News & Analysis

International Women in Engineering Day 2022 : Women Leaders Talk about Challenges and the Way Forward

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“It is a widely known fact that women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). When I started on my career journey, there were a limited number of women taking up studies in engineering. I had to persuade my parents to pursue a career in STEM. However, it is encouraging to note that the situation has vastly improved now from what it was a few years ago. With technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, data science, cybersecurity, cloud computing etc. booming in India, it presents a plethora of opportunities for women to take up a career in engineering. Women can contribute so much in this field and get back so much. Added to that, technology has enabled work from anywhere, encouraging more women to join the tech field, addressing the skills gap in the process. 

Leaders also have the responsibility of supporting women through mentorship programmes, peer training, induction, reskilling, and upskilling courses which in turn will help nurture their growth. Every woman leader is working hard to encourage more women to take up this field and make this a reality.  

As part of my contribution to the field, I play an active role as a mentor to Women in Cybersecurity, and to school children as part of the Atal Innovation Mission. CrowdStrike India also provides scholarships to girl students who are meritorious but are unable to pay for their education due to financial difficulties.

Any aspiring engineering graduate needs to possess both technical and soft skills. These include programming languages, technical writing, quality assurance, software skills, problem solving, decision making, and strong business and commercial acumen. They also need to be resilient and learn from prior experience, while embracing innovation at the same time, adapt and overcome any challenges, they shouldn’t stop experimenting new methods from fear of failure. My suggestion to women in the tech industry is to be persistent and diligent. Have an open mind, seize opportunities that come your way, and ensure that your learning never stops.” – Jhilmil Kochar, Managing Director, CrowdStrike India

“Having developed a keen interest in Mathematics at an early age gave me the ambition to build my career in STEM. I am currently working in the rapidly growing domain of cybersecurity at Cyware. In the past, there was a prevailing view that STEM careers are highly dominated by men. However, things are changing as more and more women are stepping up to pursue careers in highly technical and specialised roles. Right from the school days, girls must be encouraged to take part and compete in various extracurricular activities and focus on higher education to develop their technical and soft skills.  The count of women engineers is appallingly low across many industries. Now, companies are trying to ensure that a blend of technical know-how and creativity that women employees offer can be effectively put to use.

India has witnessed a boom in the startup ecosystem which has created many new opportunities for women to join young, dynamic companies innovating in various sectors. On the hiring front, the demand for women in the workplace has kept growing as many companies are looking to build a more diverse talent base. The mantra to succeed has always been “Keep on Keeping On!” I strongly believe that behind every successful woman is a horde of cheerleaders who always support and encourage her in doing things right. I feel lucky to have joined Cyware a year ago as the talented team and experienced leadership have always encouraged me to pursue my interests in DevOps and grow further in my career.

The IT Landscape is changing and many women employees have found their footing and are going strong. And with increasing numbers of women students in engineering colleges, the future looks promising.” -Yugandhara Gaikwad, Principal DevOps Engineer, Cyware


“Despite the various strides towards gender equality, engineering remains one of the industries where women are still under-represented. While an engineering career is extremely rewarding, it can be intimidating to be the ‘only woman’ in the room. You always come across a colleague who will interrupt you when you are speaking or ask you to take meeting notes because you know, ‘women are better at this kind of thing’ therefore, undermining their capability to take on big projects.

Ultimately, organizations that limit their thinking along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity etc., will soon find it difficult to remain competitive and sustainable, as they won’t be able to attract and retain the right talent. Companies that build products need to appeal to a ‘diverse user base’, and it only makes sense that the team producing it reflects the same diversity.

Companies also need to make favourable work environments for women, and the culture of engineering groups in general needs to evolve with the shifting demographic to create a more conducive environment for all employees. We also need more women leaders in the field, which will only come when women are offered equal chances in all aspects, including equal boardroom representation.

For women, it is essential to note that they do not have to be like men to be good engineers, you need to be authentic, inquisitive, and innovative. My advice to upcoming women engineers would be to identify a role model and figure out what qualities you would like to emulate.

Lastly, to all the young talent out there, remember, ‘An Engineer’ is an entirely gender-neutral term, so push outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to try something new!” -Charneeta Kaur, Vice President- Product & Design Extramarks Education

“In the last two years, there has been some progress for women in engineering roles. However only 43% Indian women are STEM graduates and approximately only 14% of them are employed in core engineering or research work. Women constitute only 14% of 280000 scientists in research institutions in India. On the brighter side, the demand for women in STEM is increasing as more companies are looking to fill the talent gap. This is especially true in the IT sector, where there was a 43% increase in hiring from March to August 2021. From a sector perspective, the job share is highest in the IT/BPO sector at 30% followed by the IT/software sector at 22%. Apart from IT/ITeS, demand for women workforce is going up in Financial Services, Baking and Accounting as well; and Bangalore is one of the top cities employing women engineers.

We are optimistic that the demand will further increase as organizations are increasingly aligning themselves to improve gender parity. Gender diversity is key for all companies and they are keen to hire at a higher percentage of women during their campus placements. Top firms are aiming to reduce the gender disparity and achieve a 50:50 ratio within the next few years. Moreover, firms are promoting and hiring more women at managerial and leadership positions as well. However, for this cohort of the workforce to best capitalize on opportunities, it is imperative for them to continuously up skill themselves. With the emergence of metaverse, knowledge in AI, AR, VR will be key. Generally, employers are keen to hire skilled employees in cloud computing and data analytics as well.

Socioeconomic pressures and gender- bias are some of the main reasons women stay away from the engineering field in India. However models of employment that provide flexibility of Work from Home or even Gig employment has been a boon for women and more women are taking up online courses relating to STEM to upskill themselves. WFH and hybrid work options are also bringing more women back into the workforce.”Neeti Sharma, Co-Founder & President, TeamLease EdTech

“There is still much societal bias in deeply ingrained gender stereotypes. Women who do find interest in engineering, and perhaps even study it, find themselves in a very male dominated, competitive environment, and often don’t stick to it. Even for the few women that build a career in the industry, the management level is often dominated by men, which continues to deter women. If there were a few more female engineering managers around, this could encourage more young women to pursue this career, believing they too can climb the ranks and have influence and recognition in this field. 

Don’t get me wrong, we are moving forward, but too slowly to see a significant impact in the numbers. I’ve been in this industry for more than 20 years, and in many ways I feel as though there are even fewer women in engineering. Women tend to take specific roles or areas of study, where the numbers are more balanced, or even predominantly women. 

My advice for girls and women looking to start a career in engineering: Please do it – we need you! Don’t shy away from one of the most fun and rewarding careers on the planet. Learning and being able to build things, solve problems, and innovate with new ideas is addictive! Every day you have the opportunity to add value, solve a problem, be creative, and see the outcome of your work. 

Organisations can do something with and through schools, helping to change some of the systemic problems. Actively seeking to hire more women engineers, contribute scholarships, and encourage their women engineers and leaders to share their stories, and talk more about the great things they are doing in their company, will also help to address this balance. 

After all, diversity brings more rounded and more innovative outcomes. Women often have unique perspectives from men, and this can only result in better outcomes when both can come together to design and build solutions to problems.”   – Lesley Dean, Director- Enablement & Learning at Fluent Commerce

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