In this unique column, we are interacting with women who are challenging societal norms and have made their name in the Male-dominated IT industry. In this segment of “Women in Power“, read our interaction with Shraddha Gupta, Director of Sales, Cache Technologies sharing her views on changing dynamics for women in the IT sector and about her life in general.
The challenges of being a woman executive in a top role –
In India’s IT industry, women in leadership roles encounter challenges similar to those faced by female leaders globally, which could be in everything. These challenges include gender bias, work-life balance, limited representation in the top management, unconscious bias by a lot of different genders in the same community, restricted access to networks also because I think that’s very male-dominated, and societal expectations.
The people in society still expect things from a very narrow perspective. For instance, they ask are you from HR? Or are you from admin? What is the legislation that you have? The demanding culture of the tech sector is also high because some days we need to be active at 2:00 AM, depending upon the client. Because it’s a service organization. And generally, the tech world in today’s world is extremely demanding. Some of the customers I have are also very top-tier customers. There is no timing as such.
People could even call up in the middle of the night that this is not working, please help us out. So I wouldn’t say that’s a very regular occurrence, but that happens. So I wouldn’t say that this is very particular to a woman, but in general, the sector is highly demanding because IT is on the boom and thankfully for this, and hence all of us are growing.
New policies, women quotas, and facilities for women are growing. But I still think that there are a lot of there’s a lot of progress still to be made and there is still a huge gap.
And I think though everybody is trying a lot to include, you know, it should be inclusive. It should be gender inclusive.
But I think there’s still, you know, a lot of progress that can be made.
What’s your educational background?
I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA) as part of my educational journey. I completed my schooling at Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar. Later, I pursued my BBA at JIMS, Kalkaji, affiliated with IP University.
Subsequently, I enhanced my academic qualifications by completing an MSC in Marketing from the University of Manchester. This program provided me with specialized expertise in marketing strategies and consumer behavior, enriching my knowledge and skill set in the field.
Your family background, how many members are there in your family, and whom you are close to?
My family is rooted in the field of software engineering, both my parents are software engineers. Both of them did their engineering from Amravati University.
My father’s from Aligarh, my mom’s from Benaras and I was born in Benaras.
My parents have their own companies, both of them are successful entrepreneurs and run their IT firms. I work with my mother in the family business. My husband is also an automobile engineer and he works in Maruti. My sister is doing her biomedical science degree. So three of us are in IT
In my family, I’m very close to my mother. She is like my friend.
I think I resonate with my mother when it comes to, you know, generic choices and all those things.
How does it go working in a male-dominated field of IT?
Working in a male-dominated IT field has been very empowering as well as very enlightening. While the industry historically lacked gender diversity, a founder diverse perspective can be driven, can be, you know, can drive innovations or solving goals.
So challenges do exist, including biases, but I believe in the value of diversity and am committed to hosting inclusivity in IT. There are challenges in male-dominated IT, but sometimes it’s worked on the virtue also.
Though there are challenges, there’s always an upside also that people, you know, generally give women more respect when talking to each other.
So I think that is also there, coping with male diversity. See, that’s a problem everywhere.
I wouldn’t say it is just this IT or it is not just a particular industry. But I think coping has comparatively become, you know, better nowadays since I joined five years ago because I think there are still more women who need to be in our field. So as soon as there are more people or more women here, I think things will get more acceptable here.
Does a Glass ceiling exist?
Yes, the glass ceiling does exist and it continues to be a significant challenge for women in various industries, including IT.
While progress has been made in promoting gender equality, there are still barriers and limitations that prevent many women from reaching the highest level of leadership. This glass ceiling often manifests as gender-based biases, unequal opportunities, and limited representation in top positions.
However, it’s substantial to acknowledge that experts are underway to shatter the ceiling to diversity and inclusion in each editor mentoring programs and policy changes aimed at leveling the playing field.
For example, we are connected to a women-owned US affiliate. We are affiliated with them. So what they do is that they promote gender equality, they promote women-owned businesses and they send newsletters to all top management companies to promote women entrepreneurs.
And even the government has a 3% quota to promote women entrepreneurs. I don’t know how much has been successful till now. But I think there are still a lot of opportunities getting created.
I mean, if you compare, for example, I recently went to a CIO 100 event, and out of 180 people,
I think there were barely 10 or 15 women and the rest were men. Out of 180 people, if I can only see 18 women, that’s just 10% right? So, there’s a huge glass ceiling.
