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article imageQ&A: Why it's important to have more women in tech Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 26, 2021 in Business
How difficult is it for women to break into the technology sector and what is needed in terms of support and encouragement to breakdown the walls that sometimes surrounding the sector? An insider reveals all.
New reporting reveals that, while women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the U.S., they account for only 25 percent of the workforce in the technology sector. Despite the rise of STEM jobs outpacing the growth of overall employment in the US, women are still underrepresented, underpaid and often discriminated against in the technology industry.
Open Systems CMO Aurelie Guerrieri tells Digital Journal that it is important for women to be fully represented in the technology industry because “technology in general is based on innovation and innovation stems from seeing the world from a different viewpoint. We need a diversity of perspectives and experiences to create the most amazing technologies that make everyone’s lives better. Cybersecurity in particular is about thinking differently and seeing patterns and possible risks that others might have missed. Our field needs the most diverse set of thinkers as possible”.
Guerrieri expands of these themes.
Digital Journal: What are you and doing to acknowledge the role of women in tech?
Aurelie Guerrieri: We’re fortunate to have attracted and retained a relatively large contingent of female engineers, from data scientists to SOC engineers. Furthermore, we are also fortunate to partner with many women who are cloud sales experts. We want to use that day as an opportunity to recognize them, and to signal to the market that we are committed to further fostering diversity and inclusion.”
DJ: How can women better enable each other instead of compete? What needs to change in your opinion?
Guerrieri: When I led mBolden, a diversity organization with 10,000 members worldwide, now acquired by SheRunsIt, I was very pleased to discover that the younger generation has really done away with the competitive mindset and instead is all about lifting each other up. It’s extremely important to have this attitude, rather than removing the ladder once you’ve climbed it!
There should be no concept of ‘I’ve suffered to get there, you should earn your dues too.’ We all win when there are more women as role models, more women in positions of influence, more diversity of thought and experience.
I am a strong advocate for finding your ‘mentoring circle.’ That is a group of peers (not senior) women whom you can share experiences with, use as a sounding board, get a read on a situation from. Together, you can also help each other identify career and recruitment opportunities, business partnerships and relationships opportunities, and even finding good nannies and dog walkers.”
DJ: What do you think helped you get to this point in your career? How can women help mentor young girls to dream bigger?
Guerrieri: I was very fortunate to have a few sponsors: people who believed in me more than I did then, and who were in positions of influence to give me opportunities that I didn’t think I was ready for. Sometimes I would feel like an impostor, and I would think that they were crazy to give me this opportunity - did they not realize I’d never done it before? It would feel like I was standing at the edge of a precipice. And then there was no better feeling than what came from the accomplishment of having succeeded in doing it.
I got so hooked on this feeling that I went and sought out these opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and put myself in ‘extreme learning curve’ situations.
Today, I am very intentional about playing a sponsor role as often as I am able to – and that goes for men or women. I take chances on people and put them in stretch situations. Many of my former team members are now in high-ranking jobs, and I am hopeful someday one of them will even hire me.
DJ: Why do you think it’s important for more women to join the tech industry?
Guerrieri: Technology in general is based on innovation and innovation stems from seeing the world from a different viewpoint. We need a diversity of perspectives and experiences to create the most amazing technologies that make everyone’s lives better.
Cybersecurity in particular is about thinking differently and seeing patterns and possible risks that others might have missed. Our field needs the most diverse set of thinkers as possible.
I am hopeful though. Yesterday my 8 year old son started a sentence with ‘obviously girls are very good at...’ and my heart sped up as I was anticipating having to reset a cliché. But he finished with ‘science, obviously. Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize and NASA women scientists ran the first computers’.
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