IWD 2023: Closing the gender gap and promoting equality in innovation and tech
Working as a Communications and PR Manager at Heimdal for over two years has made me realize that cybersecurity is no longer just an IT issue. It affects every aspect of a company's operations, including marketing. In the age of social media and digital marketing, companies must effectively communicate their cybersecurity practices to their customers and stakeholders. Women are uniquely positioned to help organizations navigate these challenges in a number of ways: diverse perspectives, communication skills, attention to detail, risk management, empathy and emotional intelligence, etc.
However, the cybersecurity field has traditionally been male-dominated, with women being significantly underrepresented. To promote gender equality in cybersecurity, it is essential to embrace both innovation and technology, as they have the power to transform the industry, making it more accessible and inclusive for everyone. For instance, the development of AI and machine learning can automate many of the tedious and repetitive tasks that are traditionally associated with cyber. This can free up time for cybersecurity professionals, allowing them to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their work.
Additionally, cloud computing and virtualization technologies can enable individuals to work from anywhere at any time. This can be particularly beneficial for women who may face barriers to traditional employment due to childcare or other caregiving responsibilities. With the flexibility provided by these technologies, women can pursue careers while still balancing their personal and professional lives.
Companies can also help to break stereotypes by actively promoting diversity and inclusivity in their hiring and promotion practices. By valuing and supporting women, organizations can create a more inclusive work environment that welcomes diversity of thought and skills.
Innovation and Technology - Important for Promoting Gender Equality
Innovation and tech have the potential to empower women in many ways. For example, access to technology can give women greater access to education and information, which can help them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers. It can also help women to connect with each other and build networks, which can be very important for career advancement.
Technology has enabled the creation of virtual mentorship programs that connect women with mentors who can provide guidance and support. These programs use video conferencing and other online tools to facilitate communication and collaboration between mentors and mentees.
Another example is the use of technology to support women entrepreneurs. Platforms such as Etsy and eBay have made it easier for women to start and run their own businesses, while crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made it possible for them to raise capital without relying on traditional sources of funding.
Social media platforms have provided women with a powerful tool to raise awareness about gender inequality and promote feminist movements. Social media has also enabled women to connect with each other and share their stories, helping to build a community of support and solidarity.
Challenges Women Face When It Comes to Accessing and Using Technology
There are several challenges that women face. One is the digital divide, which refers to the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not. Women are often disproportionately affected by the digital divide, particularly in developing countries.
Another obstacle to overcome is the gender bias that exists in the technology sector. Women are underrepresented in technology-related fields, and they may face discrimination and bias when they do enter these fields. This can make it more difficult for women to succeed and advance in their career paths.
Women are often stereotyped as being less tech-savvy than men. This stereotype can lead to them being excluded from tech-related conversations, not being given the opportunity to learn about technology, and not being taken seriously when they express an interest in technology. This is one of the main reasons women are often underrepresented in technology-related fields such as computer science and engineering. This lack of representation can make it difficult for them to feel like they belong in the tech industry and can discourage them from pursuing careers in technology.
What Can Be Done to Address These Challenges and Promote Greater Gender Equality in Innovation and Tech?
There are several things that can be done. One is to increase access to technology, particularly in developing countries. This can be done through initiatives such as providing free or subsidized access to smartphones and tablets or through programs that provide technology training to women.
Another is to address gender bias in the technology sector. Increasing the representation of women in technology-related fields, providing mentoring and support, and raising awareness about the issue of gender bias are essential steps to promoting gender equality.
A separate path to consider is to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in tech-related fields. It is possible to accomplish this by providing them with access to education and training and by showcasing the diverse range of career paths available in the industry.
How is Heimdal Encouraging Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality?
Heimdal is committed to encouraging innovation and technology for gender equality. The company recognizes that gender inequality remains a significant challenge in the technology industry and is taking steps to address this issue.
I am proud to share that last year, one of our many fantastic colleagues, Adelina Deaconu, was nominated by IT Security Guru for the "Most Inspiring Women in Cyber" Awards.
Adelina leads our XDR-Powered SOC team, and under her direction, the group was able to develop into a full-fledged cybersecurity strategic squad. In addition, with Adelina's guidance, the team facilitated the product usage process for our customers.
I strongly believe that women are poised to take on a larger role in cybersecurity due to the field's dynamic and intriguing nature, which aligns well with the skills and qualities of modern women. Regardless of whether you work in development, sales, or support, both cybersecurity and computers are industries that are open to individuals of all genders.
As a woman working in cybersecurity, I have seen firsthand the opportunities that technology can provide for women in terms of education, communication, and entrepreneurship. Heimdal is actively contributing towards promoting gender equality by recruiting and providing support for women in tech. We have a diverse and inclusive workforce, and over time we've implemented policies to support and empower women in their careers.