International Women in Engineering Day: Diverse Workforce is the Way Forward

International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated every year on 23 June to help raise the profile of women engineers and encourage them

It’s the year 2020, and thanks to technology, the world is witnessing a change at an unprecedented pace. Unlike days of the past, women are being encouraged to take charge and be a part of the ongoing transformation. The field of engineering especially is opening up new opportunities for women who are now challenging stereotypes and discrimination. On this International Women in Engineering Day, women leaders share their thoughts with us on what has changed for women in the field of technology, and how their respective organizations are ensuring a diverse workforce.

Bhuvaneswari Natarajan, Senior Director, Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

The IT industry in FY’18 had 34% of women working across the sector and set to grow. The industry has seen the value women bring to the table and their endless possibilities. Organizations are already creating initiatives like work-life policies, employee-friendly needs, space in top management circles to promote a healthy mix of a talented workforce. Going forward, they should provide diverse work environments with opportunities to help them pursue career goals, like ones set up by the IDC and CIO Executive Council. With the industry now open, there’s nothing stopping women in accomplishing what they need. Every challenge presents an innate opportunity for innovation. So don’t limit yourself, celebrate every small achievement, and look forward to more. The WFH model has given the freedom to women who can balance their work-life environment, upskill themselves, and be more productive. It gives them a platform to assess priorities and step up boldly into a world that was earlier dominated by men. The future looks bright!

Supria Dhanda, VP and Country Manager, Western Digital India

Our universe comprises of men and women in almost equal numbers and I believe organisations need to sincerely work towards reflecting the same. Fostering a diverse workforce in technology is vital as most technology companies thrive on innovation, and for innovation to truly prosper – diversity of workforce is imperative, thus enabling the organisation to celebrate new perspectives and differing view-points. Getting the culture right in terms of being inclusive is important for diversity to work.

I have always believed that diversity is about getting the mix right and inclusion is about getting that mix to work effortlessly. To build a diverse and equal workforce, companies need to create an inclusive environment where women feel heard, valued and empowered. A future-oriented progressive workplace with equal opportunities of networking, career development and innovative thinking will enable in building an open and inclusive culture. To build a larger women in tech talent pool, girl students must be encouraged to take up STEM education and this must be addressed across all levels of education. At Western Digital, we are very passionate about diversity and Inclusiveness and it is imperative to us that each individual can thrive through a sense of belongingness, respect, contribution and embrace the true spirit of innovation.

Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD, SAP Labs India

“Being in the engineering field for more than 20 years, I am passionate about the positive impact that technology can bring to the society and our lives. It is also encouraging to note that several women in India are opting for a career in engineering. While it is important to encourage young girls to pursue a career in STEM, it is also vital to ensure that young girls, especially from the rural areas, have access to education that will allow them to pursue a career in science and technology.  Which is what we at SAP are doing through several initiatives that we run with the Government and our flagship program called Code Unnati which is a corporate-to-citizen, digital literacy and IT skills development initiative aimed at fostering digital inclusion in India. It is a matter of great pride that SAP was the first multi-national technology company to be awarded the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certificate for our global commitment to workplace gender equality.”

SAP Labs India has a number of initiatives to encourage women employees –

  • Unique leave policies such as maternity, adoption/surrogacy and miscarriage leave
  • SAP Crèches – A premium on-site Child Care Center, at SAP Labs campus in Bangalore has a capacity to accommodate 150 children in the age group of 9 months to 12 years and also provide Montessori education
  • Stay in Touch – The Run Mummier Programme helps women to stay in touch with the company, respective teams and reintegrate into work smoothly after their maternity leave
  • SAP Business Women’s Network – To help women advance their careers by building strong relationships, sharing professional insights, developing skills, and seizing career-advancing opportunities
  • Developing our Women Leaders – SAP has various initiatives such as Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program (LEAP), Beyond the Horizon program, Strive to Lead (S2L), Headway, Confluence, Speed Mentoring and Career Café aiming to build a healthy pipeline of women leaders at each career level and enable women colleagues to take on management roles.

Also read: Engineering is no longer considered a “man’s job”

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