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According to a report, nearly 50% of Indian women drop out of the corporate employment pipeline between junior and mid-levels, compared to the average of 29% across Asia. This is because of the very fact that Indian women usually marry earlier than their Asian counterparts, and heavy care-giving responsibilities as well as work-life balance, for in-laws as well as children, usually hit them as early as seven or eight years into their jobs.

Beating this taboo, India’s $167 billion IT services industry will soon get its first female head as Intel Corp. veteran Debjani Ghosh takes over as president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) in April. This will happen after 30 years of NASSCOM’s formation, reported Economic Times

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Debjani Ghosh

After a two-decade career at Intel, most recently as managing director for South Asia, Debjani will lead India’s IT apex body NASSCOM that represents global leaders in software outsourcing from Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. to Infosys Ltd.

Debjani promises to advocate for women in a workplace that remains male-dominated. Her appointment underscores how the local industry is waking up to a gender imbalance that plagues the global technology sector, starting with its epicenter of Silicon Valley, and has resulted in harassment and discrimination at all levels.

She’s also an angel investor in a number of startups including Gurugram-based Inclov, a startup that builts a world’s first matchmaking app for people with disability and health disorders. She argued that changes in the executive suite and mindsets are needed for a level playing field. India’s IT services sector employs about four million skilled workers and nearly a third of those are women. But that imbalance becomes starker the higher up the rungs one goes: none of India’s largest IT services companies have ever been headed by a female. Part of the problem is talent drain, she said in an interview.

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“Things have to change. We have to check talented, capable women dropping out,” said Ghosh, who featured prominently during Nasscom’s annual conference, which is wrapping up Wednesday in Hyderabad. “Leakages are the challenge and I want to focus on how to fix that.”

Debjani is also non-executive board member of Yes Bank, according to her Linkedin profile and also close to prominent BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Debjani with Narendra Modi, Circa-2013

Debjani Ghosh, will be the NASSCOM President-designate, succeeding Mr. R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM on completion of his term in March, 2018.

Mr Raman Roy, Chairman, NASSCOM said, “We are delighted to welcome Debjani as the President-designate. The industry is today at a very interesting inflection point and NASSCOM has a key role to play in catalyzing the next phase of growth of the sector. Under Debjani’s leadership, NASSCOM will further enhance its initiatives in innovation, disruptive technologies, skilling and new market access”. He further added, “Debjani will be the first woman President of NASSCOM and her appointment is a true reflection of the importance of diversity and inclusion which is a key pillar for the industry”.

Last September, Ambiga Subramanian became a name to reckon with in the Indian women entrepreneurial world as she become the first woman to ever head an Indian unicorn (Mu Sigma). She is theb touted as the youngest of India’s eight richest self-made women. In 2016, she also found herself a place in India’s most powerful businesswomen list by Forbes.

Last year, we also featured entrepreneur Sushmita Mohanty, whom Fortune Magazine called as India’s first ‘Interstellar Woman’ for her space startup Earth2Orbit.

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