Women in tech workforce set to increase by 2027

Despite the promising projections, the report underscores the persistent gender gap in the tech industry. As of 2024, there are 3.61 million male workers compared to 2.05 million female workers. This disparity is attributed to various obstacles such as educational barriers, gender pay disparities, safety concerns, and discriminatory practices, which need to be urgently addressed. 

However, India has significantly promoted inclusivity and empowerment in the high-skill space. Female enrollment has increased by 28% over the past decade, and women now comprise 43% of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, one of the highest rates globally. Moreover, according to the World Bank, the employment-to-population ratio for women has risen from 19.1% in 2018 to 27% in 2022.

Despite the advancements, the translation of women’s increased participation in STEM fields into leadership roles within the tech sector remains disproportionate. While women represent 34% of entry-level tech positions, this percentage drastically declines as seniority increases, with only 11% in leadership roles (15-20 years of experience) and 8% in C-suite positions. This disparity, as the report underlines, is a result of unconscious bias, limited promotion opportunities, and challenges balancing work and family commitments. This underscores the urgent need for comprehensive interventions to support women’s advancement in India’s tech landscape.

Need for intervention

There is an urgent need to amplify female participation in the tech domain, which requires particpation by the government, tech companies and other stakeholders.  Some of the measures include:

  • Return-to-Work Programs: These initiatives acknowledge the challenges women face when they re-enter the workforce after a career break, usually due to caregiving responsibilities or other life events. These programs provide personalised support and training to assist women in updating their skills, regaining confidence, and transitioning back into the workforce smoothly. Mentorship opportunities, networking events, flexible work arrangements, and access to resources such as workshops or online courses are included in these programs. 
  • Pay Equity Efforts: Ensuring pay equity in the workplace requires transparent salary structures and regular pay audits. Transparent salary structures help to ensure that compensation decisions are based on objective factors rather than subjective ones, which reduces the likelihood of gender bias in pay. Regular pay audits help to identify and rectify any disparities in pay between male and female employees who perform similar roles.
  • Promoting Female Role Models in STEM: Efforts to promote female role models in STEM aim to challenge stereotypes, inspire confidence, and showcase the diverse contributions women have made to these fields. These initiatives empower girls to envision themselves in similar roles and pursue their passions without gender-based limitations. Additionally, female role models act as mentors and advocates, providing guidance and support to aspiring women and helping to build a more inclusive and innovative workforce for the future.
  • Wellbeing and safety: Companies are increasingly supporting the well-being and safety of their female employees. This includes offering dormitory accommodations with enhanced security measures and extending comprehensive safety measures such as Mediclaim and accidental insurance coverage. If these interventions are implemented effectively, they have the potential to significantly improve the representation and advancement of women in the tech sector.

Road ahead

In the coming years, tech roles such as quantum computing scientist, blockchain developer, artificial intelligence (AI) ethics officer, AI researcher, cybersecurity analyst, 5G technology specialist and edge computing specialist will be sought after, so it is imperative to increase the percentage of women in tech sectors. This is not just about gender equality, but about driving innovation and economic growth. Studies have shown that diverse teams are more innovative and productive, and companies with more women in leadership positions tend to have higher financial returns. The report concluded by saying that the next five years will be critical for the country to attain an 8% GDP growth rate and that women must account for more than half of the new workforce generated by 2030.