Women in Modern Workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

On International Women's Day, it's a good idea to reflect on the progress women have made in the modern workplace as well as the continuing challenges they still face.

Manisha Sharma
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International Womens dAY

International Women's Day

On International Women's Day, it's a good idea to reflect on the progress women have made in the modern workplace as well as the continuing challenges they still face. Although there has been progress in gender equality over the years in many areas, especially the workplace, more work needs to be done before true parity is reached.


Opportunities Abound:

The growing recognition of women's contributions and abilities in the modern workplace is one of the biggest achievements for them. More than ever before, women can now pursue higher education and work in fields that have historically been dominated by men. Organisations all across the world are actively working to advance women into leadership and decision-making positions as they realise the importance of diversity and inclusivity.

Furthermore, women now have more opportunities to enter the workforce thanks to technological advancements and remote work. Women who have flexible work arrangements are more productive and have higher job satisfaction because they can more effectively manage their personal and professional obligations.


In addition, women now have more opportunities than ever before to launch and run their own businesses thanks to the growth of entrepreneurship. Innovation and economic empowerment have been greatly aided by programmes that support female entrepreneurs, such as funding access and mentorship programmes.

Ongoing Challenges: 

Notwithstanding these advancements, women still face a number of obstacles in the modern workplace that prevent them from moving up the ladder. There is still a lot of gender bias and discrimination in the workplace, which shows up as uneven pay, few opportunities for career advancement, and workplace microaggressions.


Furthermore, women bear a disproportionate amount of the burden of unpaid caregiving, which frequently hinders their ability to devote themselves entirely to their careers. The imbalance is further exacerbated by societal expectations and stereotypes about gender roles, which makes it difficult for women to achieve work-life balance.

Additionally, a major obstacle still exists in the form of the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles. The proportion of women in leadership roles has increased, but they are still underrepresented, particularly in boardrooms and senior executive positions.

Here are a few inspiring quote from various Women leaders on the occasion of International Women's Day:


Supriya Deverkonda, Senior Data Scientist at a leading financial company - “India is a beautiful country with a rich culture and has made significant progress, but it still clings to a few stringent norms, especially when it comes to women. Despite this, in 2013,

made the life-changing decision to adopt a 5-month-old baby, defying cultural stereotypes around traditional family and marriage.

Being a mother is a beautiful journey, especially when my child comes to me after a tiring office day and gives me a big hug and a smile. It's the most amazing thing. The best thing about being a single parent is that it has taught me to stand up for what is not right, to stand up to society and have the courage to say no. Despite going against convention, I had strong support from my parents, enabling me to balance my career while raising my daughter. Juggling work-life balance as a single parent during crises was challenging but manageable with substantial support. However, after over 18 years in data science and analytics, a lingering feeling emerged that I needed to give my career a boost, particularly in AI, to stay current with industry trends. Believing that there's no age limit for learning, I took the Post Graduate Program in Artificial Intelligence for Leaders by Great Learning this year. Encouraged by my mother to keep my career flourishing, I seized the opportunity to upgrade my skills and stay abreast of industry standards.

For mothers contemplating career relaunches, shifts, or boosts, my advice is simple: upskilling is key to empowering women and breaking barriers in male-dominated industries. Your journey may not always be easy, but with the right support and resources, you can achieve your career aspirations and create a better future for yourself and your family."


Shantha kumari Manickam - Senior Manager, Engineering at Netskope- “It is one thing to work in STEM, but another to reach leadership positions, and there’s still a glass ceiling for women in the industry to do so. As I personally continue to grow in the tech industry, I have identified enablers that are instrumental in helping women get to the top of the chart and ensure our career does not stagnate: skills, reputation, credibility and network, which in the end are all intertwined. 

Building a solid network is critical as this is where our next opportunity may come from, but can’t be achieved only by staying at our desks. It requires going out there, and attending relevant tech forums, events or meet-ups, and seeing how networking platforms like LinkedIn can be leveraged. 

We also need to build our reputation, and in the process our credibility, and it is essential women strive to be as visible as possible within AND outside their organisation. It means driving initiatives that go beyond our job description, bringing new practices and implementing them, and getting better at shouting about our successes and achievements. A better recognition of women’s achievements is also how we can bring more diversity to our industry.


Finally, I recommend women identify mentors inside and outside their organisation who can help them aim for leadership roles in our industry, which I find too few are currently doing. Mentors are also sources of knowledge that they can lean on and shadow to carve their unique leadership style. Being a leader requires many skills that our universities or day-to-day job do not teach us, and acquiring those skills before any management role can ease the transition.”

Aruna C. Newton, Vice President, Head - Diversity and Inclusion, ESG Governance & Reporting, Infosys,- "At Infosys, we celebrate the inspiring journeys of our women employees who are shaping the future of technology across industries. We have built several high-quality, very intentional developmental interventions, that are active year-long, to affirm our commitment to enable women to enjoy the careers they aspire for. Some examples include,

'#amTheFuture' a leadership coaching program, in partnership with Stanford GSB, the Infosys 'Orbit Next' program for managers, 'Tech Cohere' a program that focuses on nurturing and building a vibrant and collaborative tech community of engineers, architects, and technologists to refine architecture design and software engineering practices and mentorship interventions. Our efforts extend to nurturing the creation of powerful supportive ecosystems that inspire inclusion. Our campaign for International Women's Day 2024 #SpotltToStoplt, focuses on action that all stakeholders including women themselves can take to create awareness around microaggressions that are the result of unconscious gender bias and act on them to inspire inclusion.

Nithya Cadambi, Senior Director, Finance, Operations and Facilities - “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 labor participation to 37% in India. This growth reflects a positive shift in the country's labor 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.”

Madhumita Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Oben Electric: The auto industry faces a critical challenge: a significant lack of female representation, particularly in leadership positions. This is not just an ethical concern; it also hinders the industry's potential for innovation and growth. With less than 3% of CXO roles in India's top 11 auto companies held by women and an 11% salary gap persisting, Deloitte highlights the need for change. However, positive signs are emerging. Educational outreach programs are inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields, including automotive engineering, addressing the gender gap from the ground up. Additionally, many auto companies are embracing the strategic value of diversity. They recognize that gender-balanced teams foster innovation and creativity, leading to breakthroughs in product development and business strategies. Advocacy for safe and inclusive work environments is also gaining traction, ensuring equal opportunities and protection for all employees. Having said that, we need to emphasize the importance of merit: "Women need to be deserving of the positions they seek, bringing the necessary skills, experience, and value to the table on par with their peers. Selection should be based on qualifications and merit, not solely on gender.


Let's acknowledge the obstacles that still exist and celebrate the accomplishments of women in the modern workplace on this International Women's Day. We can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable future where every woman has the chance to thrive both personally and professionally by recognizing the opportunities and challenges that face them and taking proactive steps to address them. By working together, we can make gender equality a reality rather than just an ideal.