Women Leading The Way And Driving Change

Neha Sethi, Head of Marketing at Teleperformance India, talks about how the technology industry has been working towards removing gender bias over the last decade. Sethi is an active member of the TP Women board that seeks to address the challenges faced by women in the workplace and drive a positive change


India’s labour force will soon become the largest in the world. By 2027, the working-age population in India will reach 18.6 per cent of the entire global labour force, according to a United Nation’s population-projection report. While women now make up 34 per cent of the IT workforce in India, there is still a long way to go when it comes to female representation in leadership roles. Over the last decade, the technology industry has been working to minimise pre-existing gender bias and has introduced many effective initiatives to bring more women into entry-level IT roles. However, as we move upwards through a company’s leadership structure, we see less and less women in senior positions. Gender equality in the workspace has endless benefits; bringing more perspectives to a traditionally male-dominated industry can provide the ‘human touch’ needed to make each interaction simpler, faster, safer, and more cost-effective. 

Looking beyond the business case for diversity and inclusion, there are many reasons why both should be at the top of a company’s agenda. 

• Having female leaders in positions of influence is not only critical to the career advancement of other women but can generate broader social impact on pay equity, changing workplace policies in ways that benefit both men and women while attracting a more diverse workforce. 

• Diversity in skills, opinions and backgrounds has been proven to enhance innovation, cohesion, quality of work and overall business performance. 

• Diversity and inclusion can also play an important role in recovery and resilience within the workforce.

As previously mentioned, the most drastic gender discrepancies occur not in the entry-level positions but become more conspicuous as you climb higher up the corporate ladder. In my experience, the term ‘work-life balance’ can feel quite limiting at times. As I’m certain millions of other career women do, I often question whether we can continue to be competitive at work while simultaneously leading a healthy personal life. While the number of women enrolling themselves for higher education in India has risen sharply in the last few years, the number of females in the workforce is still notably low. Women remain significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline. One of the many underlying reasons for this may be our tendency to underestimate our own capabilities as women in the workforce. We may not always realise our full potential, but once we are able to consistently tap into it, we will have a direct route to success. In our journey to make senior roles more accessible for women, we have learned that change needs to happen everywhere — from the way we hire and train to the way we provide mentorship programmes. 

 Building a healthy workplace environment that can create a vibrant community requires more than just representation and numbers—it requires a sense of belonging. Cultivating such a workplace environment requires proactive leadership, adaptability, and continuous dialogue between all stakeholders. Today, employees look for workplaces that match their values, have a social impact, foster diversity, and promote inclusion in ways that make them feel safe and valued. 

Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, employees are driven more by a company’s beliefs and values than ever before. A Harvard Business Review study showed that a high sense of belonging is linked to a 56 per cent rise in job performance, a 75 per cent drop in sick days and a 50 per cent decrease in turnover risk. This points toward the fact that inclusion is closely linked to employee engagement, which, in turn, is also a critical component of employee retention, productivity, and financial performance. Employees with higher workplace belonging also showed a 167 per cent increase in their willingness to recommend their company to others. 

At Teleperformance, our TP Women platform is designed to not only address the challenges faced by women in the workplace but to also activate positive change and empower women in both their professional and personal lives. Our objective is to support equal opportunity and participation at all levels of our company, while providing training for our employees on topics such as implicit gender bias and educating them on various other issues regarding gender differences in the workplace. In our eyes, there is immeasurable value in helping to elevate these important discussions and enacting change in our industry at a local level as well as a on a global scale. In addition to our company’s broader commitment to the principles of fairness, equality and respect, we expand on these values by living out a commitment to proactively promote gender awareness, equality, and empowerment.

(The article appeared  in the August issue of BW People publication)

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