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HomeNewsInterviewsGender bias in hiring is a reality: Midhula Devabhaktuni, Mivi

Gender bias in hiring is a reality: Midhula Devabhaktuni, Mivi

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“Some people might consider gender bias insignificant. However, it is a reality that many women are excluded based on gender. We should aim for a more balanced representation at all levels, from junior developers to CEOs," said Mivi co-founder Midhula Devabhaktuni.

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Tech industry has long struggled with gender bias and the underrepresentation of women in senior roles. However, there is a growing awareness and a concerted effort to challenge these longstanding issues. Initiatives aimed at disrupting the status quo are gaining traction, paving the way for significant and meaningful changes that promote gender equality and empowerment within the workforce.

In an exclusive interview with TechObserver.in, home-grown audio products manufacturer co-founder said, “Some people might consider gender bias insignificant. However, it is a reality that many women are excluded based on gender. We should aim for a more balanced representation at all levels, from junior developers to CEOs, as it will create role models and open doors for future generations.”

Edited Excerpts:

How are you addressing any gender bias in hiring and what additional benefits are provided to women to support a diverse and inclusive workplace environment?

We have eliminated gender bias in hiring, which some people consider insignificant. However, it is a reality that many women are excluded based on gender. At Mivi, we aim to hire the most suitable candidate for the job, regardless of gender.

An additional benefit offered to women at Mivi, in terms of taking leave, is an extra four days off in comparison to men. We also have a policy of providing an additional eight days of leave for working mothers. If women have children aged five and below, they receive more benefits, enabling them to contribute effectively to the workplace. We believe women do not need extra space but rather an environment that supports their daily life.

Once every few months, we host roundtable sessions to encourage and demonstrate growth prospects for women in the organisation.

Every day, we strive to make Mivi more diverse and inclusive. Currently, our workforce comprises over 1,500 Indian employees working tirelessly for the brand's growth, with women making up 80% of the current workforce.

How do you look at the challenges and perceptions women face in the tech industry from a perspective of equality within workforce?

Generally, in the tech industry, women are not given due importance and credit; they are always looked down upon. However, I strongly believe that women play a vital role in the economic and social development of nations worldwide. Unlike men, women face a whole set of additional challenges, such as balancing family life, domestic issues, the general perception that men are more capable, and the regular professional challenges. I am a keen believer in gender equality and strive to promote employment in a space cluttered with women.

How do you foster an inclusive workplace environment that supports women's professional growth and addresses the challenges they face, both in balancing personal responsibilities and in progressing to senior positions?

80% of Mivi's workforce is women, and 99% of those working have been trained at Mivi. Our main objective is to create an environment conducive for women, which we believe is the only thing that needs to be provided. For example, a new mother recently stepping into motherhood needs flexibility to easily juggle between her personal and professional life. At Mivi, we ensure we provide them with that flexibility.

The second most important thing is to give women the confidence that they can succeed. Often, women are found in junior positions, and as you move up the hierarchy, the number of women decreases. They are often overlooked. Factors such as maternity breaks may lead some companies to hire fewer women, but that is not the case with us.

We strongly believe that merely celebrating the spirit of womanhood isn't enough. Providing a comfortable environment where women can speak up for themselves is equally important. We often compare women with men, but it's the constant juggle of prioritizing work based on her role. Asking women to do the same work as men is the kind of liberty and flexibility that we are trying to introduce into the organisation.

We have many women in our organisation. We believe in diversity, and women can add significant value. They are multitaskers, have a lot of patience, and, if given a chance, are not inferior to any man in the world. Consider this: if women are working at home, why do they struggle to work in an office? Food for thought.

How does promoting a culture of mentorship and open communication contribute to professional development and support within a team?

I believe mentors play a crucial role in professional development since they provide encouragement and support, which can be especially helpful during difficult times or periods of self-doubt. I try to be present for my team whenever they need any help or face any challenges. I aim to maintain an open communication culture with my employees where any kind of constructive feedback is appreciated.

Looking towards the future, what changes do you hope to see in your industry regarding women's leadership and empowerment? What steps do you think are necessary to achieve these changes?

Looking towards the future, I hope to see significant changes in our industry regarding women's leadership and empowerment. To achieve these changes, I believe all entrepreneurs in the tech industry should focus on a few key areas. Firstly, there should be an increased representation of women in leadership roles. Aiming for a more balanced representation at all levels, from junior developers to CEOs, will create role models and open doors for future generations. Secondly, the elimination of the gender pay gap is crucial. Ensuring equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, is fundamental to achieving true equity.

Also, focus should be placed on building an inclusive workplace culture. Fostering a culture that values diversity, respects different perspectives, and actively combats unconscious bias is essential for retaining and empowering female talent. Lastly, supporting flexible work arrangements is necessary. Offering flexible work options like remote work or parental leave can help address the work-life balance challenges often faced by women, particularly mothers. These steps are necessary for making the desired changes a reality, and I am committed to contributing to these efforts in any way I can.

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Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla
Shalini Shukla is Correspondent at TechObserver.in. She has keen interest in start-ups, emerging technologies and education sector.
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