Women forums in IT industry – hype or real?
Posted by Srividya Ram
I have had very interesting conversations with many on the need to start a Women’s Forum in IT corporates – It ranged from “This is a long felt need” to “why only Women’s initiative – why not Men’s initiative? call it gender equality!!!….”
Over the years in IT industry, I hardly saw any situation where women can operate differently because they are women. When we assess someone’s capabilities to fit into IT industry, we look for standard traits – Zero-defect project deliveries, vast domain knowledge, excellent communication and team management skills, client-facing capabilities …….. all these are gender-inclusive expectations in our industry.
Research has also proven that women have a higher EQ (Emotional Quotient), which in today’s corporate world is rated higher than IQ – this actually gives women an edge over men in problem solving. The recent trend analysis also concludes that corporates which have women as part of senior management have done much better than those who do not.
Ideally, with the above two facts, the women workforce in IT industry should be at a minimum of 50%. In reality, statistics show that women workforce ranges between 25% to 30% and less than 15% of senior management in most global IT companies.
The reason for lesser percentage of women is mostly attributed to women’s extended role in family and childcare – this is true globally. Surveys have concluded that in households where men and women work, women still do twice as much housework and thrice as much childcare.
How do we enable women workforce to sustain their career aspirations while they manage their housework and childcare responsibilities – this is the major trigger for many IT corporates to start corporate programs supporting women – Ideally, from my perspective, these forums/programs need to
- enable women workforce with additional skills required to multitask
- leverage women’s potential for furthering organization goals
- retain women talent
- establish the IT corporate as “employer of choice” by women workforce
So, what can women do to with the support from these forums??
- KNOW YOURSELF – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” – James Allen. With understanding themselves, comes the wisdom – with wisdom comes the personal power.
- DEVELOP SKILLS – Ensure they develop skills which continue to give them the financial independence. This is very critical – with financial independence comes a lot of responsibility and with responsibility, they grow as an individual
- BE AWARE AND EMBRACE CHANGE – Continuously challenge their limits – every archiver (Gender inclusive!) has done this!
We need a whole lot of committed change agents who can make this change……and be part of the change!! Till then, the debate on the need for women’s forum will continue…and probably the cheeky lot will continue to check about the need for men’s forum!!