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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.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

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