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International Women’s Day: Hear what leaders have to say

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, here are some quotes from  IT leaders:

Sindhu Gangadharan SVP & MD, SAP Labs India and Head, SAP User Enablement

Over the last two decades, some brilliant female technologists, visionaries, and product leaders have created disruptive solutions and have changed the narrative for young girls who aspire to pursue a career in tech. Additionally, forward-looking organizations are embracing Hybrid Work or Flex Work, which provides an even better opportunity to address the skewed gender ratio in the workplaces. Leaders are finally realizing that I&D is no longer just the right thing to do; it is a business decision that has a direct impact on the bottom line of the organization because diverse teams are better positioned to unlock innovation driving market growth and enabling nonlinear novel thinking. This year’s theme of DigitALL is again an opportunity for organisations to empower millions in a deeply polarized world.

At SAP, we believe a sustainable future requires the development of integrated and transformative technologies along with easy-access to digital training. We have in place targeted intervention amongst young women towards building employable and future IT Skills and workforce readiness. Our goal is to equip them with advanced career training in topics viz., data science, cloud computing, AI, Machine Learning and programming languages; provide them mentorship on how to build a career with IT industry and prepare them for future skills. We invest into building, strengthening and supporting every important milestone or career development and holistic growth for women, to ensure that they can build a success career. Some of our STEM-related skilling initiatives include Code Unnati, Nanhi Kali, and Tech Saksham to name a few

Monica Tomar, Regional Marketing Manager, South Asia Pacific, Axis Communications

Women’s representation in tech is important from a diversity and equity standpoint, and equally crucial for building an inclusive and innovative digital future. Despite efforts to close the gender gap in STEM fields, there is still a dominant perception of these careers being male dominated. Therefore it becomes important for businesses and organizations to continue their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This can include initiatives such as mentorship programs, leadership development programs, and outreach efforts to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM. Additionally, imbibing a gender inclusive culture in tech can have positive effects on the broader economy. Several studies have shown that companies with more diverse teams tend to be more profitable and innovative, as they are better equipped to understand and meet the needs of their customers.

At Axis Communications, we currently have a 40:60 ratio of women to men across South Asia Pacific. We are very proud of this diversity and we continue to work hard to challenge the status quo to bring about a positive transformation in terms of women representation in the surveillance sector.

Harshvendra Soin, Global Chief People Officer & Head – Marketing, Tech Mahindra

Every year on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day to honor the numerous sacrifices, struggles, and successes of women throughout history. While women and people of all genders are consciously defying stereotypes and are actively contributing to break barriers, I truly believe that we have a long road ahead in overcoming conscious and unconscious biases. Having said that, we can all come together to bridge the gap by being supportive allies and creating a sense of, not just inclusion, but belonging at work for women.

While our quest of creating a diverse, equal, and inclusive world will take time, what we can collectively do today and each following day is to sow the seeds of change that will bear fruit in the future. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I urge every woman to stay true to their purpose, stand tall, and march ahead to lead the world and bring about a positive change.

Subhashini Ponnappa, Head HR & Administration, 75F, APAC region
Women are important societal pillars that are crucial in paving the way for constructive change. Despite facing significant barriers, they have been making incredible strides in the fields of science and technology and other unconventional sectors.

Even though women have begun challenging the status quo by entering the otherwise male dominated industries, the percentage of women assuming leadership positions, especially in fields like IT, is very small. According to Entelo’s Quantifying the Gender Gap” report, women hold just 10% of executive roles and 16% of high-level IT employment. However, as time progresses, women are seen to continue their unwavering pursuit of gender equality through their sheer grit and resilience.

We, at 75F, firmly believe that women are one of the crucial building blocks of all our big achievements. At 75F, we endeavour to include as many women as possible and ensure enhancing their skills in developing a culture that accords them respect and equal opportunities to progress in their professional lives. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate their outstanding accomplishments across the world and in our industry.

Sqn Ldr Dimple Rawat (Retd), Director HR at Barco India
As more and more women make their mark in technology, we have also seen remarkable growth in the innovation quotient, leading to better and more advanced solutions and output. The Indian IT industry has shown tremendous improvement in bridging the gender gap and empowering women in technology. Gender parity remains essential to a resilient future, and there is a strong need to provide adequate mentorship and equal opportunities to women in the global STEM ecosystem.

Moreover, organizations need to implement a consistent strategic approach to strengthen equality and foster an appropriate ecosystem with policies aimed at enhancing women’s career paths and unlocking innovative upskilling possibilities and technology-based education, starting at the grassroots.

Rituparna Mandal, General Manager, MediaTek Bangalore
According to the UN, more women in the technology space results in more advanced solutions and has greater potential for innovations that promote gender equality. It is imperative that the global STEM ecosystem step up and provide women and girls with innovative upskilling opportunities and technology-based education, starting from the grassroots, to unlock a sustainable future for the planet and humankind.

Additionally, organizations need to deploy a strategic and continuous approach to strengthen equality and equity by creating appropriate ecosystems and policies to grow their career path and to assist them in building long-term careers in tech.

Vaishnavi Shukla, HR Head, Comviva
With the wave of digital transformation across sectors, it is also crucial to bridge the digital gender divide and create a future that is inclusive and equitable for all. The past few years have magnified the existing gender digital gap, but it has also presented an opportunity to accelerate our efforts towards digital as well as financial inclusion for women, enabling them to achieve their maximum potential.

