How women can break the glass ceiling in the world of technology

By Asha Ashok, Engineering Manager, Meesho

Women accounted for 34% of India’s IT sector workforce in 2021. This also, not surprisingly, coincides with the fact that the number of women enrolling in B-Tech programmes has doubled in the last few years given how the IT industry has boomed in recent times. A recent survey by the Ministry of Education of India also revealed that this enrollment has gone up from 8% in 2016 to 19.72% in 2021. While one can argue that the representation of women in C-suite roles is yet to see any significant uptick, there has surely been a gradual shift in the approach of women towards roles that were predominantly led by men.

Organizations these days are also making conscious efforts to create a more gender-diverse workforce, which according to research has proven to accrue multiple benefits for businesses. McKinsey found that gender-diverse organizations have a 48% chance of outperforming companies with the least gender diversity. Moreover, companies with a strong representation of women at the top earn up to 50% higher profits. All this doesn’t even take into account the intangible benefits of a diverse workforce like a variety of new ideas, a range of perspectives, better collaboration and improved talent retention.

Evidently, organizations would serve their interests better by taking concrete steps to boost gender diversity. Initiatives could include mentorship/leadership programmes for women, diversity and inclusion training for all employees, as well as equal access to projects, training and allied resources that can accelerate skill-building.

At the same time, women in the technology industry need to challenge themselves more and develop a growth mindset. Here are a few ways in which they can build a strong profile for themselves:

Skill development via stretch assignments: Stretch assignments are short-term, temporary projects outside an employee’s current role. They are a proven way to grow employees’ skill sets and boost their confidence. Stretch assignments can act as a platform for women to expand their areas of expertise and acquire new skills. It will also make them more confident, empowering them to speak up and voice their opinion during collaborative projects and meetings.

Networking: At a time when it’s imperative to have a personal brand, strong networking has become critical to career growth. Creating a strong personal brand with recall and networking in the right circles will not just expose women to new opportunities but also help them build equity within the company.

Make learning a lifelong mission: Technology is constantly opening up new possibilities and it’s crucial for any employee who wants to move up the ladder to keep learning and building a set of differentiated skills. Various research reports indicate that advanced training leads to greater responsibilities, increased chances of promotion and faster turnaround time at work.

Find a reliable mentor: Role models play a big role in how we map out our careers. Equally important, if not more, is the impact of a mentor – someone who you can really look up to when it comes to knowledge, skills and experience. Women in tech roles would especially benefit from having other women in their corner, who can advise them and advocate for them in tricky situations. And, importantly, pay it forward as you grow to continue the virtuous circle of mentorship.

Stand up and speak your mind: Voicing your opinion is an important quality that one must develop to build visibility. Using your voice to speak on behalf of people you work with and to have the courage to stand up against anything you disagree with are signs of a good leader. Being an extrovert is not a prerequisite for speaking your mind. If history is any indication, then notable leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama have all gone on record to say that they are introverts by nature. Additionally, one’s prejudices about the historically male dominated tech industry shouldn’t stop them from being vocal either.

Making your mark in a male-dominated world may seem daunting, but stepping out of your comfort zone and approaching your career strategically will lead to a resounding success.

meeshoWomen in Technology
Comments (0)
Add Comment