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International Women's Day 2023: Tech leaders across the industry share their insights and expertise


Today is International Women's Day 2023, a global day to celebrate the historic achievements of women in culture, technology, and society at large. And as such, it's important to take a moment to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight for gender equality, as well as the challenges that still lie ahead.

To commemorate the holiday and celebrate the achievements of women across the technology industry, we've reached out to several tech leaders from various companies. These experts are sharing their advice, insights and perspectives on the achievements and ongoing struggles of women globally, as well as their hopes and aspirations for a better future.


Jenna Hicks, Vice President of Client Engagement at Liquidware

"International Women's Day 2023 celebrates women's remarkable progress in IT.
Women have established themselves as leaders, innovators, and contributors to the technology world.  Women currently make up 24% of the IT industry, compared to just 9% in 2013.
Men can be allies by advocating for and supporting women in the workplace and creating an environment where everyone's contributions are valued and recognized.
Liquidware's leadership recognizes the importance of diversity, with women representing 40% of its executive team, and I am fortunate to be one of them.
Working together, we can build a more inclusive and diverse tech community that benefits everyone.  Let's celebrate the progress over the last decade, yet pledge to work towards a more equitable future for all."


Britta Loew, Vice President of IPG Operations, IGEL

"International Women's Day is important to IGEL because it provides an annual reminder that we still have work to do in terms of achieving gender equality and diversity in both the workplace and society as a whole. Here at IGEL, we've launched an initiative to raise awareness of the challenges women face, especially in tech-based industries like ours, through workshops, presentations and social media activities throughout the year. We are pleased to acknowledge the active participation of both men and women in making a difference in helping us to promote equal opportunities for all genders both inside and outside of our organization. By working together, we can make a tremendous impact in promoting the contributions of women and the importance of diversity."


Chiara Regale, VP of Product, Forward Networks

"For me, breaking the bias starts within. Although I'm often the only female on a panel or in a room of technology executives, I don't focus on my gender and I hope nobody else does.

Breaking the bias will be accomplished in partnership with everyone in the workplace. Some of my best mentors have been men (and women). Each has taught me different lessons, but the common thread is that my focus should be on my passion for using technology to improve our daily lives, including the companies I work at.

I seek to help anyone with talent succeed in the industry regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background, including other women! I don't want people to think of me as a successful woman in technology, but as a successful technology professional who has contributed to groundbreaking technology that fundamentally changes the way networks are managed."


Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

"On International Women's day, I’m proud to work at an organization that actively elevates women and that advocates for representation and cementing women’s place at the table. Today and all Women's History Month, we celebrate how far women have come in the technology industry, while still recognizing there is important progress that needs to be made.

One piece of advice I would give to women in tech is that we should find our allies. Build your network of allies and work to lift up other women as well as ourselves. Working in this industry sometimes we may find ourselves the only woman in the room, but we need to have the courage to speak up and advocate for ourselves and others. For as long as I can, I’ll always stand up for those who can’t. Join me in standing up and supporting not only yourself but all women."


Rajalakshmi Srinivasan, Director, Site24x7

"This years IWD theme is my favorite, as I believe technology is a great enabler. Understanding the depth and breadth of any technology goes a long way in using it correctly for the betterment of human life. One has to give their full focus, time and energy to any technology, to master the same. This mastery empowers women, boosts their self-confidence and eliminates the fear of accepting challenges.  In that sense, innovation and technology act as a catalyst and helps streamline gender equality."


Komal Nerurkar-Pendurkar , Head of QA, CloudCasa by Catalogic

"The intention of celebrating International Women’s Day is not to make women powerful. We are already powerful. It is about influencing the way the rest of the world views our strengths. It’s about creating awareness, educating, and giving strength to every woman who thinks she is being suppressed or deprived of her right."


Larissa Crandall, Vice President of Global Channel and Alliances at Veeam

"Happy International Women's Day everyone ! I've been fortunate to work with some incredible men and women leaders throughout my career, challenging my growth and supporting me. We’ve come a long way in empowering women since I first began my career in the tech space, through the growing demand for women of all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities to be acknowledged for their contributions leading to greater efforts in implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs across enterprises and industries. This year, we speak of embracing equity. #EmbraceEquity validates and reinforces the idea that women must be given the same opportunity to succeed as men, and it provokes internal reflection for women in power to seek the same equitability and working to drive this for future generations.
In the world of tech, I have spent more than twenty years successfully growing my teams and transforming global ecosystems. While the effort involves creativity and strategy, the end goal is quite simple: We grow together. We help each other. No one is an island. #EmbraceEquity is about pushing for a global ecosystem of interconnected humans to work and grow with each other’s support and skillset. As a woman in the tech space, especially a female leader, I feel it’s my responsibility to give back by mentoring women sharing my learnings from my career to help women grow. I would urge young women to continue pushing the norms and know they deserve to succeed. Also,  to be an ally themselves with other women of different backgrounds to help support each other. Create your network, expand your inner circles to foster a more diverse and inclusive cohort of powerful women who can support each other and grow together. I’m grateful I’ve been able to work at incredible organizations in my career, including Veeam, where the culture strong is strong and supportive."


