To say that the pandemic has deepened gender inequities in societal and corporate structures would not be an exaggeration. Statistics say that in a crisis like COVID-19, job loss hits women harder and they find fewer open doors when they want to rejoin the workforce.
Gitanjali Singh, Head of Strategy and Client Success, Visionet BFSI, says, “For a very long time, the contribution of women to the workforce has been invisibilized. How precarious their job security is can be proven by the fact that over 17 million women lost their jobs in April 2020. Not just that, women who worked from home were also burdened with caregiving, the educational needs of their children and unpaid house work. Many of them could not cope and dropped out of the employment stream. The issue is that women are often treated as a reserve work force rather than an intrinsic part of the economy.”
According to a report by McKinsey, women’s jobs have been 180% more vulnerable than that of men due to the weight of unpaid care post the pandemic. Gitanjali says, “When women find it hard to rejoin work, it is imperative for companies to support them with fair and equal wages, flexible hours and better working conditions so that they feel valued and come back to what feels like an equal opportunity workplace.”
Speaking of the tech industry in particular, Gitanjali says, her own company is finding new ways to create an equitable environment for women. In her opinion, women in leadership positions also encourage women who are just starting out to aspire to greater heights.
Says she, “It is a positive sign that more and more women are now being drawn to tech-related jobs and especially in India, women are embracing STEM fields, computer science and engineering. In time, these women will occupy leadership positions and in Visionet alone, we are seeing a huge surge of women who bring with them diversity and creative skills that are unique to them.”
Through projects like ‘Unnati for India,’ informs Gitanajli, Visionet is also helping women to upskill themselves in order to respond to the fast evolving tech world.
Gitanjali adds, “All companies must nurture a culture of diversity and inclusion and encourage women to embrace leadership roles. Visionet Systems views women as mentors and leaders rather than invisibilized non-entities doing grunt work that nobody appreciates or acknowledges. It is essential for a company to provide a healthy work culture and environment for the employees to grow to their utmost potential, irrespective of their gender. We are leading by example and offering equal compensation, growth and participation opportunities and the flexibility to balance professional and personal responsibilities.”
Mentoring women leaders is not just about good optics, she says, it makes sound business sense because more women in the workforce improve economic projections of companies and societies.
She concludes, “According to a report by NASSCOM, the female workforce in India’s IT-BPM industry is at about 34% and we are making sure that we change the narrative at least in our company. In Visionet, the participation of women has risen to over 70% in the business processing management space. We want to make this percentage even healthier and address the issue of gender diversity beyond tokenism. The Indian IT sector now has more women in comparison to many other countries and I am sure, the numbers are only going to grow in the years to come.”