Despite the fact that gender barriers have significantly weakened in the workplace, India still has a long way to go in establishing an all-round friendly atmosphere for women at work. Most women in India’s corporate sectors struggle with prejudices and preconceptions at work and frequently miss out on the same opportunities, job profiles, or pay grades as their male colleagues. In fact, women’s labor force participation in India actually decreased from around 36% in 2021 to a little over 33% in 2022.
As such, it is today imperative for both the government and private businesses to collaborate in order to create a workplace that is more supportive of women. Economic progress and societal advancement are also greatly impacted by empowering women to hold leadership positions. In 2021, 87% of the top 500 firms with female decision-makers recorded above-average earnings, compared to only 78% of those without a female CEO, according to research from international IT recruiting agency Frank Recruitment Group.
At e-con Systems, women head Marketing, Outbound Sales, Branding, HR, Legal, Product Development, Service Delivery, Quality – that’s a mouthful. This is clearly an indication, that we believe in having the right person at the role and that the gender is immaterial.
Anecdotes from women leaders of today
Today a Project Manager at e-con Systems, an end-to-end OEM camera solutions provider and pioneer in embedded vision systems, Gomathi Pappa’s career of 20 years has been wrought with many challenges. “Earlier in my career, while working with a foreign organization, I was leading a complex credit card module project, and was the only woman on the team. However, during the testing phase, it was found that there had been a discrepancy with someone misusing the card for their personal purchases. And since I was leading the project, the suspicion and responsibility both fell on me. I will never forget the intense scrutiny and monitoring I had to face during those 15 days, but thanks to the guidance and support of my reporting manager, I was able to overcome my fears and get to the bottom of the matter. As a result, not only did I successfully clear my name, but we also received an apology note from our client along with generous accolades for me and my organization. The experience ultimately ended up empowering me to deal with high-stress crisis situations and eventually take on even more critical, leadership roles in my career.”
At e-con Systems, my leadership skills coupled with the support from the management helped me sustain COVID-19. To meet the competitive demand and meet the delivery deadlines during COVID-19 crisis, e-con gave me the “freedom to explore”, a culture strongly practiced here. I was allowed to do the fabrication & assembly in a different country, bring up the board remotely and successfully deliver the product on time to the customer. This highly motivated the team.
e-con Systems gave me an opportunity to undergo training on “Public speaking” skills which helped me to impart training for women safety & POSH awareness to all e-con women employees.
Ongoing gendered challenges and addressing the same
Many of the difficulties women experience in the workplace today are still deeply ingrained in age-old patriarchal concepts. Therefore, to foster growth, it is important to provide an atmosphere where they get equal opportunities and equal renumeration as their male counterpart. Firms nowadays need to cautious and address unconscious gender bias. To attract and keep women in the workforce, strategies like upskilling, mentoring, and leadership development at par with men along with menstrual and maternal leave policies, financial aid, and POSH committees and more, are a must.
Leading by example
Wahidennisa Rahiman, a Senior Manager, Program Management at e-con Systems adds, “During my career, I had worked on several customer-centric products, but I never had ownership of the entire product as my scope with the product development life cycle was limited. But at e-con systems, I received the opportunity to work on the complete product development life cycle from POC till product launch and production release. Being given ownership of the product filled me with pride and a sense of responsibility, which motivated me immensely. It also helped me learn about the many intrinsic parts and teams involved in the process – not just development alone, but marketing, sales, campaigning, and branding teams working together to create pioneering products and solutions for the industry.”
Owing e-con’s focus on women’s empowerment and nuanced approach to gender diversity, the female workforce participation in the organization grew by 41% in 2022, with 26% of the same consisting of women in senior leadership roles. Having more women leaders in the organization has also inspired many of the younger and newer employees to grow as a leader, and in turn, encouraging friends and acquaintances in their circle to join the organization. In addition, e-con Systems also offers flexible timings to help maintain work-life balance and ensures cab facilities for women employees who leave late from office, along with comprehensive safety protocols to create a conducive environment for their growth.
Skill-based female empowerment
Furthermore, one of the biggest challenges for the contemporary professional sector today is the skill gap, especially with the market being disrupted by cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning. Technological improvements, however, can also result in new career possibilities, and hence, organizations must help bridge the gender gap by promoting and educating women in par with men about technical tools and procedures in order to develop highly competent professionals who are able to fully utilize their potential. By holding regular training and mentorship programs in digital and technical skills and team bonding exercises, organizations like e-con Systems are today creating a benchmark for empowering women at every stage of their professional growth journey to enhance female leadership and participation in the workplace.
– Maheshwari Dhayanandan, Vice President – Product & Manufacturing Quality, e-con systems