Gender equalities and career progression of indian women in the information and technology sector in India
: Women's views and perspectives

  • Aishwarya Patil

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study sets out to explore women’s perceived difficulties and challenges in career progression in the IT sector in India. While there is a growing body of literature about women’s paid employment in the formal sector in India their increased participation in professional occupations such as IT, the gaps in our knowledge remain. These gaps are investigating career outcomes and career progression of women in the IT sector in India. This study uses the three –dimensional (culture, structure, and action dimension) framework suggested by Julia Evetts to analyse the perceptions and experiences of women about the gender inequalities in the IT organisations and their family.
This is qualitative research involving semi-structured interviews with 40 qualified engineers of different marital status and employed at different levels (front liners, middle level, and senior-level) in IT organisations in India. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. Women’s views, perceptions and opinions about the challenges in career progression remain central to this research.

The findings suggest that gender inequalities exist in the IT sector and Indian society. The culture and structure of family and organisations create the image of an ideal wife/mother and ideal worker, respectively. These two images are at odds with each other, and they pull women in the tug of war. In the workplace there is systemic gender discrimination in terms of work allocation, the promotion process, negative assumptions about women’s skills and talent resulting into their exclusion from leading roles, and promotions, thereby, creating horizontal and vertical segregation within the sector. In the family, women’s status is assumed subordinate to men. Their careers are considered as secondary and women are expected to give preference to family over careers and are subjected to negative, informal appraisals from the family members if they prefer career. Motherhood emerged as a significant factor influencing the career progression of women. Working mothers face more discrimination compared to non -mothers and men in workplace and family. Women’s perceptions effectiveness of equal opportunities in recruitment are favourable. Their perceptions about the implementation of Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act (2015) is also favourable. However, Women’s perceptions about the effectiveness policies of equal remuneration, and equal opportunities in promotions are unfavourable. They perceived that these policies are not implemented effectively. This study argues that the culture and structure of family and organisations contrive to influence the career decisions of women.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorLisa Smyth (Supervisor) & Sirin Sung (Supervisor)


  • Gender equalities
  • information and technology
  • career progression
  • gender pay gap
  • promotions
  • motherhood
  • long working hours
  • culture
  • structure
  • action
  • glass ceiling
  • work-allocation

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