International Women’s Day 2024 – Comments from Women Leaders in Tech

International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, is a day of celebration, awareness, and empowerment.

With a vision of raising awareness around this year International Women’s Day campaign theme, #InspireInclusion, we have some of women leaders sharing their views on recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women spearheading innovation and driving progress towards a more inclusive and diverse future for all.

International Women’s Day 2024: Here’s what some women leaders say:

“For this International Women’s Day themed ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ the tech industry reflects on the strides made in women’s inclusion at workplaces. Recognizing diverse perspectives, the tech industry today emphasizes leaders’ pivotal role in driving innovation, where gender diversity is not just moral but strategic for competitiveness and innovation.

“Today, technology has empowered us to dismantle physical barriers, paving the way for equity in the workspace. Yet, it is the cultivation of a culture of mindful inclusion and belonging that truly propels an organization towards its full potential and success.”

At Pega, Inclusion is a core value for our products and people. We prioritize building a culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belongingness where people thrive. This includes creating equal opportunities for our diverse workforce. Identifying role models and mentors that can enable you to upskill and grow. Creating safe spaces and employee resource groups that encourage you to share your learnings and experiences as you bring your authentic self to work. We also believe in recognizing our allies who champion and equip others in this journey.

As women leaders, we must serve as allies, inspiring other women to pursue leadership positions and fostering a work environment that recognizes, appreciates, and celebrates them.”Smriti Mathur, Senior Director, and Head of People, Pega India

“Today, women stand as pioneers, reshaping every facet of the industry. For companies to thrive, there is a need to actively foster inclusion. Their increased participation across academia, workforce and leadership is a catalyst for economic growth. Yet, challenges persist, necessitating sustained efforts towards gender parity through inclusive policies and programs.

Inclusive cultures not only attract the best talent but also cultivate diverse viewpoints, which are essential for addressing complex challenges and seizing new opportunities in today’s rapidly evolving world. At Wells Fargo, diversity, equity, and inclusion are ingrained values, driving our global strategy to elevate women across all levels. One of our key tenets is to advance women’s representation across the employee lifecycle with initiatives that go beyond policies. One such initiative, the Table for 10 program, has impacted over 100 mid to senior women leaders across the organization in the last 2 years.

When we inspire others to understand and value gender inclusion, as women leaders, we forge a better world by embodying possibilities, belonging and empowerment. To drive lasting change, organizations must keep evolving their gender-agnostic policies, mitigate unconscious biases, and ensure accountability, paving the way for innovation that benefits all.”Sarada Vempati, Head of Enterprise Functions, Technology, Wells Fargo India & Philippines

“Our journey has become an inspiring narrative of resilience and advancement as we continue to champion women’s equality and empowerment. A recent report by the Ministry of Statistics demonstrates an increase of 4.2%, pushing female labour participation to 37% in India. This growth reflects a positive shift in the country’s labour force dynamics, signifying a broader societal transformation. While every incremental gain fuels our progress and normalizes support for women, substantial work remains ahead.

The increase in female workforce participation requires a stronger focus and comprehensive approach from the private sector, government, and society. This year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ stresses that investing in women has a ripple effect on society.  Diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas from women lead to more innovative solutions to complex problems. Companies prioritizing gender diversity consistently outshine their competitors, proving the business case for inclusion.

A multifaceted approach is imperative to foster investment in women. The competitive and demanding nature of jobs, especially in the tech sector, demands companies to focus on decisive actions to promote women’s engagement. Flexible work arrangements and mentorship programs assist women in navigating career obstacles and building confidence. As we navigate the era of ‘smart-everything,’ let’s also prioritize a smart equation for the future prosperity and well-being of our societies.”Nithya Cadambi, Senior Director, Finance, Operations and Facilities, Commvault

“Investing in women and cultivating their path toward accelerated career growth must transcend mere diversity agendas; it is a strategic imperative for progress. At Lowe’s India, we prioritize equity over equality as it’s not just about levelling the playing field; it’s about reshaping it entirely, creating a landscape where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.

