Women's Equality Day: About Time We Address Grassroots Faultlines

As an aspiring tech professional, I remember reading about Karen Spärck Jones, a self-taught British programmer and pioneering computer scientist who said, "Computing is too important to be left to men."

Gitanjali Singh
19 Jun 2023 Updated On Aug 26, 2023 10:37 IST
Women as Makers, Women-in-Tech, gender diversity in tech

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As an aspiring tech professional, I remember reading about Karen Spärck Jones, a self-taught British programmer and pioneering computer scientist who once said, "I think it's very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men." Karen Spärck Jones passed away in 2007 and the dream of gender equity in STEM fields that she worked so hard to realise, remains elusive even in 2023.

Last year, for instance, The Financial Express cited data from Skillsoft’s 2022 'Women in Tech' Report (India Region) to state that only 7 percent of the 1,004 women tech professionals surveyed held executive-level positions while only 13 percent held managing director-level positions.

Women In Computing

This massive gender gap is rooted in serious, systematic problems like lack of access to STEM education and adequate skilling opportunities. Restrictive social norms, organisational biases, absence of mentorship, and the prevalence of a 'tech bro’ culture also inhibit the growth of women employees. In fact, the World Bank's 'Women, Business and the Law 2023' report based on research in 190 economies says that over 176 countries maintain legal barriers to women's full economic participation.


This is a self-defeating attitude because gender diversity enriches organisations and economies in more ways than one. Gender equity enhances workplace safety, curtails employee turnover, and helps in the creation of innovative solutions for a more diverse audience, leading to not just better products but an increase in revenue. No company can thrive well without the participation of both men and women and as the pandemic showed, women leaders display not just efficiency but remarkable empathy during a crisis.

Women leaders are also more likely to be cognisant of female issues, can help foster a transparent work environment and facilitate pay equity as well. And yet, gender inequity plagues most industries. In my opinion, decisive leadership and redressal policies that can address discrimination that women may be facing at work can change things for the better. Thankfully, efforts are being made across the world to improve STEM accessibility, challenge gender biases and discrimination within organisations, and ensure inclusivity.

Equitable access to jobs, fair hiring practices, broadband connectivity, mentorship at the grassroots level, and equal representation in boardrooms, leads to the creation of diverse companies as well as better products, services, and technologies. These also encourage women to branch out on their own.


Why we need greater spotlight on women-led ventures

However, as The World Economic Forum reported, only 2 percent of venture capital funding went in 2022 to women-led startups even in a supposedly more advanced country like the United States. Women-led ventures hence deserve more networking opportunities and greater access to mentors, investors, and accelerators.

We also need a macro strategy to facilitate synergy between all stakeholders, so that policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs, and educational institutions find ways to collaboratively work towards a more gender-equal world.


Remote and hybrid work modules, flexible work hours, equal pay, maternity leave, and health benefits can also help women to balance personal and professional priorities. It is also important that their contributions are not invisible at work but justly rewarded.

At our organisation, we have worked hard to create an inclusive and conducive work culture and my growth in the company is a testament to that. As a woman leader in the BFSI industry, my own journey was challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Yes, glass ceilings can be shattered but we need to address grassroots faultlines first.

This is why we have initiated ‘Unnati for India’, a program that aims to provide skill-based training to both boys and girls from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and we envision training more than 100,000 students by 2025. This initiative has helped enhance the number of female employees in tech industries.


To women aspiring to join this industry, I would say, seize every opportunity for personal and professional growth, evolve and keep up with innovations, unlearn old methodologies, never stop learning and stay adaptive to new changes. Consider obstacles and hurdles as challenges to overcome and then go on, to break new ground. And then mentor other women and share your story. As Ellen Pao, the American investor and former CEO of social media company Reddit said, “If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.”

Authored by Gitanjali Singh, Head of Strategy and Client Success at Visionet BFSI

Suggested reading: Development Of STEM Education Over Decades And Where Do Women Stand In It

#women in computing #Gender Gap Tech #women in STEM