Caroline Seymour, VP of product marketing, Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

"International Women’s Day is an opportunity to both recognize the progress that’s been made in the women’s movement and to look forward to the work we still have to do. This year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity, in particular reminds us of the importance of considering the unique needs of different women. Equity means more than just equality: instead of providing all groups with the exact same resources, it’s about recognizing the unique circumstances of each individual and providing them with enough resources to reach an equal outcome and achieve their full potential.

As a long-time professional working in the technology field, I’m well aware of the underrepresentation of women in the industry. While people are much more aware of the gender gap than they have been in the past, a divide still remains which needs to be overcome. The roots of the issue start before women enter the workforce. As they’re growing up, girls can be subjected to biases (both conscious and unconscious) early on in their schooling and are often actively discouraged from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math. We need to do far more. Mentoring girls and encouraging them to pursue STEM coursework into higher education is a start. Opportunities such as classes and scholarships that cater to girls interested in the field are also important. It’s vital to support young women early in their life so they have the background, support, and confidence to overcome gender biases in STEM.

Further down the road, companies can also take action to achieve gender equity. They can start by using job descriptions which are gender neutral, gathering diverse candidates for interviews, and making sure there are women present on the interviewing team. Additionally, there should be regular pay equity reviews, mentorship and advancement opportunities for different groups, and regular evaluation of the hiring and promotion process to spot any potential biases. The lack of gender diversity in tech is an issue we all need to think about and be active in combating, not only on International Women’s Day but every day."


Kelly Hopping, CMO, HYCU, Inc.

"I love International Women’s Day, because it reminds us about a gift that we often take for granted – the opportunity for equity in the workplace. To me, that means cultivating an environment where everyone feels empowered, encouraged, and comfortable enough to bring their full selves to work every single day. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with incredible women (and men) who each bring a different and unique perspective. The next great idea will come out of our ability to embrace, listen, and integrate each of our unique gifts."


Karen Worstell, Senior Cybersecurity Strategist, VMware

"Many of us can take access to tech for granted in our day to day lives. However, its advantages are still out of reach for some. The industry must come together to ensure the expansion of access to technology and a thorough digital education. We must renew our commitment to all who lack the resources to pursue their tech curiosity and expand mentoring to ensure women and girls have the support they need to succeed.

Whilst tech’s transformational potential is indisputable, that potential will not be fully realized due to the social and economic implications of big Tech’s gender gap. A review of innovation in recent decades shows that a lack of appreciation for diversity – whether it be gender or otherwise – is in large part to answer for innovation failures.  Savvy leaders are discovering that a diverse workforce and inclusive culture has a positive impact on the bottom line.

To enact change, those with influence as an employee, senior manager, and board member must practice proactive allyship to support those breaking into the industry or simply sharing their tech curiosity. The industry will not reach its potential for social good if it does not mirror the true nature of the world beyond it."


Lauren Greenfield, Customer & Partner Success Manager at Object First

"As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, it is important to recognize the many ambitious and visionary women that have pioneered a path for me to follow. Thanks to their tenacity, I have been able to quick-start my career in a male-dominated industry straight out of college.
As a whole, we have made much headway, but still have work to do. I strive to continue the progression for women in tech, and all fields, to ensure we have a seat at the table, break barriers, and redefine the mold of what it means to be a woman in business.
This would not be possible without the culture and support at Object First. Thank you to all my colleagues who continuously prioritize and empower women and overall equality in the workplace.
I am proud of the work that I have done, and I encourage women to keep flourishing, trust themselves, and recognize their many talents. Happy International Women’s Day!"


Libby Merrill, Chief Financial Officer at ThreatX

"There are simply not enough female voices in the technology industry, and especially in cybersecurity. And this problem starts very early in life when kids “learn” that tech is “for boys.” Tech leaders and companies need to make an effort to reach girls and young women and help them understand what tech careers look like, and how they could make a difference in and be happy in this space. For instance, ThreatX is hosting a Career Day with children from a local Boston middle school this month, where they’ll learn about careers in technology and cybersecurity, and see women in these roles. We need more programs like this to raise awareness of technology careers in young kids, especially girls."


