My Experience as a Woman in the Startup World

Bina Mirchandani

I have worked in technology for over 20 years now. I began my journey in the cable industry—this was way before streaming media became a thing—which had a lucrative history. Cable at that time was king, and the industry was largely based on the “good old boys” network. 

A more modernized version of Mad Men perhaps but largely dominated by men, especially in executive roles. 

Moving into fintech

About nine years ago, I transitioned to fintech. I am pleased to say that I have found this area of the tech industry to be refreshing. I’ve primarily worked in startup /scale-up environments when an individual’s contributions are very visible. 

Of course, these types of businesses come with their own set of massive challenges, but from my experience and what I have witnessed, promotions have generally been based on merit. (Or internal politics; usually a combination of both.) But I do think it has been primarily gender-neutral. 

Bias remains

Keep in mind, this is my opinion and I don’t speak for other women. We all have our own views and experiences.

It is not all rosy, and company culture varies. I do think there is some level of unconscious bias in hiring and promotion processes and the lower-than-it-should-be female representation in leadership positions. Women still often find themselves navigating a landscape where their skills and contributions are undervalued and overlooked. 

Change is happening

Despite these formidable challenges, I remain optimistic about the future of women in tech. The landscape is gradually shifting, thanks to the tireless efforts of trailblazing women and allies who are driving meaningful change and advocating for gender equality in the industry. Initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion have gained momentum, prompting tech companies to prioritize gender parity and create more inclusive work environments.

Some companies, like IDVerse, have made eliminating bias and discrimination a central focal point of their business—both the culture and the product—through the implementation of inclusive data sourcing, fair algorithms, ethical development, and a commitment to educating audiences globally about these issues.

Diversity is good for business

Furthermore, there is a growing recognition of the value that diversity brings to innovation and business success. Research has shown that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones, since they can leverage a wide range of perspectives and experiences to drive creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. 

As tech companies strive to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized and diverse marketplace, the imperative for diversity and inclusion has never been clearer.

Women helping women

The rise of women-led initiatives, communities, and networks has also provided invaluable support and mentorship to aspiring female technologists. Women are leveraging collective strength and solidarity—through Women in Tech organizations, mentorship programs, and other means—to uplift and empower one another. 

I even feel that I and other like-minded women reach out and support each other within organizations, recognize each other’s contributions, and encourage each other more now. These grassroots efforts are fostering a culture of empowerment and collaboration, paving the way for future generations of women in tech.

We must all work together for change

As we look towards the future, it is imperative that we continue to dismantle systemic barriers and create more inclusive and equitable spaces for women in technology. This requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders—from tech companies and educational institutions to policymakers and industry leaders. 

If we collectively foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we can unlock the full potential of women in tech and drive meaningful change that benefits us all.

While the journey of women in tech has been marked by challenges and obstacles, I have high hopes for what’s coming. When we stand together, advocate for change, and champion diversity and inclusion, we can create a tech industry that is truly reflective of the world we live in—one that celebrates and embraces the contributions of women and empowers them to thrive and succeed.

About the post:
Images are generative AI-created. Prompt: A powerful-looking middle-aged mixed Indian woman in business attire posing on top of a mountain of computer parts. Tool: Midjourney.

About the author:
Bina Mirchandani is SVP of Global Marketing at IDVerse. She has over two decades of marketing experience in the technology industry, with a particular focus on fintech and artificial intelligence. Bina’s expertise is in driving impactful field marketing, go-to-market, and event management strategies for global B2B SaaS companies.

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