Why Aren't More Women in Dig­i­tal Lead­er­ship Roles?

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

NASSCOM, in its re­port termed, Women and IT Score­card In­dia 2018, re­veals that the to­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in the C-suite level re­mains at abysmal one per cent. Among the world's largest 500 com­pa­nies, only 10.9 per cent of se­nior ex­ec­u­tives are women, ac­cord­ing to We­ber Shand­wick's Gen­der For­ward Pioneer In­dex. while to a data from the S&P Bom­bay Stock Ex­change In­dex shows women earn less than male coun­ter­parts even at the CEO level.

De­spite di­ver­sity be­ing high on the agenda of busi­nesses, not enough women oc­cupy top most seats in business but women are slowly mov­ing up the ranks with their strong lead­er­ship skills. In an in­dus­try that is largely male dom­i­nated, women to­day, are not only leav­ing their mark but also leav­ing many be­hind.

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion has been play­ing a key role in em­pow­er­ing women. It fa­cil­i­tates ed­u­ca­tion and job train­ing and also im­proves ac­cess to health­care and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the econ­omy and civil so­ci­ety. The FICCI Ladies Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FLO) or­gan­ised a ses­sion on ‘Dig­i­tal Lead­er­ship & In­clu­sive Cul­ture’ on 1 Septem­ber 2018 to dis­cuss more on the as­pect and what does it take for women to make their mark at top-level man­age­ment.

'Women make up half of po­ten­tial hu­man cap­i­tal avail­able in any econ­omy. The ef­fi­cient use of this tal­ent pool is a key driver of com­pet­i­tive­ness. In a world where 95 per cent of all jobs have a dig­i­tal com­po­nent and where this is large and grow­ing short­age of tal­ent and skills in the ICT sec­tor the need of the hour for or­gan­i­sa­tions is to have skilled, cre­ative and one with di­verse out­look.

The key to growth is to have more women in­volved and take in­ter­est in ICT ca­reers. Women bring with them a depth of ideas and per­spec­tives that can only add value to com­pany's in­no­va­tion en­deav­ours. The new gen­er­a­tion of techies is bold and ef­fi­cient and slowly but steadily grow­ing in num­bers,' Pinky Reddy, Pres­i­dent FLO in the in­au­gu­ral speech.

'It's up to the or­gan­i­sa­tions to give them sup­port and free­dom to flour­ish fur­ther. De­spite di­ver­sity be­ing high on the agenda of busi­nesses, not many women oc­cupy seats in the CIO role, though women are slowly mov­ing up the lad­der bring­ing to­gether a unique blend of lead­er­ship skills,' she added.

Lead­ing women CIOs joined in for a riv­et­ing ses­sion and em­i­nent pan­elist such as Neena Pahuja, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral at ERNET In­dia, Depart­ment of Elec­tron­ics & IT (De­itY), MC&IT, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, Harmeen Me­hta, Global CIO and Head of Dig­i­tal – Air­tel, Seema Gaur, Ex­ec­u­tive VP & Head – IT, IFFCO Tokio GIC Ltd and Anupreet Lamba – VP-Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­ogy (USA) Bank of Amer­ica all joined in to put forth their views.

Pahuja was of the view that there is plethora of op­por­tu­nity for women to work and de­liver the goods. Speak­ing at the ses­sion Pahuja said, 'Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and sev­eral re­cent gov­ern­ment poli­cies are play­ing sig­nif­i­cant role in em­pow­er­ing women in a big way. Tech­nol­ogy is also help­ing women feel se­cure at work­places as well as on the street,' said Pahuja.

'But at the same time, women have to stand on their own; so it's not just about di­ver­sity. I'm a firm be­liever that we as women are not only good but bet­ter than the men. To­day there is plethora of op­por­tu­ni­ties for the ladies to work and de­liver and what is re­quired is to be sen­si­tive to their de­mands,' she added.

Seema Gaur be­lieves be­ing fo­cussed on your job and tasks, at the same time main­tain­ing cor­dial re­la­tions with all at the work­place, ir­re­spec­tive of the fact that gen­der plays an im­por­tant role in keep­ing you ahead in the game. Gaur be­lieves a po­ten­tial woman CIO should con­stantly up­grade her skill sets in this fast-paced world and that will be the key to suc­cess.

'En­cour­ag­ing and em­pow­er­ing women in the work­force is some­thing the coun­try needs to take up on a war foot­ing, most cor­po­rates nowa­days do want more women in the work­force – be­cause they are re­ally ded­i­cated and com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing work,' said Gaur, Ex­ec­u­tive VP & Head – IT, IFFCO Tokio GIC Ltd.

Harmeen Me­hta of Air­tel was of the view that de­spite so many changes that have hap­pened in the re­cent years, even to­day, women are some­how lag­ging be­hind be­cause they be­lieve that things need to hap­pen for them rather than grab­bing at the op­por­tu­nity. 'The young girls to­day have a lot more self-con­fi­dence, com­pared to 20 years ago. How­ever, the one thing that hasn't changed is that some­how women to­day still be­lieve that things need to hap­pen to them. It's time that they re­alise no one is go­ing to give things on a sil­ver plat­ter; you need to make the sit­u­a­tion hap­pen,' said Me­hta.

Anupreet Lamba, be­lieves that dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is em­pow­er­ing women to be­come what they want. 'To­day women have the op­tion of be­com­ing what they want and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion has a big role in that. The gov­ern­ment is do­ing a lot to bring the gen­der gap closer and big com­pa­nies are try­ing to at­tract women or a di­verse work­force.

Neena Pahuja, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral at ERNET In­dia, Depart­ment of Elec­tron­ics & IT (De­itY), MC&IT, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia (2nd from right).

Neena Pahuja, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral at ERNET In­dia, Depart­ment of Elec­tron­ics & IT (De­itY), MC&IT, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia.

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