Bridging the gender divide in the tech sector
Gender equality isn’t just a fundamental human right- It’s a cornerstone of a thriving, contemporary economy that promotes sustainable and inclusive growth.
According to a McKinsey report, companies promoting gender diversity perform better, are more profitable, and have more engaged employees. However, the reality is quite different. Despite all the advantages, there is a stark gender divide in the tech sector, and women continue to be underrepresented across tech roles.
Trends indicate that women, by the age of 35, quit their careers. The most likely reason for this trend is that women are tasked with the societal & cultural responsibility of taking care of the family. Multiple industry reports suggest that, although the percentage of women entering the IT field is at par with men, this gender representation decreases at managerial levels and beyond.
Women make up 51% of entry-level recruits, only 25% are in management positions, and less than 1% are in the C-suite level. This is one of the reasons why the IT industry appears to be male-dominated, resulting in fewer women pursuing careers in the industry.
To bridge this gap and help female compatriots find an equal footing in the tech sector, a series of measures, both by the government and the tech companies, is required that promote female participation- not just at the entry level but also at the top level.
How to bridge the gender divide in the tech sector?
Hybrid model: The hybrid working model became even more popular after the pandemic and has proven to be a crucial factor for women re-joining the workforce in India. And why wouldn’t it be? It allows women to work from the comfort of their homes and have a flexible working routine - something that was missing pre-pandemic in the 9-6 world.
A McKinsey report suggests that women's roles were 1.8 times more vulnerable during the pandemic since the housework in India for women almost doubled during the pandemic. This led to a mass exodus of women quitting their corporate jobs.
Recently, the Government of India also said that WFH and hybrid models would be the future of work as far as India is concerned, giving the women workforce a much-needed inclusive push.
Upskilling women: According to reports, women are underskilled compared to men, which worsens matters. The skill gap is also one of the main factors for the lack of women in leadership positions across industries & vertices. And hence, women continue to work in feminised sectors, i.e., beauty and retail, while men continue to claim the top roles in mechanised and technologically advanced sectors.
With new technologies disrupting the digital landscape daily, women must upskill themselves and be adept at using and monetising new-age skills. However, as per the status quo, women fall grossly short.
To bridge this gap, government-backed Skill Transformation Academies need to be established in every city, especially in the hinterlands, and young women need to be encouraged to take part rigorously and keep up with the evolving needs of our tech-driven world.
Awareness: Lastly, people need to be educated about the existing gender disparity in the tech sector. It is a known fact that India is one of the youngest nations globally. If half the youth population is not upskilling itself and not participating in the country’s workforce, then economic growth will be compromised.
According to McKinsey, India can add nearly $770 billion to its GDP in the next three years if it promotes female labour participation. However, without the awareness of what is at cost, it’ll be unrealistic for change to happen anytime soon.
The government must plan marketing and advertising campaigns that encourage people to contribute towards increasing female workforce participation, backed by implementing effective policies that make it easier for citizens to follow through.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan