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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, The Tech Panda spoke to these women in tech, who are changing the perception of women in corporate positions while pushing up against the glass ceiling.

Women have been entering the IT industry at a rapid rate in India in the past decade. According to data from JobsForHer, an online career platform for women, close to 50% of the total number of jobs posted on the platform is for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) roles, an increase from 35% in pre-pandemic 2019. 2021 saw women in blockchain technology increase to 12% from an earlier count of 8%.


Read more: Women in business: Challenges in the modern world of business


451 Research, a technology industry research firm, says women now comprise 34% of the IT workforce in India. While these stats indicate a rising trend in women’s participation in the technology industry in India, the challenge still remains in retaining gender diversity through into middle management and leadership roles.

There is much an organisation can do to encourage women to opt for STEM as well as retain that talent. For example, in February, Progress, an infrastructure software provider, announced  the Progress Software Akanksha Scholarship for Women in STEM in India as part of the larger Women in STEM scholarship series, supporting women’s professional development in computer science, software engineering IT, and/or computer information systems in Bulgaria, India and the US.

Organisations can offer skilling, mentorship, and networking initiatives. They also need to build cohesive workplace policies, environment and work culture, to retain women especially in senior leadership positions.

The future belongs to organisations that will embrace diverse and new ways of thinking. And the sooner organisations realize this, the quicker they will grow.

The Tech Panda spoke to several women leaders in tech about their experiences, future expectations, and lessons learnt so far.

Jyoti Chaudhary, Salesforce India Practice Head, Altimetrik

2021-2022: The challenges

“The biggest lesson that all of us have learnt in the past year is that we aren’t tied to a physical office location to get our work done or achieve our goals. Organisations have been able to trust their employees and provide a more output-based evaluation rather than believing to be more productive while being at office premises only. This has opened doors for many women who took a break due to family situation and preferred a completely remote opportunity.

The biggest lesson that all of us have learnt in the past year is that we aren’t tied to a physical office location to get our work done or achieve our goals

“Moving into 2022, I believe work from home and flexibility due to the pandemic is likely to continue. Over the last two years, this has helped women manage personal, work, and family commitments, though it presents its own set of challenges that no-one was prepared for earlier. With complete work from home transition, you must learn to balance work and personal lives and it is very necessary to make time for ourselves for healthy mental well-being too.”

Expectations from 2022

“Women empowering other women can really make the difference in staying relevant and growing in leadership positions in the tech industry. With the pandemic situation and everyone learning the new ways of living and working, 2022 must see an increased representation of women in the workforce with flexible working options, hybrid model and access to remote infrastructure.

With the pandemic situation and everyone learning the new ways of living and working, 2022 must see an increased representation of women in the workforce with flexible working options, hybrid model and access to remote infrastructure

 “This has opened up several opportunities for women, especially those who are not a part of the workforce because of family commitments. It’s now easy for women to work from the comfort of their homes, without having to uproot their lives.”

Lessons Learnt

“During the course of my professional life, few key lessons I learnt and impart to other women leaders are:

  • Find your mentor. I have been very fortunate to have mentors who encourage me to dream big and help in achieving them. Challenges are the biggest opportunities that will help you learn and grow. Never let go of an opportunity for the fear of failure. Don’t just state problems; come up with possible solutions when you are projecting a problem.
  • Define your own brand and build it step by step. It is important to celebrate failures as much as you celebrate successes. Become a role model for future women leaders and inspire them to grow.
  • Stay relevant, stay focused.
  • Lastly be passionate and confident of your abilities.”

Ashwini Moni, Senior Manager, People Business Partners, Progress

2021-2022: The challenges

“I think 2021 will be etched in our memories forever. To say it has been challenging for me only would be unfair as I think we collectively faced the raging pandemic situation which affected our personal and professional lives to such a large extent.

“I joined Progress towards the end of 2020 and went through my first virtual onboarding. For the first time in my 20+ years of experience, I haven’t met any of my colleagues in person. I had concerns about how I was going to perform virtually, establish my connections with the others, understand the nuances of this new place and perform as expected.

For the first time in my 20+ years of experience, I haven’t met any of my colleagues in person. I had concerns about how I was going to perform virtually, establish my connections with the others, understand the nuances of this new place and perform as expected

“In my role as People Business Partner, it’s important for me to be in touch with the business people, discuss various aspects and topics from an HR perspective and find solutions. Many a times in my experience, casual conversation over “chai” would also lead to a lot of knowledge sharing and would have rich takeaways. This informal, in-person communication doesn’t exist anymore, and I had to adjust to the new virtual reality. Today I am settled and comfortable and while I miss the office environment and camaraderie, I am now used to WFH. I strongly believe in being flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.”

