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Cognizant: Cognizant unveils Shakti to boost women leadership in technology


Cognizant Technology has unveiled Shakti, a unified framework of women-centric programmes and policies aimed at accelerating careers and driving women leadership in technology.

Additionally, the IT services company has partnered with industry body Nasscom to establish and prioritise best practices with a shared goal of making diversity and inclusion (D&I) a key differentiator of India’s tech sector.

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“In keeping with our priority to become an employer of choice in our industry, Cognizant is committed to weaving diversity and inclusion into everything we do—how we recruit and hire, develop, promote, engage and retain our talent,” said Ravi Kumar S, CEO, Cognizant, in a statement.

“Shakti will catalyse our efforts to enable more women to advance their careers and reach their full potential. Growth, innovation, and client-centricity all require a diverse and inclusive workforce, doubly so as generative AI permeates the workplace. We will see the most essential human skill shift from problem-solving to problem-finding, putting a premium on cognitive diversity.”

In India, nearly 40% of Cognizant’s associates are women as compared to the IT industry gender diversity average of 36%. More than half of 13 Cognizant centres in the country have crossed more than 40% women participation in their workforce, with two of the largest centres being currently led by women leaders.

Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom said, “The technology industry in India today has on average 36% of women representation in its workforce. Partnerships are key towards our shared goal as an industry of creating a more empathetic, inclusive, and diverse tech industry.”

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Through Shakti, Cognizant aims to reframe current programmes and policies and bring all women-centric initiatives under one umbrella for greater impact. Shakti will include the recently introduced – RISE – a leadership development programme for mid-level women associates in India; ‘Propel’ a global leadership development program focused on empowering women at senior levels to accelerate their careers through coaching and mentoring; ‘Returnship’ a 12-week paid program focused on upskilling to return to work after a career break; and ‘Be Gritty’ that trains fresh campus hires to develop a growth mindset.Additionally, Cognizant has launched a companywide allyship programme. The company is also empowering its associates with inclusive leadership training and promoting a sense of belonging through dedicated affinity groups. The Women Empowered Affinity Group, with around 50,000 members and allies based in India, aims to improve the work experience for women and create impact for the business.

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