Are Technology Advancements At Work – Glass Ceiling Or An Enabler For Women @ Work?

The digital transformation over the last decade and the growing changes in mindset towards traditional way of working has been a big enabler


Technology has helped bring women to work in a big way.

The digital transformation over the last decade and the growing changes in mindset towards traditional way of working has been a big enabler.

Technology and women have come a long way , or have they?

Less than a dozen countries in the world have equal rights for men and women in that country. Gender inequalities in the labor market - whether its participation, salaries, or education continue to exist. This poor statistic should not stop companies from ensuring that there are equal rights for men and women at work.

Globally women account for 39 % of total employment but have accounted for 50 % of COVID layoffs. What can companies do with the help of technology to enable women to do better? I argue this with six points:

1. The biggest need for women is flexibility. We had location-free roles in PepsiCo since 2015 and I was one of the biggest beneficiaries. I did two global/international roles sitting out of Gurgaon, and virtually running an office from my home. One of the roles was sourcing global talent from campus. I remember I ran a mini-MBA masterclass using the PepsiCo India talent for more than 25 of the top business schools. Technology was my partner, and the masterclasses were done on tech platforms. I have interviewed hundreds of candidates across the globe in 2016 and 2017, sourcing high value talent for PepsiCo. We have also always endeavoured to be a champion of flexible working by investing in the right technology and infrastructure to enable the team to work efficiently. Our office in Gurugram is designed using cutting-edge technologies and adopts collaboration tools to facilitate hybrid work culture, thereby ensuring work life balance.

Technology enables flexibility.

. The second need for women concerns children and specifically childcare. The post covid world has accelerated the use of virtual childcare by moms at work, where a mom trusts a virtual childcare company to look after her child while she is at work, and she can monitor the same via a link sitting at her desk or at home. Before COVID, PepsiCo India had a creche at the workplace in 2016. And we noticed that men would also bring their kids and leave them in the creche and it gave us a lot of joy to see the entire family had peace of mind at work. Currently, we have launched the Daycare Discovery Accessing Help that enables PEP parents to access an online daycare platform designed to help working parents find the best childcare options. The interactive tools and resources here help parents facilitates parent-child daycare counselling and decision-making through appointments, parent references, etc. 

Technology enables security


2. It’s not about men and women in forward-looking companies, it is about passion and relevant skills for the future. Here I believe that online skilling is a great boon for women, who can pivot their skills depending on the industry of their choice.

Technology enables development and growth                                                                                                                                                                                   

3. Technology and digital payments at work at all levels has given women more financial empowerment and control over their finances. The salary at every level in society now goes directly into a woman’s digital account. This gives her peace of mind, control over her money and most important privacy. Digital banking empowers women. I recall conversation with our women farmers in Kolkata where they expressed their joy of truly owning their money and of being able to do what they wanted with it – the visible happiness on their faces was priceless.

Technology enables financial inclusion                       

4. There are more collaborative tools at the workplace than ever before. Every study has shown that women tend to be far more collaborative at work. Women tend to use the new collaboratively technology more frequently and better. Women tend to use collaborative, participative and transformational leadership styles. In a world that is super agile, this is a big enabler.

 Technology enables collaboration                                                                                                                                                           

5. In a world that’s get more tech-savvy, one thing everyone wants more of is empathy and warmth. I personally believe that women provide a lot of that in every team . A more tech workplace plays to a woman’s innate strengths.

 Technology enables empathy 


We are seeing more women come through the pipeline now, in schools, in colleges etc. many of the IIMs have about 30 % minimum women in their MBA class. Intake was a major problem 20 years ago, not anymore.

Women today want an organization that’s invested in their career, invested in DEI, an organization that gives them candid feedback and an organization that doesn’t treat them differently from men. Technology is an enabler at the new workplace that should help women break more glass ceilings.

(The article has been curated specially for BW People publication by Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India)

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