Debjani Ghosh. Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Next month, Debjani Ghosh will become the first woman president of NASSCOM, one of the largest global trade associations representing thousands of India's IT companies. She takes the helm at a critical time for her industry as President Trump cracks down on foreign workers — and for women in technology in general in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Why she matters: She's not only the first woman to lead NASSCOM, she's also bullish that her gender will become even more indispensable to the technology industry. "Leadership is not going to be a man's role," she told Axios in an interview.

Job skills: While the more technical, data-oriented jobs are being taken over by robots and algorithms, Ghosh said, "leadership is now going to be about how well you connect with employees, the empathy factor, the ability to inspire people at a more humane level, it's going to be much more about those softer skills."

Big picture: Ghosh is obsessed with the idea of technology as a great equalizer, and it is one of the reasons she was attracted to the position of president of NASSCOM. She hopes to use the platform to bring her visions of equality and global collaboration to reality.

  • Finding ways to promote women in leadership isn't just a moral or political goal for Ghosh, but something she believes will be "critical for shaping global competitive dynamics and economic strengths."
  • "This has to be about the business and the best talent you can find," she told me. She said all the studies point to the benefits of having more women working for the company, and CEOs must do what's best for their companies.
  • While she puts the burden on men in leadership, her advice for women was:
"We ourselves have to now start breaking a few doors if needed. The time to knock politely on the doors is way past."

In India, the tech industry already sees the highest percentage of women in leadership compared to other industries, but Ghosh said while they are ahead of the game, she hopes to see the industry do more.

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