A new study finds that India’s women techies are the most committed in the world when it comes to staying in the industry. It’s now up to the industry ready to make sure they can.
A whopping 96 percent of India’s women techies are committed to continue working in technology – the highest in the world. The findings based on a study by Booking.com also found that four out of five women techies from across the world intend to stay on in the industry and are taking the lead towards achieving gender parity.
Both India and China (94 percent) were a surprise given that these numbers are higher than those reported from the US and Europe. According to the report, in India, “Advancement is less of an issue compared with other markets with just 17 percent of respondents believing their potential to progress in tech is limited beyond a point.”
Having said that, Indian women also voiced their discontent with the level of appreciation. “…women in India feel most strongly across all markets surveyed that their contributions and voices are under-appreciated in the tech workplace (42 percent). This figure is more than double the global average (20 percent), pointing to a major issue with workplace culture,” says the report.
In India, women techies often find themselves being the only woman in the room. In an earlier interview with YourStory, Intel India head Nivruti Rai had said, “I have walked into meetings and rooms where I have been perceived as dumb because I have been smartly dressed till the audience realised I am an analogue engineer and can more than talk tech. That’s when they have realised they are wrong. I don’t believe I have to dress grey to show grey.”
The survey findings say that nearly nine in 10 women globally recommend a career in the tech industry to the next generation. According to Gillian Tans, CEO at Booking.com. “There is clearly a thirst and a sense of optimism from women – whether already in the tech industry or hoping to be one day – for the potential that a role in technology can deliver. To move the needle further and achieve true gender parity in the global tech industry, we should be looking to harness this optimism and create a more inclusive culture that attracts and retains talented women.”
Despite diversity and inclusion initiatives, we don’t see as much of it in action. It is high time companies step up their game in diversified hiring and invest more into having an inclusive workforce. How can we support women in tech to realise their dream of continuing and also encourage younger women to join the industry? Here are a few findings from the report.
1)Need for mentors and role models
The report points out that although career progression policies based on merit are important, women techies also need mentors and role models, especially the ones who are visible and accessible. Companies need to showcase, highlight and appreciate the women leaders within the company, so more and more women can relate to their success, and try to script similar stories for themselves.
2) Strength in support
Groups and communities where women can share and learn from each other's experiences are important. The report found that 83 percent of women in tech across the world have an opportunity to improve gender diversity by participating in organisations dedicated to supporting girls. Female undergraduate students need to see great opportunity here. Other important factors include “assurances of equal pay, conducting unconscious bias training in the workplace and offering regular opportunities to upskill”.
3) Weed out unconscious bias
According to a report by McKinsey and LeanIn, very few companies train employees to recognise and push back against bias in hiring and promotions. To be able to call out unconscious bias, organisations need to hold training workshops.
When the HerStory team attended the recent Grace Hopper Celebrations in Bengaluru recently, it was heartwarming to see thousands of women in tech under one roof. While there are enthusiasm and initiatives to advance the careers of women in tech, the challenges they face outweigh the good intent.
Now that women in tech have shown overwhelming intent, the industry too needs to rise to this opportunity; organisations need to walk the talk when it comes to active support. The future needs to support women through initiatives, training, and by addressing the gender gap. The change will have to be real for us to help women in tech realise their dream.
About the Booking.com report: A travel e-commerce company, Booking.com’ s global study aims to uncover the experiences and perceptions of women with careers in tech. The report also sheds light on what women in tech professionals. The research also identifies the actions of female tech professionals and organisations can drive for the women in the industry to further their careers and help drive greater gender equality.