But I think probably 15 years ago, there were 3 people. Now there are 18 people. Yes, the progress is there, though it’s very slow. But I think we get there. Thankfully, I’m already, this company is owned by my mother only. So, I don’t have to face those problems, but I’m sure it’s everywhere.
What are your hobbies?
I’d say I have a diverse set of hobbies that I engage in.
So I love traveling to new cities, exploring their culture, and trying different cuisines.
I love food, to be very honest. Love to explore Japanese, Italian, and even Vietnamese food. I am a very big foodie, honestly. I’m also a fitness enthusiast. I enjoy activities like gym workouts, dancing, or boxing. I used to be a very good writer and even had an Instagram page,
But I think with so many things going on, and you know, life-changing and having its new pages every day. So I think I currently have writer’s block. But I hope that you’re hoping to re-kindle my passion soon.
What are your future plans?
So my future goal is to continue growing in my career, first of all, taking more leadership
responses and contributing to positive changes in society.
I also aspire to maintain a healthy work-life balance and continue pursuing my passion. Exploring culturalism, staying active, and re-discovering my love for writing.
I am deeply committed to giving back to the country and community. Whether through mentorship, education, or other initiatives, I’ll immediately aim to inspire and empower others, especially women to excel in their chosen path and break through any barriers they may encounter.
So I’d say my future goal is to, you know, give back to the community, get back to the country.
But I’ve learned so much.
I mean, I would never want to move out of India, honestly.
I’ve learned so much from our country and I’d like, I want to give that back to the country as well. Yes, I did go out. I did study for a year and I came back because that’s never home. This is my home and I know that this is my home. And I know that my people are here.
- Your fitness mantra – I make an effort to attend fitness classes wherever I am. I try to do 10,000 steps or I book the classes where I do my exercise routine.
- Your de-stressing mantra – So my de-stressing would roll into a binge-watching session or hitting a gym for a workout.
- Where do you like to shop? I would say that I love going to the mall when I have to, you know, for a brick-and-mortar kind of shopping. But I enjoy my online shopping a lot. So I would, you know, I’ll get, keep on getting one or two parcels every other day. I want to control it that’s my weak point, honestly. My typical shopping outlets are Zara, H&M, or Fab India for my daily usage.
- Your favorite holiday destination -So, using our favorite holiday destination, I’d say that’s a very tough decision because I really like a city to travel to. I love London to be very honest, but when you say it’s a holiday, I’d rather go to a beach and that could be Bali or Mauritius. And this place will offer a, you usually provide a mix of serene beach friends and filling adventure also.
- Five things you cannot live without. first of all, would be my family. Then I’d say my phone, but I’m very obsessed with my phone. My workout routine, I mean, if I don’t go for a workout, I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things. And delicious food, I’m a very big foodie and my laptop because you need to work from wherever you can.
Describe your work day.
You wake up – around 8 A.M.
Morning activities – I usually wake up and check my phone and emails and everything. Then I have my glass of water and plan for the day, mostly.
You leave office at – At around 9-9:30 P.M. I call it a day. That depends if I have a meeting or not. Otherwise, if I have an important meeting, then it can go up to 11 P.M.
Your First-half at the Office –
So first half I’d say focusing on, you know, I check mail, planning sales calls and, you know, giving tasks to my salespeople and, you know, planning the whole week is what I’d say. Because we need to plan the meeting with top management of the company. We need to have an advance meeting with them for the next week or for the next 10 days. And we also plan a lot of training schedules for the whole team. We plan on if there’ll be server training or what are the new technologies that are available.
Generally, I follow a diet which is by a nutritionist. Mostly, protein-packed meals because I work out. So I kind of keep my nutrition in check.
So generally I take reviews from my sales team because of how the week has been, how many sales calls were done, and what are the funnels. We discuss all these things because I go to the office around twice a week and on other days I have my meetings.
How do you spend your evening?
I love working out. So I go to the gym. Then there is my dancing class because that’s more, you know, that’s more energy-packed also. And I enjoy doing that.
Your sleep time.
Oh, that completely depends on what I’m watching at night. So if I have a very binge-watching kind of TV series that is on the TV, then that takes a lot of time. That then my sleeping time usually gets really delayed. Mostly, it is past midnight.