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Namrata Raghunath on succeeding in a techies world

Namrata Raghunath is a Indian Graphic Designer settled in UK. Born and bought up in Chennai, Raghunath has traveled and lived all across the country thanks to the transfer her dad had in his job.  Starting out as an employee at an event management company, she later moved to UK and realized she wanted to be an entrepreneur.Raghunath loves to handle challenging situations and likes to work with clients that push her to find newer and better solutions.

 

Women in the tech industry are rare, especially entrepreneurs, but women like Raghunath are constantly breaking barriers and are emerging as successful businesswomen. Shubhangini Arora spoke to Namrata Raghunath about her profession and her entrepreneurial journey in an interview conducted by SheThePeople.TV. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.

 

Being a graphic designer, what would you say is the best part about your job?

My work helps me meet people from various fields looking for solutions. I love exchanging ideas and exploring numerous possibilities with them, the part I love most though is finding solutions through design. It has helped me evolve as a professional and widened my horizons.

 

 What does it take to be successful in the field of tech?

The challenging thing about technology is that it changes frequently. There has been an exponential change over a short period of time. What is relevant today may cease to be so in a matter of months or even weeks. To be successful,I feel that one needs to be willing to learn and update oneself constantly and imbibe the technological advancements in a seamless manner.

 

The tech sector was supposed to set the benchmark for gender equality at workplace, but it is currently one of the least gender-balanced sectors. Why do you think that’s the case?

The tech sector, as well as many other sectors has seen an increase in women in their work force. Though the increase hasn’t been large or constant enough. This I think is due to societal attitude. It starts at an early age, where there is a severe lack of encouragement for girls to be involved in science and technology with the goal of converting it into a job prospect. Most often than not girls are dissuaded from taking interest in things that are strictly considered male like engineering. It’s this that has slowly but surely created a diminished presence in the field. It creates a vicious circle since the lack of a role models leads to the lack of female followers into the sector.

 

As a tech entrepreneur, what skills, do you think, are most vital for someone to succeed?

Besides having good people and management skills, a tech entrepreneur needs to have a sound understanding of the use of technology toenhance his or her business potential. It does notmatter if you do not have a very high technical background; the most important facet is the ability to leverage technology in a scalable manner to suit your business model.  Another aspect that is also as important is the willingness to learn and adapt.

 

 Sheryl Sandberg has been advocating women in the sector, but at the same time we hear tech giants like Microsoft corp.’s CEO, SatyaNadella make offensive comments. How do you think this impacts women who aspire to work in tech?

Having a strong advocate like Sheryl Sandberg in the arena pushing for more women in the sector and in decision-making positions helps a great deal. The Internet has made voices like hers more audible and has created a positive impact in the work environment. We still have centuries of patriarchal baggage to deal with therefore the results won’t be as immediate as we’d like.  Recent comments by SatyaNadella are representative of this very patriarchy that is imbued in every aspect of our lives. I think the only positive thing from that gaffe is him promising to pursue the gender gap agenda and trying to resolve it. Having a tech giant like Microsoft step to the fore on women’s side, helps push the dialogue for genderequality in the sector.

 

What steps do you think should be taken to advance more women in tech?

Women are a minority in the tech industry at the moment and there are people in positions of power that are realising that nearly 50% of the population is not being given its due share of representation.This drastically affects the diversity and inclusion index to the detriment to their business enhancement. Well for an inclusive attitude to really take root, I think we need to start young and encourage our girls to be involved in areas of science and technology. They need to believe that there is nothing a girl can’t do. Creating more job opportunities for women, followed by equal pay would be the next step. Also providing a support system for mothers and understanding that more often than not women are the primary care givers need to be taken into account. This needs to be provided for so women continue working and don’t have to choose between keeping a job or starting a family.

 

 As a woman in the business, did you face any specific challenges because of your sex?

This sector has been largely male dominated for the longest time. This has coloured most attitudes. I’ve faced the fall outs of this issue by not being as taken seriously over a work matter as a male counter part might be.  More often than not you have to prove your abilities/capabilities more than a man might have to. It’s a stereotype we’re working hard to break.

 

 What do you think are the biggest barriers in the way of women entering the sector?

 The tech sector has been believed to be a stereotypically male arena and that might be at the forefront of the issue. Also, I think the erroneous view that being well qualified in science and technology is the only way to enter the sector may be one of the barriers as well.