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Women Leading the Charge: Insights from Women Leaders for an Inclusive Tech Industry

Today, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2024, the theme rings loud and clear: #InspireInclusion. As we strive for a world where gender equality reigns, the tech industry – a sector shaping our future – needs diverse voices and perspectives at the forefront.

In this spirit, we turn to some of the most prominent women leaders in the tech industry. These inspiring women leaders have shared their insights, experiences, and advice for their peers, to foster a dialogue that pushes for a more inclusive and equitable tech landscape.

Their stories and perspectives are more relevant than ever. Imagine a world where female leadership is not just celebrated, but fully embraced. A world where tech companies actively invest in fostering diverse talent pipelines. A world where women can thrive and contribute their brilliance without facing limitations based on gender.

Let’s delve into the wisdom of these remarkable women leaders.


Anita Kukreja, Head – Strategic Alliances & Brand, IceWarp India

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, let’s embrace the power of unity and inclusion in shaping a world where every woman’s voice is heard, every dream is nurtured, and every opportunity is within reach. Together, let’s forge pathways of empowerment and resilience, breaking barriers and redefining norms. Let this day serve as a reminder of the remarkable strength and potential inherent in every woman. As Head of Strategic Alliances & Brand at IceWarp India, I am proud to stand alongside incredible women everywhere, driving progress and shaping a future where equality and opportunity flourish.”

 


Smriti Mathur, Vice President of People India & Global Talent Advisory, Pega India

For this International Women’s Day themed ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ the tech industry reflects on the strides made in women’s inclusion at workplaces. Recognizing diverse perspectives, the tech industry today emphasizes leaders’ pivotal role in driving innovation, where gender diversity is not just moral but strategic for competitiveness and innovation. Today, technology has empowered us to dismantle physical barriers, paving the way for equity in the workspace. Yet, it is the cultivation of a culture of mindful inclusion and belonging that truly propels an organization towards its full potential and success.”

At Pega, Inclusion is a core value for our products and people. We prioritize building a culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belongingness where people thrive. This includes creating equal opportunities for our diverse workforce. Identifying role models and mentors that can enable you to upskill and grow. Creating safe spaces and employee resource groups that encourage you to share your learnings and experiences as you bring your authentic self to work. We also believe in recognizing our allies who champion and equip others in this journey.

As women leaders, we must serve as allies, inspiring other women to pursue leadership positions and fostering a work environment that recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates them.”


Vidya Munirathnam, Vice President – Human Resources, Lowe’s India

Investing in women and cultivating their path toward accelerated career growth must transcend mere diversity agendas; it is a strategic imperative for progress. At Lowe’s India, we prioritize equity over equality as it’s not just about levelling the playing field; it’s about reshaping it entirely, creating a landscape where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive. We take deliberate action at all stages of a woman’s career lifecycle.

By partnering with women-only institutes, we welcome a balanced pool of young talent – almost 60% of the campus hires joining us in 2023 were women. For our women associates and leaders, including high-potential associates, we offer a range of avenues to upskill, navigate and elevate their careers. In 2023, we increased our women officers (VPs) from 20% to 40%. With programs such as Bring-Her-Back and Do-It-Herself, we ensure we provide the right platform for successful maternity returns and career reintegration of those returning from career breaks, respectively.

We focus on programs like “Elevate Your Influence,” and “Women Leadership Summit” aimed at connecting, inspiring and nurturing women leaders. Finally, by fortifying our foundational practices including workplace flexibility, strengthening our women Business Resource Group, sensitivity trainings, mentorship etc., we ensure women feel safe, heard and inspired to lead at our workplace. Today, a significant number of functions at Lowe’s India are led by women leaders- a culture that trickles from our global organization. These proactive efforts reflect in our improving gender ratio year-on-year and through multiple accolades as a great place to work for women.”


Natasha Rock, Geo Alliances Lead – GSI, EMEA GoTo

Breaking the glass ceiling is not just an individual triumph but a response to the structural disparities in career advancements, where women encounter barriers at entry levels. According to NASSCOM, despite women constituting 36% of India’s tech workforce, the proportion significantly declines higher up the corporate ladder. The ascent to leadership necessitates identifying mentors who can help navigate hierarchical barriers and consistent self-advocacy. An NBER paper reveals that women tend to undervalue their performance, despite achieving similar scores as men. Therefore, being one’s own self-advocate is a pivotal challenge in this journey to the top. Leaders within the organization play a key role in facilitating this culture. When you consider the correlation between leaders who deliver better business success with high levels of emotional intelligence, it makes a great case for gender equality. Women inherently possess exceptional leadership skills—listening, mentoring, emotional intelligence, and creativity. For companies, success lies in recognizing and rewarding emotional intelligence, adopting transparent recruitment processes, and prioritizing competence over confidence.

