We need to identify role models. We need to work on executive presence. We can do a lot of things to take women forward.
During T-School 2022, a panel discussion on “Adopting emerging tech to upskill with renewed focus on women in STEM” featured Yogesh Mishra, VP, Thomas Assessment and President DMA, Dr. Deepa Gupta, Dean, GL Bajaj Institute of Management, Dr. Rajnish Talwar, Dean, Chitkara University, and Samriti Malhotra, Global HRD Head, Denave. It was moderated by Sunil Rajguru, Editor, Dataquest, PCQuest, and CiOL.
Rajguru declared that India about 40% women pass out in STEM. What are the lessons for the world? Samriti said: We are doing well in STEM. We have a challenge that we are still mitigating. Globally, there are 18% women in STEM. In India, it has grown very fast. Women have participated and have been doing extremely well. Women have certain inherent qualities. They are curious, look at the root cause, stitch certain challenges, etc. However, men are equally competent! We are trying to bring more women in STEM.
Dr. Gupta noted that the IITs had a low percentage of women. Now, it has reached about 50:50 this year in certain areas. Gradually, we hope this will also get a push at the IIMs. The educational policy is pushing from fear to freedom. We will soon have more women in many fields, especially science and technology.
Yogesh said India is a diverse country. Saraswati is the Goddess of learning. Women have been encouraged in India to study. They have done well, and also remain oppressed in areas. Girls are normally of the studious variety. As you move up higher education, the number falls. In doctors and nursing, they are there. In manufacturing, there are very few. We are not able to make use of their knowledge.
Rajguru added comparatively there are few women in the industry. Samriti said we see women secure top ranks in classes. Senior leadership has some challenges. You need to take thought-through decisions, especially for women. Flexibilities need to be there. Covid-19 has made it possible to do remote working. Women like to give their 100% in everything. For top positions, commitment is much higher. In the coming times, this will also increase.
Dr. Gupta said we are seeing changes happening. We need lot of handholding as well. That will create more stars. We may see a drop in the dropout ratios. Dr. Talwar said women are empowered at home and the office today. Cooking is not that easy for men at home.
Yogesh added that women had disappeared in some areas. People did not see a role model at the top. We need to give women flexibility. We need to identify role models, make them interactive, etc. We need to also give them tips regarding nutrition. We also need to work on executive presence. We can do a lot of things.
He added that there were fewer women in STEM in civil, mechanical, etc. Today, women engineers are working on sites. Dr. Talwar said we have women making ebikes today. It also depends on the family background and support system. That shift is already happening. Even Air Force has recruited women and there are also for DTC buses and Metros.
Samriti said women empowerment cannot be complete without support of men. We need to have equal partnerships. The success lies on how to leverage strengths of men and women. At our organization, we are creating 50:50 ratio for leadership. Women can share their perceptions regarding challenges.
Dr. Gupta said the top three departments are all led by Goddesses – Saraswati has knowledge, Lakshmi has money, and Durga has power. We need to have a holistic environment where everyone supports each other.