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India's IT sector is recruiting more women and giving them leadership roles: Nasscom

Sohini Mitter
13th Mar 2018
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The industry body found that gender-inclusive HR policies like flexi-work hours, work-from-home, parental leaves, anti-harassment policies, and so on have contributed to this trend.

Gender gap plagues the world of business all over. In India, too, the sorry representation of women in almost all walks of life has been discussed and debated at length. Not only is there an employment gap, but a wide disparity in pay as well.

But, a ray of hope has emerged. India’s IT industry — a traditionally male-dominated sector — seems to be slowly yet surely closing the gender gap, according to Nasscom’s Women and IT Scorecard – India, launched in association with UK’s Open University.

The scorecard states that India’s IT sector is recruiting and retaining more women and assigning them more leadership roles. Nasscom estimates that nearly 60 percent of Indian IT firms have 20 percent women at the C-Suite level. Companies reported a 4.5 percent higher proportion of young women aged between 30 and 35 in C-Suite roles than men in the same age group.

On an average, women at this level are more qualified than their male counterparts, with a majority of them holding a Master’s or a PhD degree. There are more women than men in CXO and international roles too.

Nasscom observes that progressive human resource policies viz. conveyance, flexi-work hours, work-from-home, parental leaves, anti-harassment policies, healthcare benefits, and more have contributed to this welcome trend.

Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President, Nasscom, said in a statement,

“It has become conventional wisdom that firms that prioritise gender parity outperform others. It is our collective responsibility to develop women’s career to executive roles for the better of the industry at large.”

Nasscom stressed on the importance of gender-inclusive HR policies that support maternity and shared childcare. These are “critical” for the retention of female talent in the IT sector, it said.

In March 2017, India had passed the Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill, which extended paid maternity leave for women up to 26 weeks from the earlier 12 weeks. This is higher than the global average of 20 weeks, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to World Bank data, women occupy less than a third of India's overall workforce — the lowest among BRICS nations. China is at 64 percent, Brazil at 59 percent, Russia at 57 percent, and South Africa at 45 percent.

Trade body Assocham had stated in a prior report that “lack of flexibility in working conditions tends to dissuade women from joining the labour force as they turn to their domestic duties.”

Hence, it is imperative for a large job-creator like the IT sector to set the right trends that can eventually wipe out the gender disparity in India Inc.

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