International Women’s Day: How Do You #BreakTheBias?

    Equality is essential to the way we work, which is why we’re committed to challenging gender bias.

    When Pilar Rugerio, a computer engineer dedicated to wireless networks, imagines a world without gender discrimination and bias, she envisions more women pursuing careers in in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

    “Representation matters, and women engineers need more female role models,” she said.

    That’s why Pilar (pictured above), who's based in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, makes a point to tell women early in their careers about her path.

    “I’ll tell other women how I designed and deployed Wi-fi in offices with hundreds of people working there, and it all started with my engineering,” she said. “I’m constantly sharing my story about how I studied a discipline related to technology but ended up working in a different area of STEM so women and girls aren’t afraid to take the leap.”

    In honor of International Women’s Day, Pilar and other #futureshaper team members discussed how they’ve committed to #BreakTheBias.

    Kim Jackson, global business resilience leader

    Location: Atlanta

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    Early in my career, I was unable to move forward into management. I recall being told at the time: “You aren’t strong enough emotionally to lead an all-male team.”

    I encourage any woman to push through biases by identifying allies that can advocate for you when you cannot advocate for yourself. These allies are especially important in circles where your voice or achievements are not loud enough to speak for themselves.  

    Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh, Aerospace vice president and general counsel

    Location: Phoenix

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    Women around the world have to fight biases, barriers and expectations to succeed. In different cultures and environments, many women can likely relate to the experience of being the only or one of the only women at the business table at some point in their careers.

    To change things, I believe it’s important to be empathetic and recognize the challenges other people have overcome. In doing so, you can bring together a team of people who have different ideas, perspectives and ways of solving problems, and that’s extremely powerful.

    Nadine Bent-Russell, user experience program manager

    Location: Atlanta

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    Women generally bring a unique perspective to ways of working that are organic to Agile approaches. Breaking the bias will enable our natural allies to see us in places they may have never imagined before. Promoting women and leveraging this part of our population who have been mostly overlooked is invaluable to all our work, and breaking the bias allows for this education.

    It's important to challenge the socialization of women that causes many of us to miss out on technology opportunities, abilities and thinking. When we can identify those opportunities within ourselves and our allies, it makes raising your hand to be part of tech a more empowering experience for all of us.

    Sweta Sharma, senior data architect

    Location: Bangalore, India

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    I feel it is important to challenge gender bias because it will give women a fair chance in work and in life and will create a path for future generations.

    Beth Carter, sustainable technology senior business leader

    Beth (left) is pictured with her partner Helin Cox, refining technologies senior business leader.

    Location: Des Plaines, Illinois

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    My partner is also a woman. We are showing the world it's possible for us both to rock it as engineers and business leaders, normalizing diversity and smashing stereotypes along the way.

    Melissa Nelson, senior quality engineering manager

    Location: Atlanta

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    I challenge gender bias in my field because we all bring something unique to the table based on our skills, knowledge and experiences which should not be based on race, sex, national origin, creed or color but on our talents and merit.  

    Ashley Fiore, operational excellence senior director

    Location: Phoenix

    Why I choose to break gender bias:

    People can and will surprise you. When you bring in your own biases, you are cutting yourself off from seeing new possibilities and future innovations. You are putting yourself at a disadvantage.