Get in Touch
Get in Touch


The Connected Network That Matters on Women’s Day

March 8, 2024

Genius Wong   

Genius Wong, Executive Vice President – Core and Next-Gen Connectivity Services, and Chief Technology Officer

As the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Tata Communications, where we primarily enable the digital ecosystems of global enterprises, I encounter connections everywhere. From the steady traffic of data packets to the invisible threads that tie businesses and customers together, networks are the lifeblood of our digital world.

On International Women’s Day (IWD) today, though, I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate a different kind of network – not one built of wires and code, but of mentorship, support, and empowerment for women in technology.

The need to instill mentorship and sponsorship

Now, per Deloitte estimates, the global tech workforce has seen a 6.9% rise in women’s participation and an 11.7% increase in their representation in technical roles from 2019 to 2022. Nevertheless, women in tech continue to face challenges in achieving and maintaining leadership roles.

Gender pay gap issues aside, McKinsey finds that only 52 women are promoted to managerial roles for every 100 men. With more reports showing that more than 50% are likely to quit before the age of 35, and 56% are likely to quit by midcareer, organisations need to act fast and implement cultural changes to retain more women.

“Here’s where mentorship, sponsorship, and genuine support can be crucial. Mentorship offers guidance and knowledge from experienced professionals, while sponsorship actively opens doors and advocates for your advancement. Together, they form a powerful force that can propel women forward in their tech careers.”

The mentor-mentee relationship is frequently advantageous for both – offering professional guidance, new insights, and mutual encouragement. And leading companies need to take steps to help women in technical roles connect with people with more experience, recognising that senior colleagues play an important role in the professional development of workers who are early in their careers.

In the professional life of early workers, direct managers often play an important role. They possess firsthand insights into the responsibilities and performance of employees, who may function as coaches, advocates or decision makers in advancing their careers. However, junior IT staff managers often lack sufficient training and expertise in management. Despite the best intentions, this can lead to inconsistent experiences for newly hired employees.

A supportive network does matter

My own journey (nearly three decades long) serves as a testament to the power of this ‘connected network’. As a young woman entering the tech industry, I was often the only woman in the room. But I was fortunate to have incredible mentors who believed in me, challenged me to grow, and opened doors I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

At Tata Communications specifically, they saw potential I didn’t yet see in myself. Their encouragement was instrumental in shaping my career trajectory as I steadily moved from Senior Vice President, Global Network Services to President, Global Network, Cloud and Data Center Services and currently, the CTO.

For me, mentorship provided a safe space to ask questions, seek advice, and navigate the often-daunting landscape of the tech industry. This while offering career guidance, technical support, and most importantly, the confidence and belief that I belonged in tech and could thrive.

That said, mentorship isn’t a one-way street. As women advance in their careers, they have a responsibility to pay it forward by becoming mentors themselves. Sharing our knowledge, experiences, and networks empowers the next generation and strengthens the connected web of support.

Inspire and be Inspired

To #inspireinclusion (borrowing the IWD theme this year) and create an equitable tech industry, it will require a collective effort. By strengthening the connected network of mentorship, support, and sponsorship, we need to ensure that every woman can connect, contribute, and lead in this dynamic and ever-evolving field.

According to a Women in Technology Survey conducted by Capital One, 75% of women who stayed in tech careers had role models at their companies, compared with a lower percentage (56%) who left. Clearly, instituting mentorship initiatives stands as one method for firms to improve the retention of women within their establishments. Sadly, less than a quarter of companies have pursued such measures.

Let’s commit then to build a network that matters, not just on IWD, but every day. Together, we can forge a future where technology reflects the diversity of the world we live in, and where every woman has the power to connect, create, and innovate.

Because, in the end, the most powerful connections are made of the human spirit reaching out to uplift and empower one another.

You can find more of my blogs on diversity and inclusion here.