Shani Mahler, Director, Product Management, Barracuda XDR

"I have been in cybersecurity for nearly 20 years, but computers have always been a feature of my life. As a toddler in the early 80s, my parents bought me Kids on Keys to provide visual reinforcement for my learning. I majored in Information Science as an undergraduate but left college feeling like a “jack of all trades and a master of none.” I was taught so many things: programming (C, C++, java, opengl, among others), GPS, database design, HCI, and more. I wanted to focus. I joined the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Carnegie Mellon University and immediately fell in love with cybersecurity. I received my master’s degree and never looked back.  
To encourage more young women to consider a career in cybersecurity, I would appeal to their “vigilante spirit.” From Nancy Drew to Olivia Benson, there are famous fictional female detectives whose main role is to help those who cannot help themselves and stop the “bad guys.” The popularity of these characters suggests many women identify with such a role – and a career in cybersecurity can offer exactly that. Cybersecurity isn’t just about tracking down your local criminals, though. It sends you after attackers found around the world. The impact you can have with a career in cybersecurity could be significant as a result.
It is imperative that women in cybersecurity continue to support each other. Many of us have had tough experiences so it is important to help other women advance in their careers and to try to provide them with a smoother road to travel. Ask women who are at an earlier stage of their careers if you can mentor them in any way. Mentorship can do wonders.
When I was young, I had visions of myself with an important job, dressed like a business professional every day with a briefcase to boot. If there was something I could tell my younger self it would be that a successful career is not represented by how you dress. Instead, it is represented by what you deliver and how you make people feel."

Merium Khalid, Senior SOC Manager, Offensive Security, Barracuda XDR

"I’ve always had a great passion and curiosity for science, technology, and innovation, and I realized early on that technology is core to everything, whether it is medicine or finance. I knew I wanted to go into cybersecurity to help organizations in all industries to protect themselves against ever-evolving cyber threats.
The talent shortage in cybersecurity is higher than ever before. We need to educate young people on the importance of cybersecurity and its significance in protecting national infrastructure – but also show them how their involvement and action can make a difference. Educating women about the impact they can make in the world of technology and seeing other women be successful in the field will be a great driving force to get more women into technology. Having diversity and different perspectives from people from different backgrounds and life experiences is the key to any successful industry.
I’d advise other female professionals to always speak up and share their opinions but also be willing to collaborate and learn from the people around you. Being a team player is essential in the world of technology and cybersecurity.
Currently only just over a quarter of the technology workforce is female – and this may lead many women to move away from it. We need to ensure technology education and opportunity is accessible to everyone. I would advise my younger self to never doubt or underestimate talent and ability. Never stop learning, strive to improve every day and be a better version of yourself. Having confidence and believing in your ability are the key to success and having an impact in any career path."


Nicola Kinsella, SVP of global marketing at Fluent Commerce

“#EmbraceEquality, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, calls on organizations to take actionable steps towards gender equality. Creating a level playing field for all genders is not just a moral imperative but also a business imperative.

This year, Fluent Commerce has signed the MACH Manifesto for gender equality, a document developed by over 100 women in tech and a select few male allies. By signing this manifesto, we are committing to important issues such as equal pay, equality in hiring, combating unconscious bias and promoting a culture of respect and diversity. We also recognize the importance of representation in leadership and the value of allies and mentorship.

Embracing equality involves action. So, look for tangible ways to involve your company in the fight to advance equal opportunities for all to celebrate this year’s #InternationalWomensDay.”


Helena Nimmo, Chief Information Officer at Endava

“In 2023 we still seem to be stuck in this loop of limitations when it comes to getting women into technology. Just look at the figures: in the UK there's only eight female chief executives in the FTSE 100 and 15 female CFOs. In the US it’s much the same, with 43 female chief execs in the S&P 500 and 78 CFOs, and only 27% of CIOs in the Fortune 500 are female.

To combat this, attention has in recent years turned to bringing women up into technology through the STEM path. But this is misguided; like many others, I myself fell into technology – I did not come from a STEM background at all! I studied economics and business at university and came into the industry with that knowledge. As an industry, we've forgotten is there are many other paths to come into technology, and many other skillsets that add value to the roles.

Personally, I feel strongly about having women in in tech roles across levels. Beyond the obvious reasons, a key element is that we create technology for users. Women make up half the global population, which half of our users are female. Not having that representation within the business does a disservice to the solutions we’re able to offer as an industry. Technology is only as good as the people driving it forward and I’d encourage business leaders to think through this lens on this year’s International Women’s Day."


Melissa Lipscomb, VP Customer Success, Instabase

"The best advice I can give to women who are looking to grow their careers is to be intentional about building a diverse 360-degree professional network. Steel sharpens steel, so surround yourself with smart, hardworking, and empathetic people to bring out the best in yourself! Throughout my career, I’ve been so grateful for the support of my network. These relationships have provided guidance that’s helped me navigate job challenges and changes, economic downturns, and work/life balance conflicts. I couldn’t have done it without them!”

