For India to shine, more and more girls must take up STEM: Isha Ambani

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Isha Ambani

New Delhi: For India to shine, more and more girls must enter the realm of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) and opt for technology as a career, said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Industries Limited. Addressing virtually on the occasion of ‘Girls in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Day India 2024’, she said that if we are to build the India of our dream, technology will be our driving force, and both men and women in Science and Technology must fire on all cylinders.

Isha Ambani

She asserted that in the ever-evolving landscape of the technology industry, the under-representation of women in the workforce is a debilitating reality. “The gender gap does not only signify gender bias, but it is also a hurdle in the path of innovation.” Closing this divide is a strategic imperative, necessary for the industry’s, as well as the society’s, holistic growth, she said. While women make up 36 per cent of India’s tech workforce, their presence drops drastically as one starts looking up the corporate hierarchy. For instance, she asserted that only 7 per cent women held executive-level positions; only 13 per cent were working in director-level roles; and a mere 17 per cent held mid-managerial positions.

Citing NASSCOM data, Isha Ambani said only 36 per cent of India’s tech workforce are women. The, citing World Bank data, she said that women make up 43 per cent of the total STEM graduates in India, but account for only 14 per cent of all scientists, engineers, and technologists. “Even the new-age start-up ecosystem is grappling with the problem of dismal participation of women. Limited access to funding and resources for female-led start-ups and businesses continues to contribute to the under-representation of women in leadership roles.” Women are no less suited to be leaders and change-makers than men, she noted.

Bringing her mother Nita Ambani, who she called a champion of women empowerment, in her address, Isha Ambani said time and again her mother says, “Empower a man and he will feed a family. Empower a woman and she will feed an entire village.” “I believe that what my mother says is true. Women are born leaders. Their innate selflessness makes them better leaders. So, by denying leadership roles to women, we are denying ourselves the chance to realise our full potential,” Isha Ambani said.

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