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International Women’s Day 2022 – #BreakTheBias – comments from Australian and global tech leaders

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To celebrate International Women’s Day, iTWire has received 42 submissions from top Australian and global tech leaders, celebrating women’s achievement, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality.

At the International Women’s Day site, the theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias, which follows on from last year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge, which iTWire covered extensively in 2021 here and in several more articles, here.

For 2022, the International Women’s Day site says:

Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

My questions were simple:

  • What commentary would Australia’s IT tech leaders, women and men, like to say to iTWire readers about the day?
  • What are their comments on this year’s theme, women’s equality and opportunity, leadership in IT and life?
  • What should women, men, companies and organisations be doing to further women’s equality and to #BreakTheBias, and anything else?

Carolyn Crandall, Chief Marketing Officer, Attivo Networks:

Celebrating progress: Creating a welcoming environment for women in ICT in the 2020s

While there’s still work to be done, the times have changed and very much for the better, writes Attivo Networks CMO, Carolyn Crandall.

It’s no great secret that women are under-represented in the high-tech sector. According to one study, in 2020, they comprised 44 percent of the ICT professional industries workforce in Australia but occupied just 16 percent of ICT trades positions.

‘Breaking the bias’ is the admirable and apposite theme for International Women’s Day 2022, and it’s true there is plenty that organizations can do to encourage more of us to pursue meaningful, lifelong careers in the space.

That includes creating a welcoming workplace culture, genuinely encouraging diversity, and providing the flexible working conditions that make it possible for women with children and other caring commitments to continue contributing.

But while it’s important to focus on the future, I believe it’s also instructive to reflect on the past and the significant improvements over the last three decades.

Better days

Diversity and inclusion initiatives have begun to bear fruit; so much so that the team I lead in my role as chief security advocate at Attivo Networks is now 90 percent female. No, we’re not practicing reverse discrimination. Rather, I believe, we’ve succeeded in creating an attractive environment for women; one in which they can see there is equal opportunity for them to build their capabilities on the job and create bright futures for themselves.

Yes, there’s work to be done, to encourage and support more young women to enter the STEM sphere, but, 30 years after I did so, it’s heartening to see how far we’ve come.

Making a difference

Meanwhile, I’ve always believed one of the best things women can do to advance our cause is to take an ‘assumed is’ approach to the world. By this, I mean operating with the assumption that equality already exists – and the onus is on organizations to disprove it.

Doing so injected some quiet swagger into the way women like myself walked, talked, and approached our career advancement, back in the day. Long before Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg publicized the concept of ‘leaning in’ – taking the lead and pushing yourself forward in the workforce – we were doing exactly that: telling ourselves, ‘of course I can’.

Believing can be half the battle and, this International Women’s Day, I’d like to encourage today’s cohort of women in ICT to continue doing exactly that.

Read the full article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt on iTWire.

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