Kate O’Brien, Recruiting Lead, Instabase

"Developing great talent takes a village and greatest learnings do not come from one person or one stream of thought; diversity is critical to becoming a rounded person. In fact, you can harness your different perspective into something that makes you a unique professional. Mentorship is the easiest way to be an ally to Women and Underrepresented groups in tech. For any Women in Tech; a mentor and an ally are critical to your success. For anyone who wants to empower Women within their organization, find ways to support them and show them faith as you give them a seat at the table. Having the ability to now help mentor Women around me is something I take great pride in.

I can pinpoint the people who saw something in me; women and men both. From the Manager who emboldened me to move into Talent to those that intentionally sought ways to give me a seat at the table; I may not have always seen people similar to me at the table, but I was empowered by their faith in me. I am so aware that my career and personal learnings have been heavily impacted by them."


Rachel Thornton, Chief Marketing Officer, at MessageBird
"Women still face unique and profound challenges at work. According to a recent McKinsey report, only one in four C-Suite leaders are women and with more hurdles to climb, it can be challenging for women to climb the ranks or be seen as true leaders.
This International Women’s Day is a reminder of the critical need to address these challenges faced by women across the globe. Together, we must prioritize providing a safe environment for women and all underrepresented groups, to share their perspectives, ideas and experiences, while actively seeking out their feedback. Encouraging everyone to have a voice and ask questions is so important as it can open up a dialogue through open conversations and collaboration.
Also key is a stronger investment in training and development programs that help women build the skills necessary to succeed in leadership roles. These programs should focus on teaching effective communication skills, conflict resolution, and negotiation techniques, all of which are critical for advancing gender equity in the workplace which can, in turn, lead to greater collaboration and innovation.
It's important to recognize that achieving equity is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. We must continually examine our practices and strive to create an environment where all employees feel heard, valued, and empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives. Only then can we truly achieve gender equity and build a stronger, more inclusive workplace for everyone."


Eve Maler, CTO, ForgeRock
"True innovation is unlocked when diverse opinions are exchanged to solve problems – to develop the next big thing, we need to be open to new voices. My recommendation for business leaders is to encourage open forums where employees have both the freedom and the responsibility to contribute to ideation – and, importantly, where everyone is welcome at the table. When you support such discussions, you help your workforce become comfortable with diverse viewpoints and you foster creativity in the business context.

While I feel we are moving in the right direction, there is still work to be done to encourage greater contributions from women in the cybersecurity space in particular. One challenge for many female employees right now is striking the right work-life balance; organisations must focus on improving flexibility in this area. Many organisations offer great support groups, but often day-to-day work gets in the way, preventing people from taking advantage of the support available.

Recognising the value of diversity for improving business outcomes should further intensify efforts to ensure that a team both embodies and embraces the power of differences.”  


Mary Nelson, Chief Customer Officer, Aircall

"Throughout my career, people have believed in me—they have coached me, mentored me, and have given me chances that have led me to where I am today. I’m now in a position where I can do that for others, and it feels like such a privilege  – to help bridge the gap for women in tech, to unlock new opportunities for them, to help build their skills and advance their careers. I prioritize coaching and mentoring whenever I can as a way to help pave the same path for others.

But we can’t stop there: we need to build and lead teams that ensure people feel not just accepted, but respected and heard. A wide range of team perspectives, backgrounds and faces means we make better, more informed decisions, that take into account the needs of our diverse customer community.  And in tech, this is particularly important, because innovation can drive collective success if it takes into account the full community, not a narrow subset.

Most importantly, those in leadership positions must lead with empathy; we need to understand people's perspectives and tailor our approaches to accommodate different styles. That’s how growth happens – as individuals, as teams, within our companies, and as an industry."


Urvashi Sheth, Chief Customer Officer, Intermedia Cloud Communications

"I am a proud immigrant who came from India 30 years ago with limited means of success. Today, I am a Chief Customer Officer of a technology company and I want to tell all my fellow sisters – if I can do it, you can do it too! Speak up when you see injustice, never sell yourself short, and most of all -- value yourself as you should be valued. Do not hesitate to articulate your value to others, and help others do the same.   
Women should come together to achieve equality in every aspect of life, not just in the workplace. We have come a long way, yes, but we still have a long way to go. I salute all my women co-workers and customers who have been a huge inspiration to me.    
I'm always looking to mentor other women and call on others to do the same. Let’s join hands in making every deserving woman a success story around you -- let's lift each other up. I am a mother of a wonderful daughter who is my daily source of inspiration, pride, and joy. Let's celebrate our mothers, sisters, daughters, and girlfriends every day!"


