Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, a global day tabbed to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. At WhiteHat Security, we take today very seriously as it is a great opportunity to highlight all of the fantastic, smart, and talented women that make us who we are.
To help celebrate this important day, some of the Women of WhiteHat have shared their thoughts on the progress that has been made, and the steps companies still need to take to ensure men and women receive the same opportunities.
Houston Women of WhiteHat
Kanthi Prasad, VP of engineering
“The gender gap in the technology industry still exists. When I started working, I did not expect equality, but instead started with the assumption that I have to try to work harder than people around me in order to gain equal footing. Nobody can stand up for you better than yourself, so learn how and when to verbalize what you need. Don’t be the one who gets easily offended by things around you.
That does not mean it is easy, but choose to concentrate on the long-term outcome than the short-term pain. The right mentor or sponsor can support and guide you through even the most difficult situations. Make time for the women in your organization to support, mentor and appreciate each other as much as possible.”
Krista Delucchi, engineering program manager
“I enjoy working in technology because I get to help shape the digital world in which we exist, and I know that the influence provided by women creates a product that better serves its users. Working in technology has provided me with countless opportunities to witness the incredible support that women provide to one another (and to the rest of their peers), find role models in the brave, brilliant, and inspiring females around me, and learn to be a fair leader both in the workplace and in my personal life. Diversity in technology (whether it’s gender identity, race, culture, age, orientation, or any other factor that makes people wonderfully unique) directly translates to its day to day success in the field.”
Ellen Harbour, director, global training
“I began my career in technology in the 1980s and was fortunate to land my first ‘real’ job at a company that encouraged diversity in every area. Women made up approximately 40 percent of the IT department, so I had many female role models at all levels of the organization. It was nearly a decade later that I had my first encounter with the ‘male bias’ that has become so prevalent. I love working in technology because it is constantly presenting new opportunities to learn, and while technology has definitely changed over the years, the skills I learned in the early days of my career have enabled me to evolve and grow my career in ways I never envisioned.”
Katherine Haworth, application security specialist
“I appreciate the fact that the people I work with enjoy solving problems by thinking through them, and that I’m valued for the knowledge that I bring to the table as a woman. My current environment encourages and rewards creative and novel solutions, despite the common rep of STEM being sort of anti-arts/creativity. I love the flexibility in this industry – while not all positions at all companies can be done remotely or at odd hours, many can, and that means a lot of people who would otherwise have to choose between family and work can actually balance both.”
Lauren McCaslin, vulnerability verification team lead
“I love being a woman in tech because there is never a dull moment. Every person communicates in different ways and I feel that being a woman allows me to listen, analyze, and appreciate various perspectives in order to help my colleagues feel comfortable speaking with me on a variety of topics. This, in turn, leads to more positive collaboration, which results in agreed upon solutions and compromise.”
Tammy McCrory, senior change manager
“I enjoy working in technology because I love to figure out how things work, build things, fix things, and continually improve things – and solving problems in a team environment is FUN and intrinsically rewarding! Having diversity in the workplace is crucial to getting the variety of perspectives needed to efficiently and enjoyably do trouble-shooting and design – the end result is always better than what any one of us can bring to the table on our own, and it feels like quality goes up as the width of perspective increases.”
Fiona Phillips, software engineer
“I love the fast-paced nature of the tech industry and that I have to keep developing my skills as a response to languages and frameworks constantly evolving. Projects are always varied and bring fresh challenges. I enjoy working closely with my team to bring a feature from its infancy to fruition.
As a kid, the technology field was the only way to keep my busy little brain occupied, free from boredom, and saved me from the dreaded career path my parents had charted for me. Back then, it was mostly men, and I struggled to even get into computer classes in high school.
The main thing I love about it now is seeing more and more women entering the engineering field, especially engineering leadership. It’s giving young women an alternate career choice, giving engineering a fresh outlook, and (I believe) changing the game for the future.”
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, which goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the technology industry’s efforts to increase the number of women employed in tech-related jobs. At WhiteHat, it’s our goal to strive for that balance in all of our decision making, and we hope to help push the conversation forward, not just today, but each and every day.