Women in IT

Strengthening Women’s Power

Anita Kukreja, Head – Marketing & Channel Sales, IceWarp India

We need to make education more gender-sensitive, raise aspirations of girls and their parents, recognize gender pay-gap and have more women in leadership roles, says Anita.

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“At IceWarp, we encourage women participation, share leadership power to enhance other self-worth, and motivate others about their work.”

Anita Kukreja,
Head – Marketing & Channel Sales
IceWarp India

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The International Women’s Day was celebrated with the customary pomp and fanfare this month a few days back. Despite all the buzz surrounding women’s empowerment and conversations on gender diversity in tech, women are still underrepresented and often discriminated against in the tech industry, if we go by the numbers. But the silver-lining in the cloud has been the recent strides taken by the fair sex in various walks of life, including the IT industry.

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day and in celebration of and gratitude to Women’s Power, we have embarked upon cataloguing the achievements and voices of leading women in the tech industry.

In a special interaction with SME Channels, Anita Kukreja, Head – Marketing & Channel Sales at IceWarp India, reveals her views on gender parity; how women can reach leadership positions in the IT industry; what it takes to handle business-critical roles; and how to strike a balance between personal life and critical professional roles. Edited excerpts…

As a society, do you think we have been able to ensure gender equality? What needs to be done to attain this?  

The journey towards attaining gender equality is a long one that we all are collectively working on as a society. I believe, in order to achieve this goal, we need to do a number of things on fundamental levels to empower women by making education more gender-sensitive, raising aspirations of girls and their parents, recognizing gender pay-gap and valuing ‘women’s work’ as well as having more women in leadership positions. We, as a society, need to continuously work together to ensure gender equality.

Please shed some light on your work environment. Would you dub it women-friendly? 

The way our organization views women managers is not really different from the way they view or treat men. What matters the most is the leadership qualities, commitment, and of course ability to work in a team and motivate other team members.

Our organization is quite dynamic and gives equal growth opportunities to both men and women. In fact, I feel quite respected at work and right decisions are always appreciated. I have never had to face any discrimination or comparison with other male managers. Our organization follows a simple fundamental rule that the one who gives his/her hundred percent should be duly rewarded.

In Our organization, the words used to define women at managerial level are honest, trustworthy, communicative, respectful, knowledgeable and transparent at the workplace. In fact, here at IceWarp, women play a major role of leveller or catalyst in making our position cemented in the market. They contribute towards better return on equity and sales and excel to serve on corporate boards.

At IceWarp, we encourage women participation, share leadership power to enhance other self-worth, and motivate others about their work.   All these things push women to contribute and to feel powerful and important to create a win- win platform which is good for the employees and for the organization.

In the corporate world, there are still very few women in leadership positions in Indian organizations. How do you look at this as a successful woman? 

The ratio is low but it has improved drastically from the previous years and decades. It is a slow process as we are overcoming a ton of barriers and challenging stereotypes and any kind of impactful change takes time. As a woman professional and an optimist, I choose to see the glass as half full by looking at the increasing number of women leaders in traditionally male-dominated domains like IT and more female professionals joining the workforce. Of course, we have a long way to go but we should also celebrate the small wins to keep the momentum going.

On your journey as a career woman, have you ever faced gender stereotyping? 

Right from my childhood I have been fortunate enough to have been raised by a father who always believed in me and treated me as equal as my brothers. Later in my career again I got to work with excellent bosses who have always encouraged me and given me equal opportunities to participate and contribute in the decision making and growth of the organization. I

Working women are still juggling with challenges at workplaces, what should they do to overcome those challenges in order to be successful?

There is no doubt that women are doing great jobs in today’s business and corporate world across the globe. Women are like the ‘spine of IT Industry’ – always open to take the uncertain risk backed with proper strategy and execution plan. Hence, it would be safe to say that they are not the “Line Managers” but “Corporate Ladder” on which company’s success largely depends upon.

But yet they continue to face the typical challenges at their work station and sometimes, these challenges are left unidentified or unaddressed.  

  • Lack of Cooperation: I believe that cooperation at the workstations makes a huge difference between achieving the targets and achieving the targets with appreciation for all industries, especially in the marketing industry.  In my working professional career, I have come across that due to lack of cooperation, colleagues divide themselves into groups. And when such things happen, misunderstandings prevail, especially with women. When arguments prevail, workstations are not considered as a highly enjoyable place which needs to be. So, I think increasing cooperation while dealing with female employees, managers as a leader can make their place and team more welcoming which helps in building a strong team bond, reduce conflicts and no employee will be dissatisfied and eager to leave their job.
  • Lack of Interpersonal Communication Skills: Apart from establishing a relationship with colleagues, I believe that good interpersonal skills help to influence group performance and motivate the amount of effectiveness of teamwork in the organization. In the workplace, we need to be able to connect and relate not only with the team members of our own team but with other teams as well. Good interpersonal skills help women employees with high regard in the corporate world and help them to stand out from the crowd who are doing their job with mediocre skills.

It is not always an easy thing to overcome the above-mentioned problems faced by women at the workplace, but it is worth the effort because it leads to a more harmonious and productive operation.

How do you ensure work-life balance? 

It has never been an easy task for any working professional to manage and maintain work-life balance.  It has been more than 18 years that I have been working professionally and in my current role I am heading the Channels & Marketing team at IceWarp.  Just like other women, I have had my shares of struggle in striking the right work-life balance. But as they say that resilience is one of the major strengths of a woman. I took a seat back and struck to the following steps to manage my work and my personal life.

I believe that if you want to be a successful working woman, it’s important to set your priorities, both in personal and professional, in proper order.

To understand your responsibilities at different levels, it is always good to ask yourself a few questions about what tasks can be delayed for some time, what are the important commitments, etc. Basically, prioritize your To-do-list and you will be able to make your decisions right and on time.

Making out some time to do things you actually love is the secret to maintaining a perfect work-life balance. Sometimes, it’s okay to think about yourself, have some leisure time. Watch your favorite movie, meet a friend, read a book, travel solo, or just do nothing at all. Learn to take care of yourself because only then you would be able to take care of your family and your work.

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