (Ivy league)and Tier-2 colleges have less than 10-15% of women students. The only colleges you find women students to hire from are mostly Metro Tier-3 engineering colleges.
Aspirational deficit - There is no doubt that we have come a long way compared to the 70s and 80s. When I used to work long back in Customer support in Wipro in the early 90s, I was the only woman in a team of 100 for a long time until one more woman joined the team. The question here really is how passionate are women about their career. While there are obvious factors that have huge influence here - Society, lack of role models, Work-life balance issues, etc.. it is not easy to pursue careers alongside the challenges of personal life - it does feel like being in a hamster cage for most women. While most women these days pursue their Education with great passion and compete for jobs and are quite ambitious early in their career, as years go by, many of them slow down and eventually lose interest along the way and start treating their career as jobs. This is the hardest problem to solve. This is where Coaching, Mentoring and having Role models inside and outside the organizations for inspiration helps.
3. Growing into Middle Management and Exec positions - If you have now overcome #1 and #2 - Yay!! You have won half the battle!! Growing into Middle Management and Exec position is a different ballgame. It is tough even for Men. Many start hitting their glass ceiling - some realize and many don't. Here is where building Leadership skills, developing EQ and building skills to strategize become important. These are Leadership positions which imply that you are on your own - you need to build the ability to not only pave path for yourself but for your entire team and organization. To be able to do that, knowledge on Technology trends, business knowledge and Competitive knowledge are important. Your ability to keep pace, understand, connect the dots and solve the challenges will determine your leadership capability. All of this you need to do alongside with running the present business which is predominantly your execution skills. Many people struggle here trying to balance between the two - both Men and Women. Women find it tougher since additional responsibilities mean finding the time to do more with the same 24 hrs that everyone has.
Both Men and Women use the excuse of lack of time. To me this is the same excuse that most of us give on why we don't exercise when we all know how important it is for our well being. Making time 1-2 hrs in a 40 hrs week to keep yourselves updated on what's happening in the industry is not much to ask for is it?
To do my bit to help the Women in IT Industry and help them being updated on Technology and business trends, I have started a Forum called Women in Technology on Facebook where we share and discuss the trends. The forum has Women Students to Women at Middle Management/Exec positions.
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