min read ·
December 12, 2022

The power of women in driving digital change.

Partner, Head of Delivery

Neha Rahaman

An expert in lean product development with over a decade of industry experience working with startups as well as big enterprises. Neha has played multiple roles to enable organisations to adopt agile principles to deliver high impact products.

The tech industry is rapidly advancing, and it's noteworthy that women make up a more significant percentage of the workforce than ever before. In an industry filled with complexity, disruption, and constant change, the most successful enterprises are those that present diverse perspectives and experiences to each new challenge. Today, companies led by women are far more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher ROI and, when venture-backed, 12% higher revenue than startups run by men. While the technology industry is more often thought of as a man’s world, women are now making their way into leading the dom ain, but, we’re still far from where we can be as a whole.

Women in Senior Management Roles

There is a shortage of female role models that women in tech can look up to in an all-male-centric tech industry, where big names like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are the front face of transformational progress. 

In the past two decades, we have been trying to achieve equality in the workforce with more women joining the tech industry to bring in diversity and a new outlook to how organizations operate. With a diverse skill set and creative outlook, women can be seen bringing structural and cultural diversity to the table, paying attention to the smallest of details, and ensuring comprehensive solutions to standardized processes.

As of today, the global percentage of women in senior management roles is only 29%. While women represent 19.7% of board positions worldwide, an increase of 2.8% compared to 2019, the numbers are still very low. 

Hesitance towards making changes in organizations is the reason why most are stuck in a rut. The only way for organizations to move in the right direction is to challenge the status quo and become the first movers in bringing in more women to leadership roles.

Unharnessed power of women leadership

In today’s technological and VUCA-driven world (Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), innovativeness and the ability to adapt to changes are necessary to strive for survival.

According to International Data Corporation, global digital transformation spending will hit $3.4 Trillion by 2026. So, while enterprises spend more money than ever on transforming themselves they also need to double down on truly conducting these transformations successfully - this is especially true given this 2020 study by Boston Consulting Group highlighting that 70% of digital transformations fail to meet their objective.

All is not lost though, the study also shows that “successful transformations created, on average, 66% more value, improved corporate capabilities by 82%, and met 120% more of their targets on time than those on the other end of the spectrum.”

As a whole, it is crucial for enterprises to understand that digital transformations are not just about data and technology but also equally about people and culture, and tying the two together is where women leaders of tomorrow must play a stronger role.

Women are not just comfortable with the new age technologies, but are also naturally more observant and immersed in how those technologies change day-to-day patterns. Studies have proven that this knack helps women in authority drive positive organizational outcomes. 

According to KPMG’s women’s leadership study, 66% of women willingly take on new projects owing to their realistic approach to execution and intuitive tactical vision.

A new leadership-

1. Ability to drive teamwork  

There is no doubt that women display passion, enthusiasm, and the ability to take charge of a situation when the need arises.

McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org’s Women in the Workplace 2021 survey found that women leaders continually ensured reasonable workloads for their teams, offered emotional support, and checked in on overall well-being more than men. 

Women can make bold and wise decisions as emotionally intelligent leaders, making the team environment less commanding and accommodating. 

This further enhances excellent teamwork and is instrumental in bringing a new culture within the business.

2. Coherent communication skills  

One of the most vital skills of women is undeniably excellent communication.

In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that by appointing women to C-suite roles, the frequency of terms suggesting openness to change increased by 10 percent

Women leaders can use this ability to develop and enhance meaningful conversations with employers, co-workers, and partners to create an open communication stream that gives a sense of clarity to everyone in the organization. 

This also helps align them on the overall purpose of massive shifts like digital transformation. 

3. Creative ideas and perspectives

A study by First Round Capital found that companies with a female founder performed 63% better than companies with all-male team members.

Women leaders bring unique skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas.

Combine the three, and it will help create a creative outlook leading to better decision-making as a whole for the business.

4. Better mentoring skills  

A study showed that nearly 78% of women have served as formal mentors at one time or another, but very few of them had formal mentors themselves. 

Women in leadership roles can harness their unique talents for mentoring and empowering the young minds of the next generation. This is especially important for massive shifts like the digital transformation that is a fairly new concept to many. 

5. Ability to wear multiple hats

The Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends survey ranked 2,250 adult women better than or equal to men in seven of the eight primary leadership traits assessed throughout the study.

This is because women leaders quickly adjust to changing circumstances and focus on finding solutions to real-life work issues. Wearing different hats within their roles is typical in a woman’s life. They are often balancing their careers and households along with many other experiences. 

6. Enables bridging the gender pay parity

Women, on average, receive only 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Even though both men and women start their progress from scratch, men are typically offered more opportunities quicker, leading to higher-paying positions. 

Employing more women in leadership roles can help achieve a broader goal and close the pay gap more effectively.

Time to move the needle

The success of enterprise digital transformations and how women leaders can influence it can clearly be seen in the successes we’ve seen women leaders deliver across industries in the past few years (We’ve added a small list at the end of this article).

Transformations are as much about people as they are about technology and women might just hold the key to problem-solving at scale and empathetically driving change across large teams.

Also, it is essential to bring equality to the table and ensure a future where the odds of winning are gender-neutral. The fact that only about 9% of all Fortune 500 CEOs are women and from that only about 1% are women of color, shows the need for us to take a step back and introspect on what we might be doing wrong.

This is the time to invest in the next wave of leaders and move the needle in the right direction of change that the tech world has been waiting for.

Cristina Junqueira - Hoping to create change in the industry, Junqueira co-founded Nubank, a user-friendly app providing digital financial services to more than 53 million customers across Latin America. She quoted Wonder Woman and Margaret Thatcher as her source of inspiration and claimed:

"I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they can dream of being whoever they want to be—and you can't dream of what you can't see." - Cristina Junqueira

Here are a few more data points that might make us think:

In total, women hold about 26% of all technology jobs and their representation in leadership is even lower.

Women have continually faced obstacles right at the first step up to manager: for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are encouraged

66% of women state that they see no clear path for advancement or improvement within their tech careers.

48% of women in STEM jobs report discrimination in the recruitment and hiring process.

In a survey of 10,000 tech employees, there was found to be an up to 29% gap in pay between men and women employees.

Finally, if we decide not to act, all we’re saying is that we’re okay with waiting 12 long years before women find equal representation in tech and maybe twice as long before they are in a position to lead transformations from the front.

Women leaders, who inspire me-

Dr. Rebecca Parsons - Author, Researcher and CTO at Thoughtworks.

Amal Alumuddin - Leading barrister in international human rights law, public international law, and international criminal law.

Susan Fowler - Time Person of the Year (2017), The Financial Times Person of the Year (2017).  Author and Screenwriter. One of the “Silence Breakers” who spoke up against Sexual Assault and Harrasement.

Reshma Saujani - Lawyer, Politician, Civil Servant and Founder of Girls Who Code. 

Michelle Obama - Attorney, Author and the First Lady of the USA

Genevieve Bell - Director, School of Cybernetics. Member, Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council.


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