Women in IT – Are we really Empowered?

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Are we really empowered.... women series

(Images are taken from the www, and are for representational purpose only)

“Am I strong and confident enough to say that I am empowered?”

Until a few days back, I was thinking that I am an empowered woman. I had a choice on my education as well as the company that I could work for; and am financially self-sufficient. But now, after facing/hearing many, repeated troublesome issues I question myself, “Am I strong and confident enough to say that I am empowered?” Does women empowerment stand only with the opportunities of education and getting a job? What else is contributing to woman empowerment!!!

Let’s think for a while…

Being able to make a living and support oneself is certainly a critical piece of the empowerment puzzle, but it is ONLY ONE piece

At the time of recruitment (at least in the IT field), we are recruited without any gender discrimination and number of female employees is almost equal to the number of male employees. But had we ever thought that how many women are able to sustain in this field for more than 7 years? (5 – 8 is the average experience period within which a female employee usually quits). The woman ratio decreases as seniority increases. It is because most of the time we are left only with a single option, forced to choose that option and convince ourselves, instead of fighting/claiming for equal right/equal options that a male employee has.

One of my friend was taken into a new project, saying that it is a development and regular shift project; but after joining, she has been asked to come in shifts or extend work in the late evenings/night for onsite/client calls, most importantly without cab facility. Though she is not agreeing, at one point she can’t say ‘No’ because of the factor that IT is down and requirements are very less for her technology. Once her manager realized that, he engaged her with late evening calls and discussions without her consent. And she started stretching and staying late in office.

Is she really empowered? Remember that the world doesn’t value your silence and tolerance as dedication/ hard work / determination, rather, they think you are voiceless and take you for granted.

There are a few projects for which employees are asked to work on Sundays. But most of the time cab is not provided for facilities within the city limit or they provide cab only between 8:30 pm to 5 a.m. If we raise concern on this, to manager or transport admin, they say that the system will not allow to raise request beyond this time.

Had we ever questioned who created the system/app? And for whom it is all created?

There are circumstances where you would be the only person to work on a holiday in the entire ODC/wing without A/c, not even fan, no lights, no proper catering and no other essential amenities. The reality is “You are expected to work with all these noes’ without telling NO”.

The companies/management show interest in recruiting spinsters into their projects but they hesitate to take married woman; the doors are even sealed for new mothers who just wish to re-build their career after maternity. Due to this many new mothers change their career path from IT dev to other IT related works namely, PMO, Finance team, Testing, DE activities, Academy etc.

Gender inequality is not only in the project opportunities, but also in VISA initiation/Deputation. Married woman/ new mothers/engaged girls in the team are often not considered for VISA initiation. The management often takes decision on its own without our consent/discussion saying that,

  • “Her parents are seeking for an alliance; she would get married soon and quit after marriage”,
  • “She cannot be that productive after marriage; she cannot attend project/client calls”,
  • “She is under fertility treatment; she cannot concentrate on work or she might get pregnant soon”,
  • “She is having baby and no one is there to look after; so she would often take leaves or leave early from office; she cannot stretch and give her 100%”,
  • “She is right from the maternity; she would have forgotten all her technical; we cannot be experimenting by taking her into the project”,
  • “She is newly married and she might get pregnant; so if we promote her, we cannot utilize her in the project”,

image from anitab.org (helping women in tech succeed)

Most of these judgements are made without any interview/discussion and the height of all this is, industry uses these statements to deny promotion, VISA initiation, billable project, rating etc to women employees.

There are cases for whom the statements may be true but the majority of the woman want to have both professional and personal life in good shape. And we don’t want others to prejudge our performance!!!

When we ask a fresher in the IT industry about their professional aspiration, everyone has a good career plan, big dreams and a self-motivation to achieve them. But after a few years the same person says, “I just need a job to come out of financial distress; no career plan as such…not sure if I can survive in this field for next couple of years”.

Where is our self-motivation? Our challenging attitude? A tough competitor has become one among the hundreds. It’s time to ask ourselves whether we are happy and self-sustaining with someone else’s decision.

Voice out your distresses at the workplace and find the solution to prove to the world once again that women are not the weaker sex!!!

Don’t wait for someone to give you the right! It’s in your hands, Experience it by exercising it!!

– Poongodi

Series NavigationPut an End to Sexual Harassment – Don’t Let them Get Away >>

Permanent link to this article: http://new-democrats.com/women-in-it-are-we-really-empowered/

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