Sandhya Devanathan: Will The New VP Of Meta Bring Equality?

Sandhya Devanathan, on Thursday, became the new India Chief of the social media giant Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. She will be holding the position of Vice President of Meta India and will assume her responsibilities from 1st January 2023.

On Thursday, the social media giant Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, announced the appointment of Sandhya Devanathan as its new India chief.

She will be holding the position of Vice President of Meta India and will assume her responsibilities from 1st January 2023. She is succeeding Ajit Mohan, who resigned from the position earlier this month, as the head of India operations.

Meta’s Chief Business Officer Marne Levine welcomed Sandhya Devanathan to the APAC leadership team. He said in a statement:

“I’m pleased to welcome Sandhya as our new leader for India. Sandhya has a proven track record of scaling businesses, building exceptional and inclusive teams, driving product innovation and building strong partnerships. We are thrilled to have her lead Meta’s continued growth in India.”

She will relocate to India to head the organization and will report to Dan Leary, who is the Vice President of Meta APAC.

Who is Sandhya Devanathan?

Sandhya Devanathan entered the job market in 2000 with a B. Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from Andhra Pradesh University, an MBA degree from University of Delhi, and then she completed a course on leadership from the University of Oxford.

With years of experience, an international career in banking, payments and technology and having been on the board of various corporations, Devanathan joined Facebook in 2016.

She assumed the position of Group Director, South East Asia handling E-commerce, Travel and FinServ in Singapore in January 2016.

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By August 2016, she became the company’s Managing Director for Singapore and Business Head for Vietnam. In 2020, she was appointed as the head of the company’s gaming vertical for the Asia-Pacific region.

The statement that announced her appointment also mentioned that Devanathan is passionate about developing women as leaders in the corporate world and is the Executive Sponsor for Women@APAC at Meta as well as the global lead for Play Forward, a global Meta initiative to improve diversity representation in the gaming industry.

Why is this appointment significant?

It is a time in the global market when tech giants like Twitter, Meta, Microsoft and Amazon are going through tumultuous episodes. While Elon Musk is quite unabashedly and publicly toying with the careers of those employed by Twitter, Meta, too, has terminated the contracts of as many as 11,000 of their employees as of 9th of November.

As it happens, during such periods of increasing layoffs, women are one of the first classes of people to find themselves grappling with job insecurity.

According to one survey, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions across all sectors in India.

The survey, which studied over 900 companies and 14 lakh employees, found that the employment percentage of women goes down from 43 percent in entry level jobs to a mere 12 to 7 percent at the managerial levels and a dismal 4 to 8 percent at executive levels.

At a time like this, or for that matter at any period of time, a woman’s success story is significant. Women assuming positions of power is important.

From a gendered socialization from birth to glass ceilings and pay gaps, women face many hurdles that their male counterparts do not. Therefore, women in positions of leadership,   feminist women, hold the capacity to make the work environment more open and inclusive, paving the way for more women to enter the market and be able to sustain their jobs.

Sandhya Devanathan has been handed the reins of the organization during a period when Meta is facing diminishing market value trends, which resulted in the dismissal of 13 percent of their workforce.

The challenges and responsibilities that lay ahead for Sandhya Deyanathan are sizable, especially considering that India remains Meta’s largest market by users.

Not that it is sensible to expect that by the mere virtue of being a woman, Devanathan would be able to lead the organization with greater inclusive stances and would do away with indiscriminate lay-offs as a cost-cutting measure.

But an increase in the percentage of women in leadership positions indicate a promise of a future that would work towards greater equality in an unequal world.

Image source: Sandhya Devanathan’s LinkedIn, and Bertt Jordan from pexels, free on CanvaPro

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A postgraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional feminist and an avid reader when she's not busy telling people about her cats. Adores walking around and exploring read more...

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