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Celebrating Women’s Month: From Empowerment to Action

Monday, 18 March 2024 09:45 AM

Building a more inclusive future

NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / March 18, 2024 / Gen

Gen Blog | Community

By Erin Gallegos Corporate Responsibility Manager

Imagine a world where gender equality isn't just a distant dream but a reality - a world where biases, stereotypes and discrimination are relics of the past. A world where diversity is valued and celebrated, every voice is heard and every achievement is recognized. We strive for this vision as we celebrated International Women's Day and celebrate Women's History Month.

This year's theme underscores the importance of fostering a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive - a world where differences are not just accepted but embraced. It's a time to raise awareness about the ongoing struggles for gender equality and to take action to drive meaningful change.

Building a new talent pipeline

Through partnerships with organizations like Women4Cyber and Czechitas, we work to expand cybersecurity skills among women and close the gender gap that still exists throughout the global tech sector.

One of the best ways to reach those goals is mentorship. Women4Cyber's Mentorship programs are designed to help women advance their careers in cybersecurity and IT. Mentors, all of whom are working tech professionals, spend six months meeting regularly with their mentees to provide personal and professional guidance, share their experiences, and help mentees identify and achieve career goals. Since 2021, Women4Cyber has matched more than 300 mentors from across Europe with more than 500 women just starting in their cybersecurity careers.

Czechitas, another one of our nonprofit partners, provides reskilling and technical education programs for women in the Czech Republic. The organization engages working tech professionals and experts to lead their intensive long-term courses. Tech professionals also provide mentorship, advice and guidance for enrolled students as they work on their own projects.

Both organizations help to ensure that the future of the tech industry is a more inclusive one, with women having equal access to skills-building and career opportunities in cybersecurity and beyond.

Among those mentors are Gen team members, who have year-round opportunities to participate in these organizations' mentorship programs. On February 13, Women4Cyber hosted a Speed Mentoring event to connect junior professionals working in cybersecurity with Gen experts. Each mentee had four one-on-one conversations with different team members, offering them a chance to gain well-rounded guidance to navigate their careers in the cybersecurity industry.

Later in March, Czechitas, and the Gen Corporate Responsibility and DEI teams, and our WONDER Community, will host a webinar on the future of work and technology, and the future of women in STEM.

Advocating for women

At Gen, advocating for women is a year-round effort. We're always supporting women, and we pay extra attention to helping them succeed in tech because that's what we're good at.

One example of this success is Leyla Bilge, Director of Scam Research Labs. She's made cybersecurity her life since starting in computer science at the age of 18. After an internship with our company, she took on a full-time role. Twelve years later, she's made tremendous waves as a Gen leader.

When asked about setting goals, she spoke frankly saying, "I never actually set goals because I always thought I could never achieve them. Then, at one turning point, I finally realized I could achieve them."

Leyla set abstract goals for herself; she wanted to apply a different leadership style that's not so common - she wanted to be an egoless manager, leading by motivation and making ambition contagious. She saw the results.

Recently, she was recognized for her work at the Seramount 2023 Women of Excellence Awards and was named STEM Steward. The awards honor women who are committed to their own success while selflessly mentoring and championing other women. And Leyla was a perfect example of this.

A message to others: Set goals that aren't the most obvious or common. We can achieve them. Don't be afraid to apply for awards or submit papers to academic conferences. That's how we earn the recognition we deserve. And do what you can to uplift women, no matter what gender you are.

The work continues

Our work is far from over. Discrimination, bias, and inequality persist in various forms. We must continue to challenge these injustices and work towards gender parity in all aspects of life. We must support and uplift each other, amplifying the voices of marginalized people and advocating for policies that promote equality.

Inclusion means that all actions taken throughout Women's Month are valid. Whether participating in marches and rallies, organizing educational events or having conversations about gender equality. Every effort contributes to the larger goal of building a more inclusive world.

As we come together to celebrate, let the achievements of women inspire us. Let us raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity. Together, we can forge a future where every person, regardless of gender, can thrive and succeed. Let's continue to #InspireInclusion.

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
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