Expectations from 2022

“My expectations are that more and more organizations would start establishing shared or satellite offices in cities where they have a concentration of their workforce. While WFH is the new norm, making the best of both worlds – in-person and virtual – would bring positive change.

The work environment is changing around us at a very fast pace, and we should be able to provide our people with flexible opportunities to work productively

“Sometimes people need a physical place to gather and collaborate with their colleagues. Face-to-face communication hasn’t disappeared. The work environment is changing around us at a very fast pace, and we should be able to provide our people with flexible opportunities to work productively.

“With these changes happening, it’s important that all of us constantly follow the latest trends in our professional areas and make sure we are on the top of the game and prepared for what tomorrow might bring. In 2022, I’m planning to invest more time in my professional development.”

Lessons Learnt

“This is something I keep telling myself: “As cliched as it might sound, we as women need to work on making our voices heard, speak up, create our identity and chase our goals and aspirations. Don’t give up halfway.”

The work world is opening up in all spheres and women have a lot of opportunities to move up in in their careers. It’s up to each of us to seize these opportunities

“The work world is opening up in all spheres and women have a lot of opportunities to move up in in their careers. It’s up to each of us to seize these opportunities. I’d advise women to excel at what they do and be competitive in a healthy way. Don’t forget that sometimes the competition is looking at you in the mirror. Personally, I believe in competing with myself as it helps me to focus and aim for things which I never ever thought I could do.”

Rashi Srivastava, Chief Digital Officer, Qentelli

2021-2022: The challenges

“2021 was an incredible year. Despite Covid being a challenge, we logged growth and certainly emerged stronger. A career in tech is challenging yet exciting. The tech world is fast-paced, and here, things that were once innovative can turn obsolete within the blink of an eye.

Diversity brings a broader range of skills, expertise, and ideas that helps in creating these optimal solutions

“To build a future-proof solution, the deployment of a diverse pool of talent is essential. Technocrats from different fields come together to build a dynamic product and an optimal solution. Diversity brings a broader range of skills, expertise, and ideas that helps in creating these optimal solutions. However, despite diversity being a subject of interest for years, it is disheartening to see a lack of women representation in the IT workforce.

“Tech has a lot to offer to women and career prospects are steadily expanding for them. Female techies have different experiences, skills, and perspectives to add, yet their underrepresentation is sad. Gender diversity has been on the table for a long time, but the numbers are nowhere near where they should be.”

Expectations from 2022

“Although stats are underwhelming, I’m optimistic that women’s representation will improve. With better organisational policies and cutting-edge companies taking measures to establish a gender-neutral space, we will see more women pursuing a career in the technology sector.

There is a visible shift in the inherent perception towards female techies, and organisations are creating more opportunities for women to upskill and build a fulfilling career in tech

“There is significant growth in the number of women working in IT roles and more women are taking up leadership roles. Organisations are extending benefits like flexibility, Work from Home, and offering impressive retention offers to women.

“Moreover, there is a visible shift in the inherent perception towards female techies, and organisations are creating more opportunities for women to upskill and build a fulfilling career in tech. I believe these amendments and mindset reboots will play a vital role in establishing gender-neutral workspaces.”

Lessons Learnt

“You own your career. It’s high time women should take charge of their lives and not succumb to someone else’s norms.

You own your career

“Women need to make decisions that best align with their goals and follow them with conviction. Tech has a lot to offer to women, and nothing should be holding them from exploring these endless possibilities.”

Juhi Hajela, Vice President Global Marketing, now.gg

2021-2022: The challenges

“I am leading a global marketing team at now.gg and 2021 has been great for me. The leadership team within marketing has 72% women leaders across multiple geographies. This brings in diverse viewpoints and different ways of working and is a win-win situation for us as we all get to learn from different styles of working.

I am extremely excited to see many women in the new tech areas of web 3.0

“At a wider industry level, I am extremely excited to see many women in the new tech areas of web 3.0 (crypto, NFTS, blockchain). There are many Twitter handles by women for these areas, and I have also seen a few Twitter spaces on web 3.0 led by women.”

Expectations from 2022

“While women are doing a lot in their personal capacity there continues to be a gap at an institutional level – e.g., with little representation of women in tech forums that remain largely manels. I am fortunate to be working for a progressive company with great diversity at the leadership level, but this is not true universally. I hope to see a change at an institutional level in 2022 and beyond.”

