How Swym Creates a Welcoming Space for Women in Tech
According to a 2017 study conducted by Pew Research Center, 42 percent of U.S. women experience gender-based discrimination in the workplace. That number is larger outside of the U.S., where gender discrimination is even more prevalent and some countries legally stop women from pursuing meaningful careers. A 2016 report from TeamLease shows that 72 percent of women in India experience gender-based discrimination at work.
Traditonally, women have faced an uphill battle in the workplace. Swym is one of many companies working to change this narrative.
In the words of Swym Engineering Development Lead Supritha Papanna, “If you’re looking for a job without gender discrimination, Swym is the place for you.”
Creating an Environment for Growth
Supritha has 12 years of experience as a software developer and has been with Swym for nearly five years. Before joining the company, she worked at several startups, including one which she founded.
After taking a personal hiatus, she knew she wanted to come back to work in an environment that was product-led and full of ways to grow. Swym would ultimately become the perfect landing point.
“It started with my interview process,” Supritha recalls. “I was interviewed on a Sunday morning and the whole team came up. I felt there was something special.”
“I hear all the time that this industry doesn’t always give girls equal opportunities. At my interview, all they looked at was the skills I brought to the table and how I could contribute,” she says.
Since then, Supritha shared that she has had many opportunities for growth. Since joining Swym as a software engineer, she has now become a manager. Supritha leads the 15-person team managing Swym’s Wishlist Plus app and plays a key role in developing new features requested by customers.
“All of us are mission-driven,” she says. “We are always working towards solving a problem. That creates a positive environment to grow in.”
She adds, “When your ideas and opinions are respected, that also makes it an environment for growth.”
For Supritha, growth has happened despite several challenges. She reflects on taking maternity leave and medical leave with no questions asked.
“I hear stories from my friends and relatives. Not every environment is so women-friendly. In some places, it’s seen as not okay for women to take a break,” she says.
That wasn’t the case for Supritha.
“When I returned from leave, I was presented with an opportunity to come back in a leadership role,” she adds.
Diversity Builds a Strong Culture
Building a culture where women can thrive in tech starts within. A team effort is required to ensure everyone gets an equal chance. Supritha expanded on a few ways she has seen this happening during her time at Swym.
She says, “During the hiring process, everyone is included. We value everyone’s opinion. Each person on the team needs to agree that the new hire is going to be a good fit. Only then do we bring them on board.”
Supritha also points to Swym’s balanced workplace demographic as a reason for its culture of support. The company’s workforce is comprised of 36% female employees. This is higher than the tech industry average of 33%.
“This diversity creates a thriving environment for everyone,” Supritha says, “We don’t put in any special effort. We just accept that everyone is equal.”
This mindset also carries over into Swym’s remote-first model–another area where Supritha has played a big role.
“Even before the pandemic, I was interested in trying out remote work. I wanted to go remote for personal reasons. The company allowed me to do this and I was able to help start a culture of non-discrimination along the way,” she says.
As for keeping the momentum going, Supritha has strong words for those interested in working at Swym.
“You’ll feel safe here,” she says. “Any gender. You are welcome as long as you are working towards the goal of personal growth.”