Celebrate ‘You’ - Be relentless, fearless, voice out!
Let’s start with a beautiful quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg -“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation”. 2020 has taught that a family can have 2 heroes in the same home and share responsibilities while meting differences. Supporting and uplifting each other, leads to co-growth which can be a strong influence personally and the backbone for a positive career path.
Usually women tend to be non-vocal about their achievements or problems. (This is merely my observation) I say, now is the time to be absolutely fearless, use various platforms both professionally and personally to share your thoughts, ideas and passion. Avoid assumptions, promote self and voice out when you see an opportunity for growth. Obviously this change cannot happen in a day. We do know that when a habit is followed with conviction, over time it becomes innate to us. Sometimes, revelling and following some incredible leaders can help stay on path.
Some really incredible women in technology like Katie Moussouris are true inspirations. Her work with the U.S. Department of Defence was ground breaking, when she built the government’s first bug bounty program, “Hack the Pentagon.” She continues to influence the world of Cybersecurity enthusiasts to join and develop the Bug Bounty platforms for organisations. She has paved her own path in the field of cybersecurity, which has been considered to be a male dominated industry. Curiosity and thinking out-of-the-box are qualities that cybersecurity field constantly needs. It would be apt to say that women have it in their DNA and that’s the deal breaker.
Identify inspiration around you, follow it, to create your own success path. If you want to make a difference to you and people around you, don’t just wait, make it happen. Think of a plan, chase it, reiterate when needed, but be relentless.
There are many platforms like InfosecGirls, OWASP Women In AppSec (WIA), Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC), Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), Women in Security Excelling (WISE) to name a few where you can meet like-minded women to join and network with other wonderful women leaders.
Remember, our career is a marathon; not a sprint. Identify a mentor/mentors who can guide you and help you walk the way to conquer your dreams. Some aspects like self assessments, goals and roles need to be vetted out as pre-work for it to be useful. Focus constantly on how security can be improved by learning and applying the necessary skills. Consider giving back to the community by way of teaching; writing blogs; join and contribute to free and open communities in India such as null community, OWASP chapters, etc. where you can participate. More than the mutual learning, it helps stay connected, motivated and recognised.