Vision 2030: In Tech Women Take The Lead
“Headline 2030: India misses turning into the 3rd largest economy in the world considering only 55% of its demographic asset work: Men.”
My first question to all the men and women today reading this is: Is this really how you envision building India? My second question to society at large is: Do you really want to succumb to the totalitarian, patriarchic wave sweeping the world?
I don’t have a daughter. But both my wife and sister are immensely talented. They are the ones who will bring up the gen next. And honestly, I see them bringing up my children in complete understanding of the world around them, and in complete awareness of their own skills and strengths and ability to contribute constructively.
According to a 2012 report by Booz and Company*, India’s gross domestic could grow by as much as 27 percent if women worked as much as men. And that’s just 2012. Look at it from a macro-economic perspective, every woman involved in the work environment would simply mean a higher inclusive growth for the entire society.
To me, women are the greatest asset that a democratic country like India has. They are no less in talent or merit and are yet more responsible than men – balancing work and family alike. And it is this aspect of their lives that make them more empathetic to society at large around them. Women are the only way out to salvage a society. And India is well poised to make that happen.
But first, what are the challenges?
- Marriage and kids. India ranks 127th on the gender inequality index and 108th on the global gender gap index as per a report by Asia Foundation – this is even lower than Sub-Saharan Africa. This in an era of adequate opportunities for tech enabled working from home, flexi-hours is a huge deterrent.
- The report goes on to elaborate that the “kinds of work women are engaged in. A large segment of India’s working women continue to be engaged in rural agricultural activities. While the country is still largely an agrarian economy, conventional wisdom says that with a growing economy, urbanization, and industrial development, more women should be entering the workforce and into more productive sectors such as manufacturing and services. But this is not the case. The big question is why? Family structure elaborates the report” A different report indicates that Indian men contribute less than 30 minutes a day on house work – the lowest across 15 countries!
- Safety – a huge societal concern! While yes, organisations are increasingly taking safety precautions for their women, society at large needs to stop keeping quiet. We need to build an ecosystem that enables free movement for women and children
Are these achievable objectives?
Let’s be realistic. The question larger than that is whether we want to build an environment that bypasses a minimum of 600 million women capable of working and contributing to society, work environment, consumption and nurturing of the next generation?
If not, then it doesn’t matter whether these look achievable or not. They need to be achieved. And from where I stand today, all of it is achievable. Sure, some may take a few months to achieve while others we will initiate now but see results only a few years hence. But ensuring a work environment is accommodative of current family pressures on women may simply be about ensuring smart technology is at work. Ensuring that work environments and society is safer for women may just be a factor of how we do the micro planning, making one locality at a time safe for women.
As a technology evangelist, why is the role of women so important for me?
For one, it is one of the largest untouched human capital in the world. The sheer population of women captured in the census in India is 652,627,575 – which is literally twice the population of the US as per worldometers.
Secondly, women are the pillars of building any intelligent society capable of growing and nurturing at the same time. They are what one can term as the eyes and ears of society. The ones who face the toughest challenges, the ones who find ways to overcome that. They are perhaps in the best position to talk about what technology can do for them and the society to make a real difference. They are also in the best position to both embrace and enable technology if not create it.
What I found interesting is that along with a very robust EQ, women have the ability to apply logic, reasoning and strong overall assessment of any given problem statement from a holistic point of view. For instance, the ability to answer questions on what will be the functional and emotional benefits from a particular technology feature introduced to the real user is often extremely well captured by women at every level. This to me, as an Indian, is not woman power, but real power as a nation.
The power that can change the headline to: “India turns into the 2nd largest economy in the world banking on 90% of its demographic asset work: Men & Women.”
[The author is a technology evalgelist and currently is the Vice President- Tata Industries- Digital Initiatives, Advisory to Group Co's and CTO of TataCLiQ]
[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Trivone Media Network's or that of CXOToday's.]
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