By Meera Vankipuram
Mint, New Delhi
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Wequity” is a new venture based in India which hopes to address the significant gender gap in technology. The Wequity.tech site launches next month and will include discussion boards, mentoring, and networking opportunities for women.
When Bengaluru-based IT professionals Geetha Kannan, Divya Ravindranath and Abhinaya S Rao were researching their new venture, they found two major gaps in the technology industry in India — lack of role models for women and continuous engagement, in the context of learning and development programs.
To address some of these gaps and help the professional growth of women in IT, the trio, on Friday announced the launch of their new venture, Wequity.
Kannan, Ravindranath and Rao have worked at Infosys Ltd and other multinational firms.
“In my experience, I have seen that when a training or conference is announced, women don’t raise their hand first. Research also says the same.
If there is a job opportunity or promotion, even if a man is not a 100% there, he will apply for the role whereas women will not apply till they are a 100% and more there,” said Kannan, who has also had stints at Wipro, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ Bank).
Women, she added, have just started talking about their pay.
The company has a core digital offering and other offline services that will provide women seeking to grow in the technology space, access to networks, knowledge and growth resources. The company has also instituted five awards dedicated to women in technology role models, including male sponsors, called the Wequity Awards. One of the award categories, for example, is for a female tech expert who has one or more technical patents.
The Wequity.tech site will be launched on 20 February. “It is a tech portal. There will be discussion boards, mentoring, networking opportunities, information on events, job posts, and career insights,” Kannan said.
Companies that join this community will get access to collaboration and multiple tools to support a more diverse tech workforce through hiring and inclusive actions, the statement added. Kannan, CEO, Wequity said, “…In everything we do, we operate in a collaborative mode with the women in tech community and their network supporters, which includes technology organisations and eventually academia, entrepreneurs and other ecosystem partners.”
Ravindranath, chief community officer for Wequity, said the digital platform will provide “continuous and customised engagement for the women in technology network.” “Wequity.tech will be the first in the world to provide a safe and secure space for any woman to learn, network, explore, teach, mentor and grow through a community driven, self-sustaining model. The platform is only for women, technology organisations and ecosystem collaborators,” Ravindranath said. She added that the site offers a first-level free service with membership options at a later stage.
Prioritization of gender diversity and concerted efforts, such as return-to-work and mentoring programmes for women, implemented by companies across India have had a positive impact on gender diversity ratios, according to the Zinnov-Intel Gender Diversity Study 2019.
Representation of women in corporate India has increased to 30% now from 21% five years ago, with higher representation in non-technical roles (31%) over technical roles (26%), the study by management consulting firm Zinnov, in collaboration with Intel India, has shown. However, only 11% of senior leaders are women, compared with 20% in mid-level roles and 38% in junior roles, it said.
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