India Inc must involve male managers in efforts towards better gender diversity at the workplace, and conversations around unconscious bias can help move the needle, said the chief executive of Anita-B.org, a not-for-profit that advocates for woman technologists.
The technology sector is the second-largest employer of women in India, behind the pharmaceutical and care sector, according to a study earlier this year by Nasscom in partnership with The Open University in the UK. India’s IT-BPM (business process management) industry employs nearly 3.9 million people, of which over 1.3 million are women.
“We can talk about leaning in, stepping up and speaking out, but all these efforts would be incomplete without male employees espousing the cause for their female counterparts,” Brenda Darden Wilkerson said on the sidelines of the Grace Hopper Celebration India conference, held here last week.
India has been doing better with hiring woman techies — in this country almost 34% of the tech workforce is made up of women; in the US, it is 30%, Wilkerson said.
Issues that women face when it comes to diversity include being given the right kinds of assignments for better career progression, balancing work responsibilities with familial duties, and having appropriate mentorship, she told ET. “In recent years, companies in India are doing better at addressing these.”
The Grace Hopper conference is organised by Palo Alto, California-based AnitaB.org, formerly known as the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.
This year, more than 3,700 people attended the conference, which was launched in 2010, said Geetha Kannan, managing director of AnitaB.org India.
Over the next year or so, leaders from Adobe, Microsoft, ThoughtWorks, Intuit and other organisations will share best practices with attendees on building gender diversity among all levels of the workforce. “As technology becomes more pervasive, the need to have more and more women in technology creation is a business imperative, as women are not only critical in technology development but also endusers and customers of technology,” said Kannan. Technology companies need to step up and view women not just as consumers, but also creators of the technology that drives industry, she said.
Source: Economic Times