Isha Ambani Pitches For Systemic Change For Greater Role Of Women In India's Tech Force - Vibes Of India

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Isha Ambani Pitches For Systemic Change For Greater Role Of Women In India’s Tech Force

| Updated: May 15, 2024 17:31

Isha M Ambani, Director, Reliance Industries Limited has pitched for greater participation of women workforce in the field of science and technology.

Speaking at the Girls in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Day India 2024 in New Delhi, Isha Ambani said, “We are living in times of exponential changes. The world is changing, the world is innovating, and if we are to survive in this fast-changing world, we too must innovate. Already, the way we work has changed, and it will further change. So, for everyone present here today: Be ready to embrace the change. Be prepared to take up Science & Technology as career options because Science & Technology hold the key to the future.”

“Sadly though, even today, there is a gender divide in India’s tech workforce,” Ambani added.

“According to NASSCOM, only 36% of India’s tech workforce are women – blame it on age-old dogmas and societal stereotypes such as women are best suited as teachers and jobs involving soft skills,” she said.

“A similar disturbing aspect is the drop in the number of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-focused roles. Data from World Bank shows that women make up 43 per cent of the total STEM graduates in India, but account for only 14 per cent of all scientists, engineers, and technologists,” she further said.

Isha Ambani reminded the guests that India has a favourable demographics to make tremendous progress in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as the Digital Era, and emerge as a world leader.

“If we are to drive home the advantage of our demographics, both men and women should attain their fullest potential. A male-dominated STEM / ICT landscape, where women are under-represented, will rob India of its opportunity to rule the roost. We have missed the first two Industrial Revolutions and were merely playing catch-up during the third. This era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has given us the opportunity to make amends. So, for India to shine, more and more girls – the women of tomorrow – must enter the realm of STEM and opt for technology as career. Because if we are to build the India of our dream, technology will be our driving force, and both men and women in Science & Technology must fire on all cylinders,” she added.

Raising concern at the lack of adequate representation of women in the tech workforce of the country, the Ambani scion said, ” In the ever-evolving landscape of tech industry, the under-representation of women in workforce is a debilitating reality. The gender gap does not only signify gender bias, but it is also a hurdle in the path of innovation. Closing this divide is a strategic imperative, necessary for the industry’s, as well as the society’s, holistic growth.”

“While women make up 36% of India’s tech workforce, their presence drops drastically as one starts looking up the corporate hierarchy. For instance, only 7% women held executive-level positions, only 13% were working in director-level roles, a mere 17% held mid-managerial positions. Even the new-age start-up ecosystem is grappling with the problem of dismal participation of women. Limited access to funding and resources for female-led start-ups and businesses continues to contribute to the under-representation of women in leadership roles,” Isha added.

Supporting the cause of women, the young director further said, “I personally believe that as leaders, women have an edge over men. Women have empathy and that automatically makes them better leaders. A woman leader, as she climbs up the ladder, will inevitably carry the team with her.”

“I have heard my mother Nita Ambani, a champion of women empowerment, say, time and again: “Empower a man and he will feed a family. Empower a woman and she will feed an entire village.” I believe that what my mother says is true. Women are born leaders. Their innate selflessness makes them better leaders. So, by denying leadership roles to women, we are denying ourselves the chance to realise our full potential,” she added.

Further slamming the superficial representation Isha AMbani said, “Of course, there are signs of changes all around the world. But let me tell you that the changes must be systemic. A token representation just to show diversity and inclusivity on paper will not make any difference. Women employees must be nurtured from early on in their careers. They need to be shown how their growth can play out in a company and how it will go a long way to help the company.”

“The government, under the stewardship of our visionary Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, is making alterations and necessary course corrections, and the results are already showing. In the last decade, there has been a 6% increase in women’s representation in the tech workforce. However, we still have a long way to go to make it a 50-50 man-woman ratio in every sphere of technology and across hierarchies. With the government doing its part, the industry too must chip in to catalyse the transformation,” she said.

Ambani concluded by saing, “Let us pledge to transform our societal frameworks and educational systems to be more inclusive. By empowering women through STEM and ICT, we can unlock untapped potential and inspire a new generation of women to lead in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Let this conference mark the beginning of renewed efforts to ensure that every young woman has the opportunity to pursue her dreams in STEM and ICT. Equal contribution from our female population is essential to sustain our growth and compete on a global scale.”

The event was hosted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India, the International Telecommunications Union (South Asia), the Innovation Centre, Delhi, and other agencies of the United Nations.

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