We take deliberate action at all stages of a woman’s career lifecycle. By partnering with women-only institutes, we welcome a balanced pool of young talent – almost 60% of the campus hires joining us in 2023 were women. For our women associates and leaders, including high-potential associates, we offer a range of avenues to upskill, navigate and elevate their careers. In 2023, we increased our women officers (VPs) from 20% to 40%. With programs such as Bring-Her-Back and Do-It-Herself, we ensure we provide the right platform for successful maternity returns and career reintegration of those returning from career breaks, respectively. We focus on programs like “Elevate Your Influence,” and “Women Leadership Summit” aimed at connecting, inspiring and nurturing women leaders. Finally, by fortifying our foundational practices including workplace flexibility, strengthening our women Business Resource Group, sensitivity trainings, mentorship etc., we ensure women feel safe, heard and inspired to lead at our workplace. Today, a significant number of functions at Lowe’s India are led by women leaders- a culture that trickles from our global organization. These proactive efforts reflect in our improving gender ratio year-on-year and through multiple accolades as a great place to work for women.”Vidya Munirathnam, Vice President – Human Resources, Lowe’s India

“Breaking the glass ceiling is not just an individual triumph but a response to the structural disparities in career advancements, where women encounter barriers at entry levels. According to NASSCOM, despite women constituting 36% of India’s tech workforce, the proportion significantly declines higher up the corporate ladder. But it will take a lot more than women being part of STEM or companies adopting women empowerment programs. The ascent to leadership necessitates identifying mentors who can help navigate hierarchical barriers and consistent self-advocacy.

An NBER paper reveals that women tend to undervalue their performance, despite achieving similar scores as men. Therefore, being one’s own self-advocate is a pivotal challenge in this journey to the top. Leaders within the organization play a key role in facilitating this culture. When you consider the correlation between leaders who deliver better business success with high levels of emotional intelligence, it makes a great case for gender equality. Women inherently possess exceptional leadership skills—listening, mentoring, emotional intelligence, and creativity. For companies, success lies in recognizing and rewarding emotional intelligence, adopting transparent recruitment processes, and prioritizing competence over confidence.

In 2024, women find themselves in a much-improved position; gender diversity is now a recognized concept, and companies are increasingly open to implementing change. This Women’s Day, as we navigate a more evolved work environment, it is critical for us to inspire inclusion by demanding for inclusive practices, creating a robust ecosystem that genuinely empowers women.”- Natasha Rock, Geo Alliances Lead – GSI, EMEA GoTo

“As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we acknowledge the significant strides made by women in breaking the glass ceiling, particularly in the tech and surveillance industries. Studies consistently affirm that diverse teams lead to better decision-making, increased productivity, and enhanced creativity. Organizations can enable a more equitable society by advocating gender diversity and empowering women in the modern workforce, thereby unlocking the industry’s full potential to drive innovation and progress globally.

At Axis Communications, we cultivate a culture grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion, celebrating the remarkable achievements of women who have defied norms and forged their paths in the industry. With a 40:60 ratio of women to men across South Asia Pacific, Axis Communications prioritizes diversity and inclusion, recognizing its critical role in fostering innovation and success. Through collaborations with esteemed partners like MINE and our steadfast support of initiatives such as Security LeadHER, we actively champion diversity within our workplace and beyond.

Today, let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a world where women are welcomed, valued, and empowered to thrive. Together, we can envision a future where gender equality is not an aspiration but a tangible reality. By providing women with the opportunity to break down barriers and reach their full potential in the workplace, we can help build a more prosperous and inclusive society.”Monica Tomar, Regional Marketing Manager, South Asia Pacific, Axis Communications.

“In the dynamic landscape of modern business, the significance of today lies in the seismic shifts propelled by women across diverse industries. As a woman leader navigating the currents of the industry, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of diversity and inclusion.

Women are actively seeking avenues that empower them to flourish in their professional pursuits. It is imperative for organizations to cultivate environments not only inclusive but also devoid of biases of any form. While equal opportunities are a crucial step, true inclusion requires a deeper understanding of ‘Intersectionality,’ acknowledging the unique circumstances of each individual. This means the implementation of comprehensive programs, mentorship initiatives and continuous learning and training. A reliable approach to achieving better gender ratios involves prioritizing women’s career progression across all levels.

At Altimetrik, we are at the forefront of this revolution, propelled by our conviction that diversity ignites innovation. Through initiatives such as WINGS, MentHerUp, and EmpowerHER, we extend tailored mentorship to nurture the professional and personal growth trajectory of women. Our commitment stands resolute as we stride forward, driving change and shaping an industry that thrives on inclusion and equality.”Twastree Chakravarty, Digital Business Leader – Marketing, Altimetrik

“Accepting and valuing women’s involvement in professional domains, especially in the IT sector, goes beyond diversity. Today, we stand at a juncture where companies recognize the changing norms and are reflecting the same in their culture. However, to propel in the right direction, we must move beyond the ‘quantity of diversity’ in the boardroom and actively champion true inclusion, where ‘the quality of outcomes’ is the focus. Transparent hiring, robust upskilling programs, and mentorship are crucial. As we celebrate Women’s Day, let’s acknowledge the journey, address challenges, and create a future where inclusion isn’t just a buzzword but an inherent part of the tech ecosystem.”Bharathy Venkataraman, Director, Delivery Excellence, Mindsprint.

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