Charlotte Ward, Head of Support & Experience, Snowplow

"In the past couple of decades, I've seen more and more advice that tells women to say 'no' more. It's not bad advice, but I think it needs tempering. It's about saying 'no' to the things that don't get you where you want to be, and that don't move you or your organization forward. In the 90s, this meant saying 'no' to making tea or doing photocopying, but it's subtler now. You don't have to be the note-taker in the room. You don't have to organize lunch.  
But say yes to the right things. Strive to say yes more than you say no to things that scare you. Leadership is not about the pay grade. It's about your ability to do the things that need to be done and take people with you. To do that you need to be in the game more than you're out of it."
Emiliy Bedford, Head of Product Management, Snowplow

"Many people experience feelings of inadequacy, or 'imposter syndrome' at points in their career, particularly women in tech. Finding a role model who can provide advice can help to build your self-confidence and give you the right tools to navigate your way through. By lifting each other up and helping each other to succeed. I have worked for companies in the past where female rivalry was very prevalent; it's a miserable environment to work in and detracts from equality & inclusion."


Kayla Williams, CISO, Devo

"The celebration of women during the month of March is a wonderful time for practitioners, hiring managers, and leadership teams to re-evaluate how they #EmbraceEquity. A great place to start is reviewing hiring practices; job descriptions in particular. Many barriers to entry in the technology and security fields are outdated and are no longer indicative of a person's ability to do the job – they are also limiters when it comes to those willing to apply for roles. The average age a person changes careers is 39 years old, and many degree and certificate programs were not around when those people were in university. Instead of focusing on educational requirements, shifting the focus of job descriptions and hiring practices toward complementary skill sets will help break down those barriers.

The IT industry can also welcome more diverse candidates into the field and #EmbraceEquity by reducing the artificial barriers to entry. Many women who consider making the jump to a STEM career are discouraged from doing so, fearing it’s too late in their career or that they don’t have the proper skillsets. However, most technical and security skills can be taught on the job, and these women are bringing with them essential complementary skills – such as writing, auditing, communication (written and oral), analytics, problem-solving/out of the box thinking, and intellectual curiosity – that will improve the organization and make them valuable employees."


Amanda Fennell, CISO & CIO, Prove

"Women in technology navigate difficult terrain, often silently. The approach I have found useful in cultivating all diverse talent is to focus on attracting the right talent, retaining it, and empowering them. I like to focus on the potential of a person more than the history and experience. This can be difficult to assess initially but once you create opportunities, take chances, and are more thoughtful in the job descriptions you post, you can attract the talent. On this International Women's Day, I would focus on the second aspect of this approach: retaining the talent. Mentoring other women is a key part of being a leader in the space, but sponsoring women as well has been my most joyful experience. I once had an ally sponsor me and take a chance on me. This has led to a career of using this position to empower others to do more and be more themselves. The empowering is the last step in this approach, and I hope it is the one word that people will take away from this post. Helping other women and all diverse talent feel more confident to think differently, recognize that they bring something unique to the table that makes the business stronger, and educate others along the way. These are key areas we can lift others up to be with us once we have moved into a position of leadership. After all, the terrain is lonely for women in tech, but it doesn't have to be if we reach out and bring someone with us on the journey."


Hope Lynch, Senior Director, Platform at CloudBees

"As a woman in tech who started my career working the help desk years ago, I've had the opportunity to work in a wide range of technology roles across digital transformation, agile methodologies, and business strategy. In addition to the excitement I feel with constantly learning, these experiences have allowed me to see the progress of women in technology over the years. That said, I reflect on our progress as women in tech on International Women's Day but acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to make the industry more equitable and inclusive.

My advice to other women in tech is to seek out new opportunities and experiences and to be proactive in pursuing them. Take on new challenges that excite you or interest you even if you will be the only woman in the room. Your presence can help push for change in your company and be an inspiration for those who are watching you. Bring your insight, your enthusiasm, and your whole self to your role in technology."


Limor Bakal, EVP, Business and Marketing Operations, CTERA

"This International Women’s Day is particularly relevant in today’s tech world, where we see AI and advanced digitalization starting to influence our daily lives. Though the advantages are obvious, so are the risks, and especially when one thinks about professions that will become obsolete in the not so far future. The theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” in this perspective applies to all – men and women alike. With changes taking place in our increasingly digitized world, having women embracing a career in tech is of utmost importance. The digital gender gap still exists, but it does shrink every year. Hopefully,ongoing encouragement and access to education for women will result in increased innovation and awareness about what’s possible – more opportunity to create, to engage, and to make a difference in this fast-changing world."


Julie Giannini, chief customer officer, Egnyte

"International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the progress that we have made and highlight what more we can do, especially in the tech industry. As we continue to strive for equality, it helps to remember that when various points of view come together, the result is greater output and innovation. Representation and diverse perspectives are key to successfully selling a product and supporting a customer.

One of my philosophies toward creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce is paying it forward. Just as a longtime friend and former colleague helped me over the course of my tech career, I’m currently mentoring several young women, including one interested in pursuing a career in STEM. Everyone deserves a seat at the table; this begins at an early age and is fostered through helping others.

In addition to diversity in technology, I am delighted to see the recent uptick in women represented in professional sports, from referees to coaches. Whether on the playing field or in the boardroom, we can all win by embracing equity. We all grow stronger when we embrace diversity and grow together."