As women leaders, I believe it is our responsibility to advocate for policies and initiatives that will help close this gap and guarantee equal access to education, training, and job opportunities. We need to find more ‘STEM girls next door’ and encourage them to innovate, fail and most importantly, fuel the growth mindset. The government and policymakers can help address this issue by investing in digital infrastructure and skill development and promoting gender equality. Let’s aim to work together to create a world where diversity and innovation are encouraged and where all women have equal access to technology. We at Comviva have a strong culture of encouraging growth mindset and challenge the stereotypes. We believe that inclusiveness is the only path to sustained success.”

Niroopa Padmanabhan – Vice President Design, Smartworks
Women are breaking gender stereotypes and stepping into this sector, which was once perceived as male-dominated. But that’s not the case anymore; there is a change in perception, and the unwavering determination, hard work, and honed talent have pushed the influx of women upwards in real estate in the last few years. The hiring conversations have moved from gender to experience and meritocracy. From entry-level or mid-manager roles, women today lead functions such as Sales, all-men-led Operations teams, Projects, and more.

Leading a team of 50+ people have its challenges, but when you know you are trusted and supported by the higher-ups, it makes all the difference- showcases that your skills and perspectives are recognized.

What’s worked well for me over the years is my continued investment in reskilling and upskilling, keeping up with the trends and industry updates. The organization has been instrumental in my growth by providing me with the resources and opportunities to grow, such as leadership training, involvement in key projects, mentoring, and networking opportunities

Roopa Raj, Vice President, Head of IT, APJ and Global Head of Engineering, Saas Transformation at VMware

I #EmbraceEquity by creating a more diverse workforce and driving innovation and growth opportunities for women. To me, diversity, and inclusion (D&I) are not just buzzwords, but a source of motivation and empowerment. I am fortunate to be part of VMware, an organization that places utmost importance on providing a diverse and inclusive environment. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Embrace Equity,” emphasizes that although the ultimate goal is equality, the means to achieve it should be through equity. This involves taking the time and effort to understand the unique needs and aspirations of each individual, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, which is often the easier option. By providing an environment that is most suitable for each person to thrive, organizations can cultivate not only a robust workforce but also a happy and fulfilled one. As a leader, I believe that it is our responsibility to create an equitable workplace that promotes fairness, growth, and development for everyone. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we can unlock the full potential of our workforce, and drive innovation and success in our industry. I am committed to fostering a content and fulfilled workforce and will continue to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives that support our employees and drive VMware’s success

Anuroopa Pereira, Director – Marketing Communications, Sabre India

#EmbraceEquity is a theme that I’ve put to practice all my life. I believe I should be treated with respect, kindness & fairness, and I think the rest of the world is no different. When we genuinely care and can show that in our actions – individuals respond with equal fervor. We can #EmbraceEquity within our own circles of influence and build a world where there is equity at every level for every individual. Right from providing our colleagues, peers, and teams with opportunities, skills, and mentoring, to trying new & different things at work – to ourselves being open to the same, the prospects are many. But a certain amount of courage is required to challenge the status quo and bring in positive change

Ramya Parashar, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board Member, MiQ

On this International Women’s Day, as we observe the theme adopted by the United Nations, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” it reminds us of the immense potential technology holds in advancing women’s empowerment regardless of location and socioeconomic background.

In my opinion, women now have access to a wider range of job opportunities, including some traditionally male-dominated roles, as companies are offering remote work options, flexible working hours, and online courses and training programs so women can develop new skills that can help them find better job opportunities. With improved technology women have easy access to financial services such as mobile banking and online payment systems that give them greater control over their finances. Even when it comes to healthcare, technology as bridged the access gap especially in remote areas with the help of telemedicine and mobile health apps, that remove the traditional barriers of infrastructure and geography. Additionally, technology can also make women feel safer in public places with the help of GPS enabled devices that can be used to track the location of women in distress. We are now creating new opportunities for women to break down barriers and succeed in their careers by creating more flexible and inclusive work environments. Gender equality defines development, and we should stand together and celebrate the progress we have made so far, but also look ahead at how to keep the momentum going

Rajul Sood, Senior Director, Lending Services, Acuity Knowledge Partners

Gender equity is being fair and respectful to all, irrespective of gender. It is about giving similar opportunities, roles, challenges, recognition and most importantly a good working environment to men, women and all gender identities. Gender equity is not about a particular gender, it is about seeing equity and diversity without associating it with any gender.

It’s time we embrace the uniqueness of every individual and respect the difference that makes them unique. Equality, Equity and Diversity- all should naturally exist and not something we should struggle to achieve. It’s a shared responsibility and is only possible if everyone embraces it and believes in it.

Today, believing in equity and embracing diversity is imperative for the success of teams and organizations. Gender equity fosters creativity, innovation and endless possibilities for success. Gender equity is critical because collective minds with unbiased thinking bring out the best in people and help them make better decisions. It unites teams, empowers them and improves employee retention. It makes a huge positive impact on organizations. # Gender Equity should not be optional, instead should be a part of an organization’s mission, values, culture and policies. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s a smart thing to do

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