Post co-authored by Meera Subbarao, Apoorva Phadke, and Ksenia Dmitrieva
Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th and this year the United Nations theme for 2015 is “Empowering Women: Empowering Humanity.” As professional women we have to ask, “Are we making enough effort to empower women in technology? How about the leadership roles?” Like the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, says “It’s time to cheer on the girls and women who want to sit at the table.”
Many organizations are making strides to balance the ratio of men and women and create conducive environments to foster gender diversity and equality. At Synopsys, we’re doing our part and wanted to share a few great initiatives that help our women succeed and feel empowered.
With offices distributed around the world, it’s hard to get all of our women to together in person, but we take advantage of virtual conferencing and email to connect. To facilitate ongoing conversations we set up an email distribution list for all the women in the company. Through this channel we exchange and discuss articles, news, videos, career advice, and motivational writings. It’s a quick and easy way to share what’s on our minds and to get feedback, perhaps, from a colleague who is facing or has faced the same issue locally or abroad.
In addition to the email group, we also have a women’s book club. The book club meets virtually once a month to discuss the chapters from the book. More often than not conversations lead to personal life experiences, points of view, and suggestions. This book club has turned out to be a great outlet for mentorship. The most recent publications we discussed were “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg and “Women, Work, & the Art of Savoir Faire” by Mireille Guiliano.
While it’s important for women to support women, it’s also important to see our male counterparts are doing it too. Listeners of the Silver Bullet podcast hosted by our Gary McGraw should know Gary makes it a point to feature talented women in technology. Past female Silver Bullet guests include L. Jean Camp, Caroline Wong, Wenyuan Xu, and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger. One of the topics Gary and each of these guests always seem to touch on is how to get more women in tech.
In addition to Gary we’re thankful for the rest of our Synopsys management team, as they understand the importance of getting more women working in the technology industry. To show their support they advocate and sponsor the Women in Cyber Security Conference (WiCyS) each year. Our female Synopsys employees participate, present, and speak at the conference, spreading their knowledge of security and the importance of women in the technology workforce. In fact at this year’s conference you’ll find two of our women speaking, Meera Subbarao, “Know Your Enemy, and Yourself: Demystifying Threat Modeling” and Apoorva Phadke, “The Girl with the Hacker Crew.”
Another great thing about working at Synopsys is the company offers a lot of flexibility to all employees, regardless of gender, whether that involves relocation, flexible work hours, or different career paths. There was no better example of this than when one of our male colleagues took three months off to take over primary parenting duties for his 3 month old son when his wife’s maternity leave expired. The fact, Synopsys supports not only the female staff, but the spouses and partners of employees.
Companies like ours are setting a great example for other organizations to follow. When corporations back women and their aspirations, every day not just on International Women’s Day they really do empower women who empower humanity.