Women in Leadership: Building a world of Diversity and Inclusiveness

An industry story featuring Rinki Jain, which appeared in VARINDIA on 31 March 2022. Follow this link to read the original article.

Women have been playing a crucial role in every sphere, including science and technology. They have gone beyond general perception and literally touched the sky today. With proper mentorship and guidance, women have the ability to be driven towards excellence.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. The goal is to address the existing bias or norm in the society which makes it so difficult for women to move ahead, while also highlighting the importance of a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Women representation in Tech industry

Technology has had a tremendous and an unimaginable impact on human life. Yet women are currently underrepresented in the tech industry. The need of the hour is to have more of the female gender to facilitate better problem solving ability and increase performance at business level. Despite the huge amount of research and meticulously curated data confirming that companies tend to be more profitable, reputable, and have a healthy growth relationship when they have more women in leadership positions, we still get to see a gender gap in most cases.
Companies like Fortinet, the cyber security company, is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace based on fairness, equality, and a sense of belonging. The objective at Fortinet is to empower and enable all individuals to reach their full potential. “At Fortinet we are an equal opportunity player and we believe that a diverse workforce benefits everyone. Our focus on diversity is reflected throughout the organization, starting at the highest level, which is why Fortinet is ranked among the TOP25 Tech Companies with the most gender diverse boards. You will find many senior positions being occupied by women in Fortinet whether it is Deputy CISO, VP Information Security, Senior Vice President Marketing, Threat Intelligence and Influencer Communications at Fortinet,” cites Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Fortinet.

Indian Inc. in 2021 made gender diversity in hiring a priority area. Not just technology firms, but companies across the board are working towards making their workforce more diverse. A study by JobForHer, an online career platform for women, reported a 300% jump in job postings for women in 2021. The increase is even higher - 450% - when compared with the pre-pandemic period of 2019. Owing to the flexible work models, some experts believe the pandemic has been one of the key factors driving this increase. It is not just about being conscious or aware anymore. Tech companies are quickly moving to put in place policies to amplify the number of women employees at their firms. Prominent tech companies in India said that as of December 2021, they have at least three women in ten employees and are aiming to increase this ratio in the coming years.
In 2022, a change in mindsets at a cultural level is what is expected to bring in some tidings while also encouraging more young women to pursue their dreams.

Start-up ecosystem & women entrepreneurs

Talk about the booming Indian startup ecosystem and linked to this success story is the wonderful journey traversed by women entrepreneurs of the country. India is seeing a meteoric rise in women entrepreneurs. With one out of every 5 startups successfully run by Indian women, they are seen to have the potential to be the biggest force in India’s growth story. Innovative startups have sprung up across the country in which women are heading key positions. Women in leadership roles are increasingly acknowledged as bringing an extra degree of multitasking, empathy, intellect, assertiveness, and determination to thrive in real estate business circumstances.

Sheatwork, a one-stop knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs, unveiled a report on ‘State of Women Tech Entrepreneurship in India’ in partnership with Techarc, a leading technology analytics, research, and consultancy firm. The report highlights that while the number of female students in leading engineering institutes like the IITs has increased from a mere 5% about four years back to 16% now, this is not really translating into more women starting up companies. In fact, going by current trends, India should have more than 200 unicorns (startups with at least $1 billion valuation) by 2025, many of them going public, but this growth story will be primarily led by men.

Interestingly, the report, based on a survey of 2,000 women across India including women professionals, students, start-up founders and business leaders, highlights that almost 48% of women in non-metros are eager to take up tech entrepreneurship as a career option vis-à-vis 23% in metros who would like to pursue their own ventures.

Let’s have a look at some of the top women leaders, who have curated success stories and made a mark in their respective fields encompassing sales & marketing, HR, Engineering and Operations.

Balancing the hiring process is about giving equal opportunity

Rinki Jain
Account Delivery Head – Infogain

“As women, our position in the organization should not be defined by gender, but by merit, credibility, and competence. There are women in senior positions across roles at Infogain.
In the tech industry, we have many offshore clients, which also means working in different time zones, long or odd hours. There is no doubt that I can manage it and my responsibilities. At Infogain, there is due recognition based on merit. We have an ecosystem that supports and works to provide equal opportunities for employees to grow in their respective fields, irrespective of gender. As a human-centered organization, Infogain provides you with a supportive environment and platform to highlight your skills, prove yourself and take it from there. To me, balancing the hiring process is about giving equal opportunity, and that begins at the screening stage, while shortlisting profiles. As a manager, I have observed this at all layers. It is an organizational ethos; we hire women employees for any open role. The only criteria are meeting the qualifications for that role and by merit. There should be a transparent discussion on roles and expectations during the hiring process, and if for any reason, a female candidate wishes to decline for some reason, let’s not make any conclusions or brand people based on gender.”