Q1. What does the International Women's Day mean to you?
Vanita: Women constitute 50% of the population, yet they are under-represented in many facets of life - including the technology industry. International Women's Day spurs us to think about the ways that can help bridge this divide. While I believe women and their achievements must be celebrated every single day, it is good to acknowledge the immense contribution that women make to the global economy this week.
Lizzie: This year we hosted a virtual event on International Women's Day with 110+ folks from across our industry and in partnership with WySis. It was great to hear both women and men speak passionately about the females that have inspired them in their careers, and the need to work consciously on diversity and to help women get the equality they ultimately deserve.
Q2. How have the workplaces changed in terms of diversity over the last decade or so?
Vanita: There's been a sea change in the attitudes around diversity and equal representation of women, however, we still have work to do. The cybersecurity industry, for instance, was largely a no-go industry for women a decade ago. I have worked with countless inspiring women in my career, and Arkose Labs is proud to host events featuring an equal number of female and male thought leaders from security, fraud, and risk, such as our upcoming Fraud Prevention Panel Series. That said, there is still an economic disparity between the two genders and that is something that still needs a lot of focused attention.
Lizzie: The reasons for the under-representation of women in senior leadership roles and in technical fields are complex and multi-faceted. While we are seeing progress, unfortunately, the last decade has shown that the issues causing this are stubborn! Influencing factors range from issues with education, a scarcity of good role models and mentors, and unconscious bias in workplaces and hiring practices. Having inclusivity front and center in work cultures is crucial to progress, as are the global efforts to raise awareness about women's rights and the encouragement to forge new career paths.
Q3. What are your thoughts on the gender divide in marketing?
Vanita: It is a common belief that women are more likely to join marketing as it is considered conducive for them. Unfortunately, there is an enormous gender divide in marketing as well, with men still over-represented in senior roles. However, despite the challenges, women are breaking the glass ceilings and setting an example for young girls. A true representation of women breaking glass ceilings is our Vice President Kamala Harris, who has inspired a generation of young women to follow their dreams.
Lizzie: Gender divide is all pervasive and marketing is no exception. One issue holding females back in their careers is that women across the globe shoulder a far greater burden of unpaid caring duties - and there are studies showing that women spend more hours on unpaid work irrespective of the income they bring to a household. The impact of this has come to the forefront during Covid-19, with women leaving the workforce in greater numbers and reporting higher stress levels as they juggle caring duties and homeschooling as well as their jobs. Whilst this has been an incredibly difficult time for many people, Covid-19 is giving the business world the opportunity to embrace greater flexibility into working days, and ensure that work cultures empower and promote women.
Q4. What's your message to aspiring women marketers?
Vanita: Marketing is an incredibly creative and enjoyable job. Yes, it can be demanding at times, especially as you grow in your career and take up senior roles. You will be required to travel frequently and spend time away from the family. Women aspiring to enjoy a rewarding career in marketing must build a support system around them. This is an important element that will help you focus on your work without worrying too much about the kids or elders back home. Fortunately, many organizations now offer flexibility to their employees, so they can balance work and home well.
Lizzie: The number of women breaking away from traditional gender roles is increasing, which is a huge plus for everyone. In-keeping with the theme of this year's International Women's Day, #ChooseToChallenge, women must challenge themselves to overcome their inhibitions and do everything they can to pursue their dreams.