Women in Tech: Rajalakshmi Sakthivel, Senior Director, Global Platform Software- Car Audio, Automotive- HARMAN India

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ms Rajalakshmi Sakthivel, the Senior Director and Global Platform Software of Car Audio and Automotive at HARMAN India:


  1. What made you choose the tech industry?

The only constant in the tech industry is change. As a curious learner, I wanted to be in an industry where continuous learning is required.


  1. Considering when you must have started your career in tech, you would have had to overcome many challenges and stereotypes in your journey. Were they any different from what girls face today?

Generally, in the early 1990s, the tech business was largely male-dominated, with women rarely in STEM roles. No journey was simple; everyone faces challenges, but for women in tech was particularly difficult because there weren’t many strong female role models to look up to, especially considering the persistent inequality. Tech roles demanded to work with geographically distributed teams across different time zones.

I was fortunate to look upon strong women leaders as my role model and their influence was significant in my career journey.

Diversity in tech jobs –helps to create a culture that welcomes new ideas and different perspectives. We’re not just talking about combating gender discrimination. This diversity also includes race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability status, and sexual orientation. The future can only be shaped by those who create it. Diversity in technology can not only broaden perspectives but also make breakthroughs possible.

Companies have started setting up mentorship programs, sponsoring workshops, conferences and other activities that help employees advance their careers and build their skill sets. Organizations have begun to take action for promoting diversity, which is a significant improvement from the past, but we still need to support and mentor budding women engineers to traverse the career path and sustain it.


  1. What one thing, in your opinion, needs to change the most in order to encourage more women to pursue tech careers today?

Women continue to be notably under-represented in the corporate world and gender equality is still a big problem in the corporate leadership board. Diversity and inclusion are areas that require consistent efforts that need to be nurtured; they cannot be part of a one-time campaign.

Women quit the tech industry at a rate that is 45% greater than that of men, claims Forbes. A lack of professional advancement, closely followed by subpar management and supportive eco system can be one of the major causes of it.

Focusing on the graduate pool is one of the best methods to draw female employees to your tech roles. The target market for tech recruitment is primarily recent graduates, and it has been demonstrated that investing in young talent will probably provide a higher return.

Creating mentorship programs and employee resource groups exclusively for women is one of the best methods to support, sustain and nurture it. Be aware of unconscious bias and communicate the importance of managing bias, through training and feedback process. There are numerous initiatives that businesses may do to support today’s women in technology. Continuously track the progress, communicate transparently the status and initiate and run continuously corrective actions to achieve desired results.


  1. How does your organisation support women techies? Any career enhancement programs?

HARMAN has very recently introduced ReInventHers, a DE&I program for women who are reentering the workforce after a professional break. This is a fair application process for women taking a career hiatus who are interested in available positions at HARMAN. In addition to promoting an inclusive culture, HARMAN has always placed a high priority on the security and wellbeing of its employees.

The rise of women in the workforce has made it more important than ever to create workplace rules that support and provide opportunities for women, especially during and after pregnancy. India is defined by its diversity, possibilities for equity, and inclusivity. As a business, HARMAN upholds these ideas as its core values.

AMIGO, a relationship-based care model developed by HARMAN’s DE&I team, is the company’s Maternity Engagement Program. HARMAN provides women with support through Amigo by providing them with access to resources, reintegration programming, and opportunities to socialise with other mothers at HARMAN.

HTW, Harman Tech Woman program, Identification and development of women at entry level technical roles thereby creating an internal ready talent pool for Women Technical Architects. Enhancing technology expertise needed for career progression through ideation/experimentation/mentorship sponsored by the organization.


  1. Leadership skill set that you would suggest to the upcoming women techies/engineers?

Although we have seen an increase in programs for women leaders in tech or mentorship programs for promising women leaders, women in their mid-careers who one day aspire to be in leadership roles should also start grooming themselves for the same.

-Acknowledge the value you bring to the table

-Do not shy away from recognition for your achievements

-Do not hesitate to ask for support

-Learning business acumen & negotiation skills is equally important for senior leadership roles

– Network with other women in tech, mentors-whom you aspire to be like


  1. Please elaborate on HARMAN’s Women Network (HWN) 

As part of HARMAN’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, our goal is to establish and drive the standards that support and promote diversity, equity, openness, understanding and inclusiveness across the company. The team also focuses on increasing representation and ensuring equitable career opportunities and development for all underrepresented groups at HARMAN.

HARMAN’s Women Network is one of our widest reaching resource groups, and our global network for gender inequality and the empowerment of women at HARMAN. Open to all employees, this organisation has 28 chapters in 14 countries. From programs and panels, to local chapter activities, HARMAN Women’s Network puts on multiple events to promote diversity, inclusion and allyship. This work deepens our culture of inclusion and helps our employees feel welcomed, seen and ready to take full advantage of their careers.


  1. Any women in tech you look up to?

The female tech leader who’s inspired me is Sheryl Sandberg. She’s the founder of, and she recently stepped down as COO of Meta Platforms. Sandberg is a role model to me because she has been able to achieve enormous success while staying true to her own values and beliefs. She is a strong advocate for equal pay, affordable childcare and women’s rights. She has also been an outspoken critic of gender discrimination in Silicon Valley.

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