Gender and Skilled Migration: Women in the Indian Tech Sector


The increasing presence of women in historically male dominated computing labour market has made it a global success story. Even more worthy of applaud, as the Women and IT Scorecard—India 2018 (Raghuram et al. 2018) shows, is that the Indian tech sector has attained critical mass of women at 35 per cent of the total technical work force. By comparison, the UK has only 17 per cent women (The Chartered Institute for IT 2017), and the US only 25 per cent (Ashcraft et al. 2016), in its IT/Computing labour force. A majority of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries struggle to attract women to pursue higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, but Indian figures from the All India Survey of Higher Education (MHRD 2016) reveal that graduation from Information Technology (IT) and computing programmes is nearly gender balanced. However, gender equality masks the lack of diversity in social background, especially amongst women, who tend to come from more privileged backgrounds than men working in the sector (Sondhi et al. 2018). Drawing on this large talent pool, the Indian tech sector’s strategy of intense and targeted recruitment has led to attaining the critical mass of women within the national labour force.

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