Svenja de Vos, CTO, Leaseweb Global

"It’s well known that the number of women in technology is disappointingly low — a recent study put the current figure at just 26%. This is very disparaging, but the main issue with this statistic is that it not only shows the lack of women in the sector, but it actively works to discourage more women from joining.

When people do not have mentors or role models to look up to they are less likely to be able to envisage themselves doing that job. And, while there are numerous men in the tech sector, female role models are few and far between. 78% of students from a recent survey couldn’t name a single famous female working in tech.

To change perceptions, more female role models are needed who, supported by practical initiatives like training, open days and internship opportunities, can help to create a more compelling image for the tech industry as a sector that’s fun and rewarding to work in. This is important if we consider technology’s continued impact across all sectors — as our world becomes increasingly defined by tech, now is the time for the tech industry to create and elevate more female role models who can open the way for young girls to follow in their footsteps.

If we as women cannot express our enthusiasm for a career in the industry, how can we expect more women to be involved? As the staggering talent gap shows, the technology industry is in desperate need of workers with the right knowledge and skills. To keep a balanced range of talent in the sector, we must all do our best to secure the interest of all people considering a career in the field."


Tanja Omeragic, Director, Technical Sales - Cybersecurity, ConnectWise

"I have had my share of career challenges: Being overlooked for the opportunity to further my career in cyber while I was pregnant, people wrongly assuming I’m in an administrative role, and having others being given the credit for my hard work. I feel lucky to now work for a manager and company who take my voice seriously.

Tech remains a male dominated industry. These barriers won’t ever disappear, but we can minimise them as more female leaders break the glass ceiling, inspiring others to do the same. Organisations can support this aim by increasing awareness of the possibilities for women in tech, and by encouraging its leaders to mentor other women in the workplace. Having someone invest in your career and growth can make the world of difference.

Finally, my advice to other women: Be stubborn, be bossy, and don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. As former Meta COO, Sheryl Sandberg, said: "I want every little girl who's told she's bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” This International Women’s Day, we need to reframe the narrative."


Carol Teskey, CPO, Camunda

"Embracing equity is about being invested in the power and opportunity of a diverse team, bringing a broader array of talents and experience to our team’s work. It’s so important that our team reflects the world we live in and the customers we serve.
Reflecting on this year’s International Women’s Day theme of embracing equity, I’m drawn to the women leaders and strong contributors who make up our team at Camunda. Making the effort to embrace equity takes many forms, from salary transparency to removing bias from our business processes. It’s important to measure our progress and raise awareness of this work, because by doing so, we can hold each other to account."


Zaily Shah, Brand and Marketing Manager, Joget, Inc.
"International Women's Day serves as a meaningful reminder of the progress made toward gender equity and the work that still needs to be done. Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial to promoting equity and building a culture that values the diversity of thought and contributions.
This year's theme, "Embrace Equity," is particularly relevant as it means recognizing and valuing diversity, essential to creating a workplace where everyone can thrive. I'm fortunate to work for a company that shares these values and invests in diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure everyone feels valued and respected.
Although there are still many challenges to overcome, I'm optimistic about the progress toward gender equity. I'm proud to be part of a team that recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion and is committed to promoting equity in the workplace. Together, we can build a culture that values diversity and fosters inclusion, ultimately driving success for all."


Clar Rosso, CEO, (ISC)2

"I encourage women to figure out where their passions lie, to be intentional about their career goals, and find a path to get there.Women and underrepresented groups often talk themselves out of advocating on their behalf and pursuing opportunities that they really want. The reasons are varied, they aren’t ready, they don’t have all the qualifications, their kids aren’t the right age, and on it goes. To get past these barriers, I find simple, yet effective advice is: ‘If you had a friend in the same situation, what would you advise her?’

For women who are thinking about a career in cybersecurity, welcome! We need you and there is a place for you in cybersecurity. In recent years, we have seen growth of women entering the profession and steps to increase equity and inclusion.However, women still only make up 25% of the cybersecurity workforce, and in some parts of the world, the percentages are much lower.The benefits of an inclusive culture, especially in cybersecurity are plentiful—and critical. Organizations that commit to inclusion bring problem solvers, analytical and critical thinkers, and diverse skill sets and backgrounds to the table to solve challenges and build opportunities. This is how we secure information and systems globally. It takes all of us.Additionally, we all need mentors. Organizations don’t necessarily need a formal mentorship program; mentorship can be informal, but women and other underrepresented groups within the profession often say that having a mentor helps them feel valued in their roles and encourages them to ask for advice and opinions on success in the industry. Organizations can also enhance retention by providing professional development resources that invest in women and enable greater access to growth opportunities. Many women leave jobs due to a lack of career progression opportunities. Organizations will benefit from being more intentional and transparent about career advancement opportunities that ensure that women have equal access.Achieving gender equity takes all of us. Every time you share a best practice or take a step to reduce bias from your processes and practices makes a difference."


