The tech industry is in a constant state of innovation where creating, following and redefining trends is an integral part of the corporate strategy. In the last decade, the industry has experienced rapid market transitions, resulting in an exponential increase in the demand for talent, and in the process it has created a platform for more women in technology.
Gender diversity numbers in the tech industry are improving for the better as boardrooms across the country are now looking at it from a more strategic perspective, rather than just a norm to keep up with. There is also growing confidence amongst organisations that diverse teams simply deliver better results, and in turn, multiply business growth.
However, we have only scratched the surface so far and a lot more needs to be done in terms of further improving the gender balance at the workplace. It’s about creating an organisational culture that supports and contributes to the growth of its women employees. This requires a deeper change in the mindset and culture across the industry.
The impact of diversity
We often overlook the fact that in most industries, women comprise a significant portion of the user-base. With more organisations understanding that it is the end- customer that drives the narrative, the need for a diverse perspective has become more important than ever before. Therefore, having more women in the workforce is important, in order to understand these users and adapt their products and services accordingly.
Reports suggest that India has the potential to increase its GDP by enabling more women to participate in the economy at par with men. While this not only has the potential to propel India’s economy, it will also prove to be a significant move in inspiring more organisations and their people to start thinking about the relevance of a diverse workplace.
India Inc. in this aspect has started taking the lead in designing women-friendly work cultures by heavily investing in attracting and retaining more women to the workforce. Many of these changes are being implemented across all stages of the hiring cycle. Right from making job descriptions gender-neutral and creating diverse interview panels, to offering flexible work hours and work-from-home options, tech companies are gearing up to make women feel welcome at the workplace and creating revolutionary diversity & inclusion (D&I) initiatives.
Propagating an inclusive and unbiased work culture
A lot of companies today proudly talk about being an ‘equal opportunity employer’. However, there are many companies that need to truly start living by this mantra and alter their approach towards hiring more diverse talent. Even in the tech industry, there is still scope for companies to be more welcoming towards women through the hiring process and finally at the workplace. But things are changing.
To give you a personal example, when my current employer approached me for a role, I was in my third trimester. The hiring manager and the recruitment team was well aware of my pregnancy and understood that I’d need to go on maternity leave within weeks of joining. However, it was a very strong indication by the company that they are hiring for the capabilities and that is the only criteria that mattered.
This experience not only changed my perspective towards tech companies in India but also made me believe that this is probably the best time to be ‘women in tech’.
This approach not only brings about a positive reassurance but also instills motivation, loyalty and optimism amongst all employees. Cultivating an open culture where employees have the freedom to give and take feedback transparently is also a crucial factor in creating a work environment which is unbiased and doesn’t lack in empathy.
How can true success be achieved? For women, the answer is clear – An equal opportunity to contribute to the company’s growth and working with inspiring people in a supportive environment. This International Women’s Day, as we discover our role in the #BalanceforBetter equation, we need to work towards building a world of balance.
Views are personal. The author is director, program management at Uber