fbpx

EXPLORE OUR

Tenacity, commitment, and flexibility: How to keep women in the tech sector

Women collaborating on a tech project

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Record numbers of female leaders are leaving their jobs, with research from McKinsey; women in the workplace showing that for every woman at director level who gets promoted, two choose to leave.

In this article, Deepa Kuppuswamy, Director of Security, ManageEngine, looks at what the future for women in tech holds, and how organisations can ensure the legacy of existing female trailblazers is not lost.

Deepa Kuppuswamy, Director of Security, ManageEngine

Deepa has over 20 years of experience in the software industry and currently spearheads the security team at ManageEngine and Zoho. She led the engineering initiatives for several IT management products in Zoho Corp for a decade and has been working in the information security domain for the past 8 years. In her current role, she is responsible for designing and managing the technical security and ensuring privacy measures within the organisation. Through her tenure, she has led the transformation of information security functions in various areas with specific expertise in cloud security, application security, security engineering and architecture, risk management and data privacy. Evangelizing security and building a strong security culture within Zoho Corp has been the motto of her team.

SINCE I JOINED THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR IN 2000, THERE HAVE BEEN MANY POSITIVE CHANGES, AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROGRESS MADE.

There is, however, still much more to be done: New research from McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace shows that record numbers of women are leaving the workplace. McKinsey’s research also found that for every woman at the director level who gets promoted, two choose to leave.

So why is this? And what can leaders do to reverse these trends by ensuring women at all levels of the industry are better supported, and that the legacy of existing female trailblazers is not lost?

THE IMPORTANCE OF FLEXIBLE WORKING

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was #EmbraceEquity. Equity is about how you get equality—it’s about the resources and opportunities that help reach equality.

For many women, flexible working helps them gain equality in the workplace. It has an important and positive impact on their work culture. This is especially true if they have caring responsibilities. For me personally, flexible working was important in ensuring that I could pursue my career goals while raising a family.  Having children doesn’t limit men, and it shouldn’t limit women. But, sadly for many women—especially those in middle management—this can be the case.

We often refer to the “glass ceiling,” the invisible barrier which keeps women out of C-suite positions. The truth is the problem can often begin much lower down the career ladder. Women face a “broken rung”: a gap in the career ladder where men progress to senior management positions while women are left behind. Flexible working helps address this issue by letting women set their own hours, ensuring autonomy at work. That’s why a large percentage of women say that it’s among their top considerations when deciding whether to leave or join a company. It’s important that the tech industry continues to support employees by offering flexible and hybrid working patterns.

HOW CAN THE TECH INDUSTRY SUPPORT WOMEN?

Representation of women in STEM is improving. At the entry level, an increased number of women are joining the industry. This is great news—but there are still changes that can be made.

Assumptions about female colleagues can be challenging to overcome in the workplace, and they could impact career progression. Tackling preconceived notions and unconscious bias that recruiters may have towards women is a crucial place to start.

Adoption of inclusive working policies such as flexible hours is also crucial. It’s a great first step—but it’s only a first step. Companies can go further; introduction of day care centers, for instance, can help parents with childcare responsibilities to remain in, or enter, the workforce. And creating a network of all genders to ensure women have mentorship and advice is important.

Here at Zoho Corp, we have access to programs run internally for women. One is run by Zoho Schools of Learning under Zoho Schools of Graduate Studies and is called Marupadi, which translates to “once again” in Tamil. It is a program run for women in tech to upskill themselves and relaunch their career after a break or hiatus.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REPRESENTATION

The importance of representation cannot be understated. For young women thinking about pursuing technology, seeing themselves as a leader encourages them to pursue their career dreams. That’s why it’s crucial that companies celebrate their female leaders.

Representation is also important for women at every career level. For entry-level women, seeing female leaders reinforces their own career ambitions. They are given confidence that they can follow a similar career path.

And female leaders play a crucial role for women in middle management, often acting as mentors. But whilst it’s important to have that female support, women should also receive mentorship from men in more senior positions. A range of opinions and advice is important in development and goal setting.

HOW CAN WOMEN GET INTO THE TECH INDUSTRY?

I have three key pieces of advice for women looking to get into the tech industry. First, embrace new learning opportunities. Technology is a dynamic sector. It’s constantly moving, and there are always new developments. It’s important to stay up to date. That’s why upskilling is the way forward.

Another important aspect is cultivating a network. It’s important to build a multi-gendered, multi-level network. This provides you with a wide range of advice that helps you to communicate with confidence in your own expertise.

Finally, women should take ownership of their career paths. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious! It’s important to have a tenacious attitude and be vocal about what you want.

CAREER BUILDING RESOURCES
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL
RELATED CONTENT
RELATED CATEGORIES
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

RELATED ARTICLES

Despite efforts to address gender diversity in tech, systemic biases persist, hindering the industry from tapping into the full potential of women. Jenny Briant, Academy...
Join us in this captivating journey as we delve into the life and career of Mansi Baguant, a talented graduate data scientist at Arup. In...
Meet Zhan Jessica Yu, Technical Program Manager, a passionate employee at the LEGO Group, who shares her journey of parenthood while being part of a...
Discover how Capco's #BYAW movement is revolutionizing workplace culture, empowering individuals to embrace authenticity and driving innovation through diversity and inclusion.