Women in Technology – the GS Lab Story
With all the recent focus on women in technology and the question of whether women are adequately represented in the software industry, I felt that the GS Lab experience is worth sharing. We are really proud to share that women contribute at each level in the organization, work towards its success, while building successful careers and fulfilling lives for themselves.
As women in technology, when we start out in our careers, we all dream of heading an organization someday, with a string of accolades that create a great story. The zest to succeed, achieve milestones and do that extra bit is equal if not more in women as men. However, we don’t foresee how our roles in our professional and personal domains may conflict, forcing us to make some difficult choices. Typically these hard choices face many working women just when they have established their professional credibility.
For organizations, it’s always a struggle to find and retain talent, yet very few go that extra mile to protect the strength within, especially women with experience and skills. At GS Lab, we identified a need to focus on retaining this talent and have been working through the years to create an organization where women in technology would love to work, where they can create a career path, and can stay while balancing personal responsibilities, especially when their children are young.
So what are some of the ways in with GS Lab has created a conducive atmosphere for women employees? Firstly, we have a good representation of women across all levels in the organization, which inspires many others to join us and pursue their careers. Secondly, the organizational culture encourages dialog and participation, incorporating diverse views and identities. Thirdly, policies that offered some degree of flexibility enabled women to progress in their careers while managing home and family responsibilities. Flexible working hours, the option to work from home and multiple leave options were structured to provide this flexibility to working women in technology.
Shridhar Shukla, the founder and MD of GS Lab, says “We were clear from the start that we wanted to create an organization that would not only incorporate diversity, but would encourage every individual to fulfill her potential. When it came to recruitment and promotions, we ensured that no bias crept into the selection process. These basic values have helped to create our large percentage of women employees, a number that will grow even further, I’m sure”.
Here are some experiences shared by women colleagues about their careers in technology and their success mantras.
A senior manager at GS Lab, Manisha Deshpande, shares her thoughts, “I started my career about 14 years ago after a post-graduation in Computer Science. My career in technology has always been interesting and challenging. I believe that ‘technology is woven into everything’, which makes the work fast paced and dynamic! I am happy to say that throughout my journey almost all the people with whom I have worked (especially male colleagues) have been very supportive.
I believe that each individual has to face challenges in some or the other form. It’s just that being a woman brings in some unique challenges. For me striking the right and effective balance between work and life has been important goal, and will remain so, as both are very important to me. Flexible hours at the office and strong support systems, both at work and in the family, helped to achieve this challenging although not impossible, goal.
To young women starting out in the workplace, I would like to say that do what you love and are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to fail and keep learning. Technology keeps evolving, so accept changes and challenges and keep growing.”
Rupali Kumar, who works as a manager at GS Lab, speaks about a career in technology and the career-family balancing act, “It feels great to be part of one of the leading sectors, the IT industry and I believe this has given me an opportunity to contribute in ways that help society. It’s a great feeling to build software that simplifies a user’s life. So the whole journey has been very exciting as well as challenging.
With growing responsibilities on the personal front, there are different challenges that came my way but I think that if you are in right environment you can overcome these. The biggest challenge for me was when I entered the new phase of my life, motherhood. It’s a mixed feeling – on one side you have your career and on other, a little one for whom you are the world. You have a big responsibility to take good care of your child and at that time I felt unsure of whether I would be able to do justice to both.
The work environment plays a very important role here. Some policies such as flexible working hours and work-from-home definitely helped. The biggest support I got from the organization was the flexibility to take on different roles at work to suit my personal journey. In addition, the open culture in the office helped a lot. I found that there are people who understand the different challenges I am facing, will listen to me and extend support and guidance to building a successful career.”