In 2024, women find themselves in a much-improved position; gender diversity is now a recognized concept, and companies are increasingly open to implementing change. This Women’s Day, as we navigate a more evolved work environment, it is critical for us to inspire inclusion by demanding for inclusive practices, creating a robust ecosystem that genuinely empowers women.”


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

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we acknowledge the significant strides made by women in breaking the glass ceiling, particularly in the tech and surveillance industries. Studies consistently affirm that diverse teams lead to better decision-making, increased productivity, and enhanced creativity. Organizations can enable a more equitable society by advocating gender diversity and empowering women in the modern workforce, thereby unlocking the industry’s full potential to drive innovation and progress globally. At Axis Communications, we cultivate a culture grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion, celebrating the remarkable achievements of women who have defied norms and forged their paths in the industry. With a 40:60 ratio of women to men across South Asia Pacific, Axis Communications prioritizes diversity and inclusion, recognizing its critical role in fostering innovation and success. Through collaborations with esteemed partners like MINE and our steadfast support of initiatives such as Security LeadHER, we actively champion diversity within our workplace and beyond.

Today, let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a world where women are welcomed, valued, and empowered to thrive. Together, we can envision a future where gender equality is not an aspiration but a tangible reality. By providing women with the opportunity to break down barriers and reach their full potential in the workplace, we can help build a more prosperous and inclusive society.”


Twastree Chakravarty, Digital Business Leader – Marketing, Altimetrik

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, the significance of today lies in the seismic shifts propelled by women across diverse industries. As a woman leader navigating the currents of the industry, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of diversity and inclusion. Women are actively seeking avenues that empower them to flourish in their professional pursuits. It is imperative for organizations to cultivate environments not only inclusive but also devoid of biases of any form. While equal opportunities are a crucial step, true inclusion requires a deeper understanding of ‘Intersectionality,’ acknowledging the unique circumstances of each individual. This means the implementation of comprehensive programs, mentorship initiatives and continuous learning and training. A reliable approach to achieving better gender ratios involves prioritizing women’s career progression across all levels.

At Altimetrik, we are at the forefront of this revolution, propelled by our conviction that diversity ignites innovation. Through initiatives such as WINGS, MentHerUp, and EmpowerHER, we extend tailored mentorship to nurture the professional and personal growth trajectory of women. Our commitment stands resolute as we stride forward, driving change and shaping an industry that thrives on inclusion and equality.”


Bharathy Venkataraman, Director, Delivery Excellence, Mindsprint

Accepting and valuing women’s involvement in professional domains, especially in the IT sector, goes beyond diversity. Today, we stand at a juncture where companies recognize the changing norms and are reflecting the same in their culture.

However, to propel in the right direction, we must move beyond the ‘quantity of diversity’ in the boardroom and actively champion true inclusion, where ‘the quality of outcomes’ is the focus. Transparent hiring, robust upskilling programs, and mentorship are crucial. As we celebrate Women’s Day, let’s acknowledge the journey, address challenges, and create a future where inclusion isn’t just a buzzword but an inherent part of the tech ecosystem.”


Suvarna Nikam, Global HR Head, Visionet

“On this International Women’s Day under the resonating theme of #InspireInclusion, it’s paramount to acknowledge the remarkable strides women have made worldwide and underscore the importance of “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”. Women are not merely participants; they are catalysts for change and innovation, and inclusion is at the core of this. Inclusion strengthens voices and opportunities, fostering an environment where equality, belongingness and diversity thrives.

At Visionet, we stand at the forefront of this transformative journey with our WOV -Women of Visionet – community which embodies our unwavering commitment to empower and uplift our female workforce.
This platform is equipped with exciting learning programs, community engagement and a global mentorship network that enables them to navigate the unique complexities and thrive.

As the Global HR Head of Visionet, I am privileged be part of this revolution and witness firsthand how the entire organization and male allies have come together to foster a culture where women are groomed as leaders of tomorrow, learning continuously, effectively integrating their work and life, driving progress, and shaping the future of work.”

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