Lessons Learnt

“I have been working in tech for over two decades and have seen various stages of the ‘tech bro’ culture. I tell young women in tech that we should adapt the narrative that ‘apna time aa gaya’ – believe in it and continue to stick to our guns and forge ahead.

I tell young women in tech that we should adapt the narrative that ‘apna time aa gaya’ – believe in it and continue to stick to our guns and forge ahead

“Look for women mentors and women VCs, keep in touch with your women batchmates from college and previous companies, extend helping hands to other women. They will face challenges (e.g., in tech startups, women founders are known to find it difficult to get funding as compared to their male counterparts) and they must continue to forge ahead. This is the only way things will gradually become easier for the next generation of women in tech.”

Priyadarshini Nigam, Director & Head of CSR, Newgen Software

2021-2022: The challenges

“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic became a test of leadership and character for many leaders worldwide, including myself. When we started our CSR initiatives many years ago, we had a vision of making a positive impact in the community.

2021 was a year that has taught me to become more flexible to adapt to any unprecedented situation

“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged our ability to sustain our initiatives. Our CSR programs shifted online during that time, and in 2021, I witnessed the positive outcome of our beneficiaries as schools started to open. 2021 was a year that has taught me to become more flexible to adapt to any unprecedented situation. Whether big or small, challenges have driven me as a women entrepreneur to introduce a new perspective, capture new opportunities, and welcome more women entrepreneurs to take a seat on the table.”

Expectations from 2022

“A lot has happened in the last two years. We witnessed major developments towards equality and have seen more organizations commit their stances to inclusion, equality, and diversity. I think it is so great to see the progress women are making in today’s business environment. As organisations and employees are shifting towards more people-centric business models, I think the construction of leadership will evolve. Rather than a competition for power, leaders will advocate for purpose, and that is where women will excel.

Rather than a competition for power, leaders will advocate for purpose, and that is where women will excel

“I would also like to add another 2022 expectation. I can say that we all shared a certain experience over the last two years that has driven us to really think about what we want in our lives and from our careers. More than ever, women are empowered to bring that change in their own lives. This year, I believe that we will get the opportunity to witness more women moving from their present roles and taking on entrepreneurship. Overall, the future looks promising not just for women but even for men and children.”

Lessons Learnt

“The biggest lesson I learned through my journey is to adopt a learning attitude. You cannot succeed if you are not willing to learn. Learning can help you stay adaptable, humble, and open to new ideas and perspectives.

Obstacles and challenges can be unique for a woman, and tenacity is critical

“Another piece of advice I would like to share is that it is important to get out of your comfort zone. This can help you develop new skills, enhance your problem-solving abilities and achieve your objectives. And my final advice for women entrepreneurs is to be tenacious. Obstacles and challenges can be unique for a woman, and tenacity is critical.”

Poornima Seetharaman, Director of Design, Zynga

2021-2022: The challenges

“For me, 2021 has been a great year and I’m also thankful to be a part of an organisation like Zynga where diversity is taken up more seriously. Gaming and tech are still considered more male aligned and because of that you will see fewer women in this domain. And this creates a bit of a chicken egg problem when we are looking to grow more women in tech.

Issues like being considered as a strong candidate for roles that have historically been driven by male counterparts are still some of the challenges women in tech face

“Issues like being considered as a strong candidate for roles that have historically been driven by male counterparts are still some of the challenges women in tech face, besides the other gender related ones.”

Expectations from 2022

“The silver lining from the pandemic is that today a remote or hybrid workplace model is a reality that doesn’t affect deliverables or efficiency (at least for a good number of software based setups). In 2022, I’m hoping that this enables more women to join the gaming and tech industry as it has become way more accessible even with any of their domestic responsibilities.”

Lessons Learnt

“I’ve learnt that if you continue to stand your ground and pursue your truth, no matter what, it will happen. There could be delays or hurdles or sometimes the end result may not directly benefit you, but it will definitely help the next person in line. I’ve also learnt that you have to be in the system to change the system, at least for as long as you can.

Courage, passion and determination are the three things that will keep you going. You are who you are, and it doesn’t change because of someone else’s perception of you

“Courage, passion and determination are the three things that will keep you going. You are who you are, and it doesn’t change because of someone else’s perception of you. And always remember that you are not alone in this. There are well meaning people, your allies, all around you. Do not hesitate to ask for help.”


Read more: Women in Business 2022: New leadership in a post-pandemic hybrid & teched up ecosystem


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