If you think women don’t belong to the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, think again.
While women have traditionally been underrepresented in the STEM [Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] field, their contribution to research and development at leading companies is increasing significantly, according to many executives interviewed by DH on International Women’s Day.
The proof is in the pudding: The number of women in tech is rising and so are the patents filed by them and their inventions that won a patent.
Volvo Group India said women accounted for 38 per cent of the patents filed in 2021, versus 10 per cent in the year-ago period. German software firm SAP said about 630 patents were filed between FY16 and FY21 where at least one of the co-innovators was from its Indian arm. Uber said women now account for 42.2 per cent of its workforce, out of which 23.2 per cent are engaged in technology.
“Multiple organisations have introduced flexible working policies, anti-harassment policies, women mentorship programmes, and leadership support to establish an equitable workforce culture,” said Punitha Anthony, Senior Director–HR at technology services provider CSS Corp India.
The executives interviewed by DH said they were optimistic about more women joining the workforce, especially due to the recent initiatives at their firms.
That said, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to tackling issues ranging from unconscious bias to pay parity.
For instance, an unconscious bias might stop someone from calling a woman by her name in a group conversation while constantly calling out her male peer’s name, pointed out Vanya Seth, head of technology at Thoughtworks, a tech consultancy firm. “This kind of behaviour can make people feel invisible. Yet, most passionate technologists who are women are showing up to work with the same grit every day.”