There’s nothing inherently masculine about cloud computing, data analytics or artificial intelligence (AI). Computers are also androgynous by nature. However, the tech sector remains heavily dominated by men, especially in the senior positions. What’s more appalling is that despite women’s participation in tech continues to be a favorite topic at every technology forum and organizations getting serious about diversity and inclusion in the last one decade, women are massively underrepresented in top management jobs. And that’s why it’s time to revisit the women in tech narrative in 2020 and beyond.
In a recent report McKinsey researchers observe, how gender imbalances emerge from as early as the first promotion point where women account for 48% of entry-level hires but only 38% of first-level managers, with a clear knock-on effect for equality in higher positions.
This naturally explains why the overall number of women in top management roles is still painfully low. Today only 5% of CEOs of major corporations in the US are women. In India too, female representation on boards increased by just 4.3 percentage points to 15.2% in 2019 from 2014, as per the latest CS Gender 3000 report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI). This is however significantly below the global average of 20.6%. India also has the third-lowest rank in the Asia Pacific with regard to female chief executive officer (CEO) representation (2%), as well as other ranks such as CTO, CIO and CFO.
Diversity makes good business sense
However, studies have time and again proved that diversity in leadership makes good business sense. As a Harvard Business School report mentions, having women on the board results better acquisition and investment decisions and in less aggressive risk-taking, yielding benefits for shareholders. As Sasikala Mahesh, Head of Delivery (India) at ThoughtWorks suggests, “Women are naturally empathetic and can contextually apply emotional intelligence to manage people effectively. This also explains why women leaders across the world have demonstrated their abilities to build a safe, open and conducive work environment.”
Jie Chen, an associate professor in Finance at Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK, and his co-authors mention in the report, “One benefit of having female directors on the board is a greater diversity of viewpoints, which is purported to improve the quality of board deliberations, especially when complex issues are involved, because different perspectives can increase the amount of information available.”