International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring inclusion for the next generation

International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring inclusion for the next generation

International Women’s Day has long been an advocate for elevating and advancing gender equality within the technology industry. At the heart of this celebration is a collective commitment to recognise and celebrate the women who are not only making significant strides in tech but also reshaping the landscape of innovation. The theme for this year, ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ serves as a rallying cry for a global movement to break down barriers and foster a more inclusive environment for all.

The importance of women in technology cannot be overstated. Beyond the mere recognition of their presence, it is the acknowledgment and celebration of their invaluable contributions that truly propel progress. Inclusivity, in its truest sense, inspires a collaborative atmosphere, fostering creativity and ingenuity that transcends traditional boundaries.

To give a voice to those supporting women in tech, not just on International Women’s Day but all year round, we sought insights from various thought leaders within the cyber community. These spokespeople bring diverse experiences, expertise, and viewpoints to the subject of how we can continue to drive diversity forward. 

Rachael Shattock, Group Event Director – International Cyber Expo; “Embracing diversity in cybersecurity is not just a buzzword; it’s a must. As we start to recognise that women bring a vital contribution to the tech industry, we must also cultivate diversity by actively encouraging young minds from diverse backgrounds to explore the vast opportunities within the tech and cybersecurity sectors. The cyber sector, much like many others, grapples with a glaring lack of diversity, spanning gender, age, ethnicity, and neurodivergence. Addressing this issue head-on is not just a matter of equality; it’s a strategic move to close the UK cyber skills gap. 

“Allyship and collaboration among women emerge as a key driver for change. By supporting and uplifting each other, women can gain the momentum needed to drive a fuller female workforce in tech. The wealth of incredible work performed by women in the cybersecurity industry is a testament to their capabilities. Listening to the aspirations of the women in this sector, we recognise the need to provide them with a platform to be heard. 

“That’s precisely why it is important to continuously deliver inspiring and educational networking events for women and their allies in the industry. Together, through allyship and collaboration, we can pave the way for a more inclusive, vibrant, and empowered future in tech and cybersecurity.”

Darren Guccione, CEO & Co-founder – Keeper Security; “On this International Women’s Day, we are excited to celebrate the invaluable contributions of women in cybersecurity – both across the industry and here at Keeper. Their dedication, innovation and resilience are critical to our success. As we embrace the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ we remain committed to cultivating an environment where every woman is empowered, valued and included.  At Keeper, we put that mantra into practice with women leaders shaping every aspect of our organisation, from customer support to marketing, sales, finance and beyond.”

Ashwini Almad, Senior Director, Product Management at Cybereason; “There are so many female unsung heroes, from Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first computer algorithm, to daily things we use, like the dishwasher by Josephine Cochran. My favourite is Jen Easterly, poised to deliver the daunting task of protecting US infrastructure from adversaries.

“STEM starts young. We need to drop stereotypes and expose young girls to STEM toys (cars, Lego) to shape their interests. We should also provide female role models to channel their curious minds and show them they can be anything they set their hearts and minds to.

“There are multifaceted systemic challenges due to historic biases, societal norms, and barriers. The lack of funding, connections, and tools leads to a weak foundation, leading to a withered interest among women. We are responsible for providing opportunities and reducing barriers to participation.

“Inviting and uplifting people with diverse backgrounds is crucial to empower underrepresented groups in STEM. Breaking barriers drives innovation and creativity, which doesn’t happen with one set or type of people. Inclusion is Now.”

Elly Beal, Cyber Essentials Assessor – Pentest People; “Over the decades, the tech industry has predominantly favoured a male presence, but the time has come to shift our focus towards recognising the invaluable skills that women bring to the sector. Breaking free from outdated stereotypes is a collective challenge, and to achieve a more inclusive environment, we must take proactive steps.

“Encouraging women to participate in the tech space requires an emphasis on mentorship, diverse experiences, and heightened awareness of the importance of effective communication. Through these concerted efforts, we have the potential to create a tech industry that is both inclusive and dynamic, harnessing the full spectrum of talent and capabilities.

The ability to translate technical jargon into understandable concepts is a skill transcending gender boundaries, resonating effectively across diverse individuals.

“The capacity to articulate complex ideas in simple, comprehensible language is such a valuable asset. This skill bridges the gap between technical and non-technical spheres, fostering effective communication channels. Asking questions, embracing the discomfort of seeking help, and initiating conversations are powerful strategies that lead to valuable insights, fostering personal and professional growth. Forming a support system and seeking mentorship are vital components of a successful career, leveraging previous experiences also contributes to development.”

Jasmine Harrison PC.dp, Account Manager – Data Protection People; “Women play an important role in the field of data protection, bringing diverse perspectives and ethical considerations into an area that can be a minefield for many. This often leads to the creation of groundbreaking solutions that meet the varied needs of diverse groups, establishing fair and equitable data protection policies tailored to the specific concerns of different demographics.

“As vocal advocates for ethical data practices, women provide invaluable insights into the potential societal and individual impacts of data collection and usage. These insights, in turn, contribute to the cultivation of responsible and ethical data handling practices across various sectors.

“The field of data protection, like many STEM fields, struggles with underrepresentation of women. Increasing women’s participation in this crucial field is critical for achieving gender equality, ensuring that diverse voices resonate in shaping the future of data protection. Women assuming leadership roles in data protection not only inspire and empower future generations but also contribute to forging a more balanced and inclusive workforce over time.

“Women play a vital role in identifying and addressing potential biases within data collection practices and algorithms. Their active involvement in developing and implementing data protection frameworks acts as a safeguard, promoting fairness and unbiased approaches, thus fostering a data landscape built on principles of equality and inclusivity.

“Embracing the indispensable contributions of women is so important when constructing a robust and inclusive data protection ecosystem. Through this, we not only guarantee the protection of individual rights but also champion responsible and ethical data practices, paving the way for a more just and equitable digital future.”

Marcia Dempster, VP, Global MSP & Channel Sales Americas – Keeper Security;

“I’m truly honoured to stand among the many talented women who are driving innovation and progress here at Keeper and across the broader cybersecurity industry. International Women’s Day is a moment to reflect on the achievements and progress of women not only in our industry, but worldwide. Let’s continue to leverage our collective strength, knowledge and diverse perspectives to build a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive. Together, we can inspire inclusion and foster empowerment for future generations. We should all continue to be focused on mentioning women’s names in the rooms that matter.  Always remember, if you’re not included and you feel like you should be, BYO chair and make a space at the table for yourself, and the women around you. Happy International Women’s Day!”

The post International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring inclusion for the next generation first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring inclusion for the next generation appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: The Gurus