Women are stereotyped to be technically challenged, being a woman leader in the field of tech what would you like to say about this cliché?
I think it's a stereotype for a reason and not an accurate one. I look back to the days when I was one of the few girls in the engineering school that I attended in Mumbai. Engineering, the way we know it today is no different from Maths, in the sense that it is an advanced form of Maths and computing. In school, we don’t find girls who are challenged with Maths or analytical thinking. We as a society often think that it's too difficult for girls, and we need to evaluate how much of that stereotype is social conditioning versus reality.
I grew up totally geeking out on Shakuntala Devi’s books. Many more amazing mathematicians with analytical brains have come from India and around the world who happen to be women. I think the heart of our challenge is that there aren’t enough women in tech today. We would love to have more, and the stereotype is certainly not true.
In my house, I have always been the IT person -- so anything from the wifi being broken to the router needing to be fixed is taken care of by me, and that’s not because I am special or different in any way but because it is possible.
We need our girls to not fear it. On a very positive note, I see girls growing up today and the fact that #GirlsWhoCode and #GirlsInTech and #GirlsInSTEM is a movement, is exciting to see. I am certain that the generation that follows will not be shackled by that stereotype.
What are the measures undertaken to avoid harassment of women at the workplace and ensure safety for all?
For us at Twitter, inclusion, and diversity is at the very heart of what we do, and that starts from a very basic sense of “are you comfortable” and “do you feel like you belong at where you work” to thinking about things like unconscious bias and sense of building community. It is a very big priority at the core of our employee experience, the same way we do it in terms of thinking about our platform experience as well. It is clearly at the top of the minds and is actively built into the fabric of our culture to fight that type of behavior.
We watched a TED Talk about how girls in coding and technology in India are raised to be - ‘Perfectionists’, and ultimately how this affects the fact that girls take less risks in coding and try less new things. Can you suggest your thoughts on this and ways for girls in code to expand their skills?
I think that you could almost drop “in coding” and that statement would still be true without it in a lot of cases. There is a general pattern that I observe of women attempting to be perfectionists in technology and business, and part of this challenge of trying to be a perfectionist means that you very often come across as not being good enough in your own view. While this is true of women today, this is a very interesting warning flag for how we bring up our girls.
I have a 13-year-old daughter and I can tell you as someone who constantly has to remind her that there is an opportunity to substitute ‘perfect’ with ‘good enough’, and it doesn’t cheapen the output of what girls do -- be it coding, business decisions or anything else. In fact, it actually makes it okay to say it’s a multi-year journey of becoming good at what we do, becoming better and becoming great. We need to give ourselves and our girls a chance of going through that journey. It’s an iterative process, just like coding is. Iterate and you get better at it. My recommendation to everyone is to start actively substituting perfect with good enough and let ambition and drive come through for the rest of it.