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There is a need to guide and mentor the women to overcome the pressures and make things better

BANGALORE, INDIA: An increasing number of Indian women, nowadays, are pursuing careers in science, engineering and tech and they begin their careers as equals with men, with similar aspirations to move up the corporate ladder and reach the top.

A close look at the numbers reveals that despite this advancement, not many of them make it to the top. A recent Catalyst study carried out among women in the technology sector reveals that despite starting at the equal job level and pay, 12 years into their careers, women lag behind men by approximately Rs. 3.8 lakhs in terms of pay. Also we don't see as many women in the top- level management as we do men.

Factors holding women back from donning leadership hat
It's not that women are less ambitious than men, or they don't have the qualities to succeed. To dig deeper into the topic, we spoke to Vidya Laxman, chief operating officer, ThoughtWorks Studio. Vidya has worked with a couple of tech companies in India and abroad for more than a decade. She feels there are few social constraints, which women need to deal with to pursue their chosen careers and succeed.

"After reaching a certain point in life, women find themselves torn between work and family. A feeling of guilt overcasts their mind for the fact that they won't be able to pay attention to the family and they won't be able to give 100 percent to the office as well. And that's the reason they sometimes even decide to quit," says Vidya.

There is a need to guide and mentor the women to overcome the pressures and make things better. Organizations can play a very significant role in helping the women make better choices. But it's also very important for a woman to set her priorities right. "It's OK to say no sometimes and you don't have to feel guilty about it," she adds.

Women are apologetic for their requirements and are too shy to negotiate for themselves. For example, women don't ask for raises or promotions as often as men do and in fact, many women don't receive what they deserve, just because they don't ask.

Women need to find a way out of the cocoon to re-invent themselves and their careers.

Engaging women at work
Studies validated that women are more engaged workers than men. "IT organizations in India nowadays are more accomodative towards the women workforce and they have rolled out a couple of interesting employee engagement initiatives to nurture and retain their women workforce," says Vidya.

Some of those initiatives are:

Workforce diversity: Gender-diverse and engaged business units perform better than those that are less diverse and less engaged. Being aware of the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce more and more organizations are now seek to hire and retain talented women for the managerial and key leadership positions.

 

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