HR needs to create a level playing field for women engineers
It is about empowerment and also about creating value. Indian women engineers are playing a key role in the technology domain, making great strides in the niche aerospace and defense sectors. They have been closely involved in developing mission critical hardware, weapons systems and futuristic aircraft with global OEMs. But the overall presence of women in terms of numbers in the field of engineering and innovation remains considerably low not just in India but in some of the world’s most developed economies. Does the problem lie in preordained perceptions about gender roles or in the lack of opportunities?
The Indian technology industry has always been male dominated with a ratio of just 1 female engineer for every 3 male engineers, as researched by hiring firm Belong.co. According to a report by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sociologists, negative group dynamics experienced by women during team-based work projects make the engineering profession less appealing to women. The study also found that women feel ‘marginalized’ and ‘disillusioned’ during internships and team-based activities where men are offered more challenging opportunities and women are sidelined to managerial roles. As a result, many women scholars drop out of college or do not pursue the profession after graduation. As a validation of this theory, the Indian technology industry today has only 26% women in engineering roles.