Do you know that for simply over a century, individuals all around the globe have gathered to have a good time and help Worldwide Ladies’s Day? In reality, the very first Worldwide Ladies’s Day (IWD) was noticed in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 19, 1911, the place over a million men and women rallied round ladies’s proper to work, vote, be skilled, maintain public workplace, and to finish discrimination.
Whereas we’ve clearly made quite a lot of progress since that very first IWD, we nonetheless have a methods to go. For instance, in line with International Citizen, solely six international locations present equal work rights to women and men, whereas in 180 different international locations the other is true. And whereas the variety of feminine greater training college students within the U.S. has steadily elevated (57% in 2020), “ladies’s unadjusted common earnings are 78% of these of males,” in line with UNESCO IESALC.
As such, Worldwide Ladies’s Day is a day to acknowledge the social, financial, cultural, and political achievements of ladies. It’s additionally a day that stands as a name to motion for ladies’s equality, as a result of there’s nonetheless progress to be made.
This yr’s theme, #BreakTheBias, illustrates simply how a lot progress we nonetheless have to make. It’s additionally a theme that resonates deeply with me not solely as a lady of colour, but additionally as a lady in tech. When serious about what I needed to say for this weblog, I knew that I needed to inform tales past mine. As a result of whereas I’ve skilled biases all through my profession and life, I additionally understand that many, many different ladies have as nicely.
So, I reached out to a number of of my feminine channel colleagues inside Cisco and at our companion organizations and requested them a couple of questions on biases, recommendation they may have for different ladies, and what it means to them to #BreakTheBias.
The response I obtained from my colleagues inside Cisco and our companion organizations wasn’t simply overwhelming—it was so highly effective, that it was extra becoming to share the insights in two components, kicking off with half 1 on the query: What biases have you ever confronted as a lady in a tech throughout your profession, and the way have you ever addressed them?
“For me, the bias that has been central to my expertise as a career-oriented girl, is the societal expectation that ladies are the first caregivers for kids and that so far as many office insurance policies go, childcare is a feminine challenge. As a pair with demanding careers, our family grew to become very hectic when our daughter got here alongside, my husband selected to surrender his senior company profession in favour of part-time work and research so he could possibly be the guardian on name for college drop-offs, playdates, homework, and so on. Once I inform individuals proudly that my husband made this alternative and sacrifice for our household it’s usually met with a raised eyebrow. There’s an accepted narrative in even fashionable societies that it’s okay for ladies to surrender their careers to give attention to motherhood however much less so on the opposite facet. Till this bias is damaged ladies will proceed to be those who surrender their careers and males will proceed to be those who miss out on taking the lead position in household life.” – Catriona Walkerden, VP, International Advertising and marketing, Logicalis
“All through my profession, I’ve encountered sure people who’ve assumed ladies had been incompetent except they proved overwhelmingly in any other case. My method has been to show them in any other case rapidly, not by phrases, however by actions, outcomes and inclusive collaboration with them.” – Julia Chen, VP, Accomplice Transformation, Cisco
“Within the expertise sector, I’ve usually discovered myself through the years as the one girl within the room. I’ve confronted all of the traditional challenges from being requested to get somebody espresso to having my actual phrases repeated by a person and handed off as his personal. I’ve all the time tried to rise above it by working more durable, delivering worth and most significantly lifting up different ladies.” – Terri Snell, International VP, Alliances, NetApp
Reflecting, the tales shared are very a lot relatable. As an example, like Catriona’s, my husband is the lead guardian in our residence as nicely, and we’ve got positively confronted challenges in having to “defend” that call. The tales Julia and Terri shared with me additionally actually hit residence, particularly within the earlier components of my profession, the place I needed to overcome bias primarily based on how I seemed and even spoke and needed to work twice as exhausting to have my voice heard, earn credibility and finally a seat on the desk.
These tales are shared examples that display we nonetheless have a solution to go earlier than we do #BreakTheBias. Talking up, telling our collective tales, and bringing their genuine selves to work provides me hope that my daughter should break fewer glass ceilings, and can be capable of forge her profession in a extra inclusive world.
These tales additionally make me extremely conscious of how far we’ve got come, and the way proud I’m to work for an organization like Cisco that does worth variety and inclusion—to the purpose the place one in every of our key messages is Powering an Inclusive Future for All. And it isn’t simply messaging, it really is a core perception of all the firm, from Chuck down, and may be seen by exterior packages just like the Aspire Fund, which invests in diverse-led enterprise funds and startups led by distinctive Black, Latino, Asian, or feminine founders and CEOs; and thru inside packages like increasing pay parity, connecting leaders and staff through the Multiplier Impact, and our give attention to aware tradition simply to call a couple of.
The dialog is much from over, although. So, within the second a part of this weblog collection, I and my colleagues will talk about recommendation we’ve got for different ladies about confronting biases and what it means to us to #BreakTheBias. Keep tuned!
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