While more women in India are joining premier academic institutions to pursue engineering, medicine and other professional courses, not all of them end up applying for jobs. Health issues, pressure to keep families as top priority and lack of flexible opportunities are often cited as reasons for a meagre number of women opting for a professional career in India.
At a panel discussion conducted by VCCircle, Durga Raghunath, Co-founder Juggernaut, Anu Sridharan, Co-founder NextDrop and Zoya Brar, founder CORE Diagnostics spoke to Raju Narisetti, senior vice president, strategy, News Corp, (parent of VCCircle) at Tech Circle Summit in Bengaluru. Following are some excerpts from the panel discussion.
The expectations from first generation learners is very minimal, they often think that they at least got the opportunity for education or even a job instead of asking, “Am I being treated equally?” We do not talk much about the social barriers that exist in our country. Even today in the north very few women are encouraged to take up a professional life as their primary life.
It’s often seen that women need to balance both work and family a lot more than men. The later often tends to get a free pass when it comes to kids.
There is a complete lack of empathy in the workplace into the deeper problems that women face on a day-to-day basis. Unless we talk about this, we cannot get to the point of bringing a woman to a workplace.
Durga Raghunath of Juggernaut said, “Currently I am finding it very difficult to employ women for my startup, I don’t get enough resumes. There are lots of women who go to engineering colleges, but not enough women come and apply for jobs.”
Receiving funds isn’t a challenge
According to a recent report (http://tcrn.ch/23WcZD0 ), only 7 per cent of the partners at the top venture funds across the globe are women. However, the women at Tech Circle’s panel unanimously agreed that raising funds has not been much of a challenge as a woman entrepreneur if they possessed a track record and experience in executing things and setting things up.
Challenge of being a non-IIT startup
Being a non-IT startup is a bigger hurdle in the system. Startups in India should adopt a culture wherein they are “OK” with people working for “regular” number of working hours.
NextDrop’s Anu Sridharan said that everyone irrespective of what their gender is undergoes a lot of stress at their workplace and there should be more discussions on how one could de-stress. Anu, who also has a personal blog, said every entrepreneur, should have a coping mechanism otherwise you will not survive.
One sees a lot of socializing taking place at an editorial workplace, which is something that seems to be missing from the tech space. What is friendlier is generally a easier culture to sustain.
Startups must give a serious thought to the way they structure their organizations. At CORE, the concept of open workspace is encouraged with the whole team having lunch at the same place, having the same laptop which helps people from being singled out.