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Closing the Gender Gap for Women in Tech

Meghna Bajpai

Challenges will never be scarce for women anywhere, especially for women who choose to, or have to, be employed. And yet, in the spirit of counting one's blessings, I can safely say that there’s never been a better time to be a woman in the Indian IT space. The industry has done considerably well on the diversity front by walking the talk and taking proactively thoughtful measures. Women’s participation in the IT workforce is third-highest, at 34%, among all non-agricultural sectors in the country after e-commerce and retail as per a NASSCOM study. TCS with a figure of 36.5% is on the better side of the national statistic and is, in fact, one of the largest employers of women globally.

I would like to share my perspective of what a TCS career means, and I do believe my opinion may be fairly representative of many women like me.

But first, let's start by looking at the larger picture.

India is at the 140th position in the Global Gender Gap Index 2021 published by the World Economic Forum. The gap is pretty much global in nature though. As per the report accompanying the rankings, at the current rate, it will take us 267.6 years to close the gender gap in Economic Participation and Opportunity worldwide! A major factor behind this projection is income disparity. The pandemic hasn’t helped — a study by the International Labour Organization suggests that 5% of all employed women lost their jobs as compared to 3.9% of employed men. Furthermore, LinkedIn data shows a noticeable decline in women’s hiring for leadership roles. Hopefully, things will only look up from here on. In fact, my optimism has found a solid basis in something TCS recently did to fix an anomaly in the gender equation.

A significant yet easily overlooked phenomenon impacting workplace diversity is the difficulty faced by women who were once employed but had to take an extended break for unavoidable personal reasons and now want to get their career back on track. Simply stated, domestic duties compel more women than men to give up working — for months and years. And when such a woman tries to re-enter the job market, her profile often falls short in comparison with an equally qualified candidate who was not on a break. The challenge may be magnified by a lack of the most current skills needed and a level of self-confidence on the individual's part, in addition to unfavorable employment offers such as “shift” jobs. As a result, a female professional wanting to come back to the workplace after a break, must brace herself or be realistic that she may face rejection by most big recruiters.

The fact that this has an unfortunately high occurrence should be enough for the industry to take corrective action. Even as an “outsider”, I had always heard good things about TCS, such as the organization’s employee-friendly policies and work culture here, not to mention the unique additional avenues for learning and sharing an assortment of skills.

And I was familiar with the business ethics that the Tata group is known for globally, which I now formally know as the Tata Code of Conduct.  What really struck a chord with me, though, was TCS’ ability to offer a diverse array of roles, and its considerate and empowering approach to challenges faced by the female workforce. This strongly resonated with what I wanted for myself, and I was fortunate enough to turn my aspirations into reality.

I was, hence, not surprised but of course, immensely pleased when TCS introduced Rebegin earlier this year — a special initiative that focuses on women with a career gap who seek to come back to the corporate space. All you need is at least two years of uninterrupted past work experience to be eligible for consideration as a full-time employee with as much of a shot as anybody else, without worrying about how long the gap has been! And all that matters is your talent.

A new, high-powered program called Leadership and Diversity (LeaD) at TCS, currently headed by Dr. Ritu Anand—one of the most acclaimed HR veterans in the industry—is worth getting familiar with. Dr Anand is one of the many powerful women leaders at TCS whose inspiring stories I had read about. I remember an article she was featured in, where she says, “We want to provide an equitable workplace. The thought I want to leave you with is equality versus equity. We don’t want to be equal; we want to provide an equitable workspace.” That’s a crucial distinction, I think.

Women in TCS constitute 13% of the workforce at the senior level, 30% at the middle level and 45% at the junior level. While one may rightfully say we still have a long way to go to reach where we should ideally be, I look at the glass half full — because the numbers and related trends are actually encouraging in light of how far we have come in making the workplace more accessible for women, as an industry and as a society. I can confidently say that TCS remains committed on the path to balancing the scales for women in the IT scene.

The road to gender equity in the corporate workspace is possibly a long and bumpy one, but we are getting there –one step at a time. I would like to list some formal recognitions that were recently conferred upon TCS –these reaffirm our position as a change leader especially in workplace diversity and inclusivity:

These accolades underline the employee-centricity I have experienced first-hand at TCS; something the organization constantly seeks to enhance through initiatives like Rebegin. I could go on and on about how this is an organization with a difference, but I would sincerely like you to see for yourself! Whether you wish to begin or rebegin your career, be assured that you have come to the right place. Come, explore a career opportunity with TCS.

About the author

Meghna Bajpai
Starting her journey with the TCS Talent Acquisition team in 2014, Meghna has explored multiple roles throughout her tenure. From being a recruiter to being part of the first RPO on-shore Knowledge Transfer (KT) team and now handling the location lead role for Kolkata, she attributes her zeal to learn and the multitude of opportunities offered within TCS to be key to her growth. Living by the mantra, ‘change is the only constant’, Megha believes continuous upskilling is the defining factor to success.