Dominique Fougerat, EVP People & Culture, Axway

"Companies must implement better female-centric approaches to attract more women, especially in technical disciplines. This could happen through partnerships with universities and high schools, which give women channels to consider a technical career at the company or at least the industry.

Promoting more young women and maintaining equity in pay when they become mothers are always crucial, but attention to a more balanced pro/personal life is especially necessary as a new parent requiring more flexible working time. Companies must go the extra mile in countries without strict maternity leave or fair pay laws."


Tia Phillips, Chief People Officer, Digibee 

Hair Discrimination

There is still a lot of work to do. One example includes hair discrimination. In the U.S., hair discrimination begins early and follows women of color throughout their lives. In fact, in many states, Black women can still be sent home or fired for the way they wear their hair. Treatments and processes to straighten or force natural hair into unnatural styles is not only expensive, time-consuming, and severely damaging to the hair, but also extremely dangerous. The FDA found that most hair smoothing or straightening products actually release formaldehyde gas in the air during the heating process, which is a known human carcinogen. Having to make these changes to women's hair is literally killing us. Progress is being made, albeit slowly, to pass legislation across the U.S. to protect women in the workplace and in schools against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles. Learn more about the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Coalition.

Leadership Positions

In terms of leadership positions, statistically, women make up less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs, and women of color make up only 2% of that. While there is progress happening in terms of gender equality, and we are seeing many talented women successfully taking on leadership roles, as the data shows, the majority of those women are White. It is important to recognize these numbers. We need to continue to support gender diversity, but also be intentional in recognizing the need to further diversify so we can open more doors for women of color.

In the Ted Talk, "Color Blind or Color Brave," speaker Mellody Hobson shares some astonishing facts: "Even though White men make up just 30% of the U.S. population, they hold 70% of all corporate board seats. Of the fortune 250, there are only seven CEOs that are minorities. Of the thousands of publicly traded companies today, only two are chaired by Black women." Hobson, herself, is one of those two.

The data speaks for itself, indicating we are at a tipping point-on the brink of small actions bringing big change. It is very exciting to see the number of women of color choosing to leave Corporate America to become entrepreneurs. I am equally encouraged by those who choose to stay and effect change. It is important that we look fairly at educational impediments in terms of hiring, so when we talk about representation, and how "everyone deserves a seat at the table," we must be intentional in recognizing the disproportionate barriers different people may face to get to that table.


Sam Maxim, Director of Product Management and Operations, Tamr

Getting into the tech arena 

"Given my non-STEM background, I've always felt a bit of imposter syndrome as a woman in tech, especially when taking on a new challenge. Was I good enough? Could I do this? What I've learned is to ruthlessly believe in myself and find people who would give me candid feedback on what's working and what's not. You have to believe in yourself."

What to do if the "feedback" you get makes you uneasy

"If feedback doesn't feel right, don't let it slide. Most people, in my experience, have been well intentioned. However, I have been given feedback that used words and connotations that didn't feel right, like when I was told I was too "bossy." It's easy to ignore these moments, but it's better to lean into them. Stop to explain why it's a problem, even if it is uncomfortable." 

Advice for women who are new to tech

"Find a community. If there isn't a "Women in Technology" group - create one! Previously, my coworkers and I started a small get together in the conference room at lunch because we craved that community feeling. When I left that company, they had over 200 members in the group and a yearly operating budget that we put towards community outreach, speaking engagements, and corporate events with other companies. It was surprisingly easy to get started and the company wanted to help us."


Bindu Upadhyay, Lead Service Designer at Mendix and founder of GEM (Gender Equity at Mendix)

Business impact through focus on equity

"One of the biggest challenges when it comes to workplace equity is the lack of awareness about why we still need to address an issue like gender equality," said Bindu Upadhyay, Lead Service Designer at Mendix and founder of GEM (Gender Equity at Mendix). GEM is an Employee Resource Group that draws attention to gender equality within Mendix through activities like meeting with Mendix C-level management, meetups with parties such as Women in Tech, virtual events with internal and external speakers.

Upadhyay: "We often live in a bubble and think, for example, that there is no discrimination. It is therefore important to provide safer spaces to share and to empower people to listen without giving unsolicited advice. A greater focus on equity allows us to improve our individual awareness and embrace different perspectives of colleagues. Diversity of ideas leads to innovation and can therefore also have a major business impact."


Grace Burkard, Director of Operations, ioXt Alliance

"Women's History Month honors and celebrates women's contributions in a variety of industries. In the cybersecurity sector, women make up only 24% of the field, according to the (ISC)2 Women in Cybersecurity Report

Early in my career, I was mentored by one of the smartest women I have ever encountered. She sagely advised that you should work to surround yourself with individuals who are better and smarter than you, because they will push you to better yourself. Define your top five-be they colleagues, friends, or a partner-who offer exceptional knowledge, skills, talent or personality that improve the lives they touch. 

