This rapidly changing digital world presents a level playing field for all, as it is only continuous learning that can serve as a differentiator. And while leaders across functions have to endure the responsibility of leading the digital transformation, People Matters TechHR 2017 hosted a forward-thinking, exclusive content track focusing on 'Leading as women in the digital age.'
The session 'Women in Digital' was a closed door session exclusively for women leaders across functions to know their experiences, challenges, dimensions of leadership and much more as they lead digital transformation agendas in their journeys every day. The session was led by People Matters’ CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Ester Martinez, and was joined by Anuranjita Kumar, Managing Director, Chief Human Resources Officer at Citi; Bhawna Agarwal, CEO of NDTV's e-commerce venture Gadgets 360; Prativa Mohapatra, Vice President, Cognitive Solutions and Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO & Director Engineering of Bharti Airtel Limited. The session uncovers some of the challenges that women face in growing up the ladder and adapting to the digital mindsets.
The session started with women leaders facing challenges while adopting a digital mindset. 'Unconscious bias' turned out to be the biggest problem faced by every woman. However, Harmeen Mehta, one of the four panelists of the session put forth an interesting view that women are subconsciously biased towards themselves as they adopt and nurture the perception that men are better at technology and more digitally driven. She justified her statement by stating that women tend to seek validation by men, managers, children, parents, etc.
Women need to rise above such perceptions and sensitivities to bring a change.
Bhawna Agarwal added to this and stated, “Women should start taking criticism to their brain instead of their heart. They need to understand their strengths and leverage them to the fullest to climb the ladder.”
Upskilling, the way forward
With digital disruptions, organizations have started revamping their processes and business models to embrace the digital era. And it becomes imperative for women to upskill themselves to understand the changing business models due to digital re-invention.
Prativa Mohapatra stressed on the need to inculcate agility, collaborative attitude, keeping one abreast of the new trends to embrace the digital mindsets apart from upskilling themselves on hard skills. She further added that reading is one of the ways to keep abreast with recent trends and technologies.
Anuranjita Kumar further added that “Procrastination is one of the hurdles that keep women away from picking up new skills. They should read, experiment a lot and interact with the younger generation to understand and use newer technologies."
Bhawna shared the same views and said, “Surround yourself with a lot of smart people that motivate and push you to learn new things.”