Excuse me if I don’t want to run in stilettos

March 5, 2015

It is that time of the year. The time when people “celebrate” women empowerment. In February, we’re told that all women need new clothes, expensive dinners, thoughtful gifts to make them feel special. In March, we’re told that we need to be self-reliant, independent, the sky’s the limit, we need to make things happen, we have the power to bend the earth and build bridges to the moon and what not. And then there are some brands that tell us we can raise kids and raise businesses at the same time, with the same efficiency. Some others tell us we need to run in stilettos to conquer it all (apparently, they will provide stilettos to men who want to try running in them too — filed under gender equality).

Strictly speaking as a woman, I live in a bubble. I have a family that never discriminated against me based on my gender, I work for a company that treats all it’s employees the same, I even hang out with people who think like I do. My cushy existence makes me even more aware of the gender discrimination around me.

This is an eye-opening read about the lack of women in India’s workforce. Here are some stats:


Only a third of working-age women in India are employed or looking for a job. The equivalent figure for men is over 80%

A third of them work as unpaid labourers as opposed to only 11% of the men.

And this is the clincher — even amongst working women, only 6% get formal benefits like pension or maternity leave.


Exotel is a fairly evolved tech product. We have a high adoption rate amongst startups, because of their experimentative nature and the need to measure every little aspect of their business. In fact, Shivku says that every big startup in India has at some point used or at least tried out Exotel. Culture and environment of work are 2 things that mostly work in favour of startups, especially when it comes to wooing talent.

Most of the businesses we work with are from tier 1 cities with a fair representation from the tier 2 cities. So, if I were to define Exotel users, I would say — SEC A, Urban, at least a college degree, most of them engineers, running a business.

Where are the Women?

Our business is largely inbound. People come to our website and sign up to try out the cloud telephony product. And the person who signs up first, is usually a decision-maker, company owner or a manager who has the authority make a decision. Amongst this, only 19% are women.

The same is the case with admins or administrators who have the power to control the Exotel account in terms of creating call-flows, adding new users, receiving daily usage reports etc. Only 1/4th of all Exotel admins are women. Out of the users or agents, only a little over 1/3rd of the agents are women.

What about Exotel, you ask? We do pretty badly in the gender divide as well. <20% of our employees are women. We have 2 women techies in a team of 13.


It’s high time we do our bit to set the balance right.

Know of women who would like to be a part of fast growing, fun, highly charged environment?

Please refer them to Exotel. We are actively looking to hire more women.

We would also like to reach out companies with women entrepreneurs. If you are running a company that is less than a year old with at least one female co-founder, we’d like to work with you. We would like to offer you a free Exotel account with one-year validity and Rs. 5000 worth credits to use for your business phone calls.

We would consider it a privilege if you choose to work with us. Allow us to be a part of your success story.

UPDATE: We have paused this activity until further notice.

We are always open to more ideas and suggestions on what we could do to bridge this gap. If you have something you’d like to tell us, drop us a line at hello@exotel.in.

Excuse me if I don’t want to run in stilettos. I’d rather do something tangible to empower women.

Happy women’s day.

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