[TechSparks Fireside Chat] ‘Guilt is the curse of womanhood,’ Intel President Kumud Srinivasan


The perennial debate on retention of women workers is gathering speed as companies in India and overseas -- in technology and elsewhere -- are trying to find ways to stem the outflow, sometimes with not so great results. To gain more insight into the problem and about women in technology, YourStory invited Kumud Srinivasan, President of Intel India, for a fireside chat at the just-concluded TechSparks Grand Finale in Bangalore.

“We hire a very large percent of women; 50 percent of college engineering students are female in India, and that gives us a large base to hire from. At the bottom the base is very big, and if you look at tech in India, there are a lot of women at the top,” Kumud told YourStory Founder Shradha Sharma.

“So why do we feel that women are not doing well in tech?” Answering her own question, she said, “It’s really more about the middle leaky pipeline (which is not unique to tech) that I think we have heard a lot about. You have that leaky pipeline in all industries because there are fairly complex social reasons that are best addressed not just by industry but by a partnership between industry and the government, and in fact, even academia. I think a lot of companies have a lot of measures, policies and systems in place to try and address this middle leaky pipeline just like we do in Intel.”

Kumud also alluded to her personal story during her chat. She began her career at the same time her older child was born, which means both her career and her family grew simultaneously. What are her learnings from her journey?

“Guilt is the curse of womanhood,” she said. “If there was one thing that I would have done less of, it would be to feel less guilty of the choices I was making. I don’t think that is something you outgrow. You work on it through the entire time you are raising your family and having a career.”

Of course, she also spoke about Intel’s push for innovation, belying the common belief that innovating in big multinational companies isn’t possible.

“Intel has been relentlessly pursuing Moore's Law, and there is a lot of innovation that has gone into it. Without it we would have run into a brick wall, which everyone has been forecasting so far,” she said.

“It has not been easy, but we continue to innovate and make more transistors that are smaller, more powerful, more energy efficient and affordable.”

She concluded by quoting Meg Whitman on the glass ceiling for women. “Opportunities are out there, the ceiling is where you put it.”


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