Since the dawn of time, women have assumed different roles in different cultures. In rare instances do women enjoy more power than men. For most of us, it’s still very much a man’s world. Our society is full of stereotypes that keep women from realising their full potential and thriving independently. And, although times are changing, women still have to prove themselves at every step, fighting a new battle every day in a war that is far from over. A Honeypot study conducted in February 2018 shows that women constitute around 50% of the general workforce, but only 30% of the high tech sector. A 2016 World Bank survey shows that only 19% of firms are led by women.
In the workplace, we face a variety of challenges that our male colleagues in similar positions may not even know to exist. Top among these are cognitive bias, and unequal titles or salaries. We find ourselves under constant pressure not to be perceived as “too feminine” (code for shy and less confident), or “too masculine” (code for bossy, too ambitious, and not a team player). Parenthood too has a larger impact on our careers. Once a woman becomes a mother, she is expected to take on less-challenging work, dial back her hours, and focus on the home, whereas a man is expected to be as capable as ever. That’s why maternity leave is generally so much longer than paternity leave. Most organisations try to be fair by implementing meritocracy, i.e. awarding incentives and promotions based on performance. As women tend to be more reticent, they find their efforts undervalued and sometimes unnoticed.
As a woman in the technology sector, it is deeply important to me to work for an organisation that acknowledges women’s contributions, makes conscious efforts to close the gender gap and empowers its employees to master their skills. That’s why I love working for a company that has equality imprinted in its DNA. Capgemini has introduced numerous initiatives, including POPSH (Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment), OWL (Outstanding Women in Leadership), MAPP (Mentor and Protégé Program), and SpeakUp to make the work environment less inhibiting and more nurturing for women and to celebrate strong, empowered women. Thanks to initiatives such as these, I know that I will be free to take my career in any direction I choose and boldly follow my heart and my interests.
Across many countries, we have attained EDGE (Economics dividend for Gender Equality) certification, prompting conscious efforts to make gender equality a reality. These initiatives connect women across business units and countries and provide them a platform to inspire and learn together. In so doing, Capgemini lends a sense of purpose to people who are passionate about what they do and what they believe in.
The road to gender parity is long and difficult because the roots of inequality are embedded deep within our society. Any progress will require everyone’s incessant efforts. We need to identify the visible as well as hidden factors of disparity, take measures to rectify them, acclimatise ourselves to the change and begin the cycle again. Based on my experience at Capgemini, I could not be more optimistic about the future of women in technology. I love equality. I ace promoting women in technology.