Women in Tech: Challenges they Face in a Male-dominated Industry

While many parents in India want their daughters to take up fields such as Science, technology and engineering, they often don’t realise that some of these fields remain highly male-dominated. Women at workplace face a lot of challenges like performance pressures, sexual harassment, difficulty in moving up in their company, people doubting their competence, and lack of support from team members.  The man to woman ratio in IT companies, especially in Bangalore, is a healthy number – many other cities still have a very skewed ratio, where the majority of employees are men.

Companies like Infosys, TCS and Capgemini are becoming aware of the Gender Imbalance and doing their part by hiring more women, however, there are still a lot of issues that need resolving.

The one big issue is the gender pay gap. In India, men earn 67% more than what their women counterpart earns.

Priya Jeswal* is an HR executive in an IT company in Bangalore, she told us that gender pay gap does exist. She also said that the most common challenge faced by women is dealing with their male bosses, “A lot of women employees don’t agree with their bosses, this causes a lot of concern with them and they come to the HR to try and solve this. Sometimes their bosses put too much pressure on them as compared to the other male employees and women find this as a bias.”

Dhamini Poornachandra, a 24-year-old working as a software engineer for an IT start-up in Bangalore for the last two years tells us, “I joined a start-up right out of college. The only challenge I face is that sometimes we have to put really forget about everything else and only think about work and also the hours are not the best. Sometimes, we have to stay back at work and leave much later. In start-ups there is no consideration whether it is a woman or a man working late, everyone is equal.”

Another challenge that women face in all industries and all workplaces is sexual harassment.

That is a fair point, in fact, that is what feminists always want – that a woman and a man should be treated equally. However, with the rising cases of violence against women, there have been laws put across, where women aren’t allowed to work beyond a certain time at night.

Talking about violence against women, another challenge that women face in all industries, and all workplaces is sexual harassment. Asmira Khan*, who works at a technology company in Bangalore told us that one of her colleagues kept harassing her to go out with him on a date. At first, she kept making excuses but he kept hounding her to go out with him. Later she found the courage to give him a flat-out ‘no’. Thankfully, then, he left her alone. This kind of advances can also lead to other crimes like stalking and more, but Asmira was glad that in her case the man just backed off and left her alone.

However, all is not challenging in the tech world, Asmira also said, “Most of the times being a woman in a male-dominated industry, is a good thing, if you explain to men your problems then they are ready to listen. Most of my colleagues treat me like a younger sister and it is nice.”

Companies are also taking a lot more interest in hiring women, but they should also try and ease a woman’s way into a male-dominated industry.

The IT industry in India is ever growing and a lot more women are taking up courses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Companies are also taking a lot more interest in hiring women, but they should also try and ease a woman’s way into a male-dominated industry. A good human resources person who listens and helps the women out can go a long way.

Here’s hoping that the tech industry becomes a lot more woman friendly, because as we very well know that women can change the world too!

* – name changed by request

Also read: How to deal with sexual harassment at the work place
Read more stories by Nikhita Sanotra