“We definitely need more women leaders in the IT industry.”
Madhavi Srinivas started her career in IT with Societe Generale in the heart of the Indian Silicon Valley. 10 years later, she stills find it fascinating.
Having studied finance, Madhavi Srinivas joined Societe Generale Global Solutions Center in Bangalore, India, in 2007, as a Junior Business Analyst. The urge to build smart and creative solutions to business was why she decided to move to IT and now she heads the IT division for Market Equities in Societe Generale Global Solutions Center in Bangalore.
“The first few years were quite challenging for me because I was new in IT. Initially, I had some doubts and I asked myself if I had made the right decision”, she recalls. “Fortunately, having a great team who were patient helped, and my determination to always move forward too! Given my inclination to add structure and simplify complex problems, I knew that IT was the place to be in. I would also like to mention that I was fortunate to have the right mentors who steered my career to where I am now”.
One thing that Madhavi likes at Societe Generale is that the company provides a lot of opportunities for talented and skilled people. “It is also a very healthy working environment that places skills before gender”. Among the actions taken to promote diversity, Madhavi mentions specific recruitment events focused on women leaders, coaching sessions for women employees and the attention given to career development. “Senior management examine the career path of women who have reached a certain level of responsibility to help them move to the next level”.
While in Europe and United States the gender gap in computer science is getting bigger, an increasing number of women choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science in India. “That’s because the IT sector is very important here”, Madhavi explains. “In Bangalore, we have a lot of international and Indian IT firms. People perceive IT as a stable industry, providing good career opportunities. It is also a woman-friendly environment in the sense that a lot of firms provide flexibility to women which is very important because we have to juggle multiple roles. Having said that, diversity still needs a lot of focus in India”.
To avoid women dropping out of the workforce as they take on more responsibilities at home, Madhavi thinks companies must create a more supportive ecosystem. “Companies, including Societe Generale, invest more and more to provide support for women whether they are working mothers, those who want to take a sabbatical or express specific coaching needs”. She is convinced that these efforts pay off, as women bring new perspectives to the table and are often more creative in problem solving. As for women leaders, there are known for being more people-oriented and empathic. “That’s why we definitely need more women leaders in the IT industry!”.
“Ten years ago, when I joined IT, there were not many women leaders. With more emphasis on hiring events for women, women leadership and related programmes, I can see a lot more women leaders today. Our CEO, Véronique Sani, is a woman. Women are getting bolder and I’m very happy about that,” concludes Madhavi.
Madhavi Srinivas, Head of the IT division for market equities in Societe Generale Globale Solutions Centre.