Regardless of the industry you find yourself in, respect, communication, and listening are the key characteristics of inspirational professionals and leaders. Leaders should listen as much as they talk, to absorb perspective, insight, and ideas. Champion your peers and subordinates, as people don't leave jobs, they leave bosses. If you are there for your people, they'll be there for you.

While the highly technical aspect to my position within the IoT industry can be perceived as a challenge, it's also the greatest opportunity. By immersing myself in the space, I'm learning from "the smartest people in the room," all of whom help me to better understand the inherent nuances and framework around decisions being made that have global impact."


Barr Moses, CEO and Co-Founder, Monte Carlo

"International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the women driving innovation and advancement. To move ahead, we must first look back. I so admire my own personal (s)hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg, absolute legend and advocate for positive change. She accomplished so much despite the odds continuously being against her, proving the adage that actions always speak louder than words, and setting an example for so many women that came after her.
As a CEO and founder, I have firsthand knowledge around the challenges of building a successful startup – after all, around 90 percent of all startups fail. That said, a very real priority of mine was creating an environment that fosters professional growth for every employee. I’d be lying if I didn’t say part of the reason I decided to launch Monte Carlo in the first place was to help further level the playing field for underrepresented groups – immigrants, women, people of color – in tech.
I would highly encourage women of all ages to pursue data and explore the field. The data space is so nascent and is still in early days! As educational institutions expand their curriculum offerings in statistics, data science, computer science, and data analytics, these courses allow opportunities for students to gain a better understanding of the concepts and determine the necessity of data in nearly every aspect of our lives. Data analytics and engineering are professions that are here to stay, and the industry welcomes women of all ages and backgrounds. If the future is to be female, we must all lean in to advance the statistics of women in the workforce, recognizing the contributions previously made and elevating the possibilities that are still to come."


Gal Helemski, co-founder and CTO/CPO, PlainID

"On International Women's Day, we strive to "break the prejudice" that still exists.  The goal is to recognize the success and what women - in all professions including technology - bring to the table. Organizations must make a concerted effort to eliminate discrepancies and create a friendly atmosphere for people from diverse backgrounds. Only 28% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are held by women, and men outnumber women in most STEM undergraduate majors. In several upcoming professions with the greatest pay and fastest job growth, there continue to be disproportionately large gender inequalities. Even though significant progress has been made, particularly in the technology industry, women continue to experience lower pay, fewer promotions, and less access to leadership positions.

 It is well known that varied viewpoints foster better invention, which is at the heart of the technology industry. When team members exhibit the same behaviors and appearance, end users may not discover distinctive or superior solutions if team members share similar backgrounds and experiences. The encouragement of women to study STEM at a young age provides a variety of perspectives that can foster creative solutions and attract a wide range of clients.

Everyone at the company, regardless of gender identity, should work to create a space where individuals can express their worries and be heard. Senior management and executives should pay more attention to employees' career paths to understand who they are and their goals for advancement within the company. Ultimately, I want all girls and young women to understand their infinite value and potential. No matter who or what is proving to be a barrier, I advise always asking for more. "Why can't it be me, too?" you might ask."


Sylvia Zachary, cybersecurity & software director - secure communications (SCOM), Cubic Mission & Performance Solutions

"Today, and every day, I recognize each woman fighting to break glass ceilings and other barriers. I celebrate diversity, representation, and inclusion as the standing embodiments of a positive and compassionate work culture. Going forward, I want women to be more open to opportunities and to be bold with their careers. By pursuing what matters to you, women watching your actions will be inspired to relentlessly pursue their dreams and goals. While there is still a lot of work to be done for real equality and diversity in the workplace, this Women's History Month, I truly hope all women will take a moment to come together to take the steps necessary towards fostering these support ecosystems, safe spaces and their own individual strengths that make them formidable."


Arti Raman, founder and CEO, Titaniam

"As women, we must balance maintaining our growth and achievement and influencing the next generation of female entrepreneurs to join us. Building confidence in young women begins with shamelessly taking pride in our accomplishments. As over 60% of women fear punishment for their drive and ambition in the workplace, we owe them a network of support that nurtures their call to succeed. We can create more leaders by sharing our success stories, lifting women up, and creating growth opportunities.

As a minority entrepreneur in technology, I see empty spaces at the table that we should all be filling with confidence and bravery. We must build trust, take the space we have earned without guilt and collaborate with our peers to fill more seats. Relationships are fundamental to leadership opportunities, and we owe the next generation the chance to take the reins and build equity in entrepreneurship. It is time to celebrate achievements and remind all girls and women that they can do great things."


Published Wednesday, March 08, 2023 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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