4 min read

#BreakTheBias: Celebrating VMware’s Security Talent This International Women’s Day

Luis Alvarez

Today is International Women’s Day, a global acknowledgement of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. As a proud champion of the cause, VMware is committed to advancing gender equality and accelerating female leadership in the technology industry — not just today, but everyday, and for years to come.

To continue this commitment, VMware’s 2030 Agenda is a decade-long ESG commitment to foster a more sustainable, equitable and secure world. We are embedding 30 cross-company goals into our business operations and product innovation to accomplish by 2030. These goals include diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts — we are doubling down on diverse hiring and inclusive leadership, with a goal to hire at least one woman for every one man we hire and that at least half of our management team will be comprised of women and those from backgrounds currently underrepresented within our organization.

This initiative is paving the path in redefining the future of work, especially in the security industry, where women only occupy 25% of cybersecurity workforce roles globally. With such underrepresentation in the security industry, and with roles often involving high pressure, around-the-clock responsibilities, it’s critical for female security professionals to advocate for themselves, support each other and push to “Break the Bias” — the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. The timely theme raises awareness of the common biases, stereotypes and discrimination women face in the workplace and society at large.

This International Women’s Day, we shine a spotlight on our female security professionals to learn how they “Break the Bias” in the industry and what advice they recommend for other women following in their footsteps.

“While women have played a significant role in cybersecurity, there is still work to be done in increasing representation. Diverse ideas and experiences can help create more exhaustive guardrails against cyber attacks and help protect digital privacy and security. My role as an engineering leader gives me the chance to hire deserving diverse talent and mentor them to have an opinionated view of the domain, and not just the tech stack. I make a conscious effort not to allow the world’s (or my own) biases limit me in realizing my potential. That is the example I hope to set for the next generation of women to help break the bias.” - Dharma Srinivasan, Director of Engineering

“For me, International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the talented women contributing to all areas of engineering and security, as well as recognizing the opportunities and flexibility a career in these fields can offer. When I’m building a team, I look for a mix of skills and experience, along with a mindset rooted in growth, innovation and collaboration amongst all.” - Kylie Ebringer, Senior Engineering Manager

“I build security products, which have a direct impact on protecting customer networks. It’s a really rewarding career, and I hope more women venture and excel in this field. To me, breaking the bias is all about creating a culture where every voice is heard, irrespective of gender or background. As a manager, I strive to incorporate this within my team and acknowledge that differences are a part of us, and make us a stronger team.” - Sirisha Myneni, Senior Manager of NSX Advanced Threat Prevention

“International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate and amplify diversity, respect and equality in the workplace, especially in the security industry where women are less represented than men. For me, it's very important to be my true self at work, to feel comfortable and have open discussions. I don't hesitate to speak up and also encourage others to speak up, as well. Recognize bias, speak up and break the cycle for yourself and for others, to create a more inclusive and inviting workplace and industry at large.” - Minjal Agarwal, Senior Staff Engineer

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on all the women who have come before me, challenged the status quo, and made it possible to not only be a female working in security, but also a leader of incredibly talented engineers. As an engineering manager for VMware’s Security Business Unit, I feel that it is my responsibility to foster an environment where everyone feels that their voice can be heard and their input is valued. When we have a diverse set of perspectives, we can build a better picture of the problem at hand and deliver well-rounded solutions to our customers.” - Carol Holmstedt, Engineering Manager

By raising awareness on International Women’s Day and beyond, we can drive greater impact in the security industry and society at large. This means faster innovation and increased protection for organizations, and a decreased skills shortage within the industry itself. It also means giving everyone, regardless of their gender or background, a chance to make a real difference in the world, without facing any biases, stereotypes or stigmas.

Looking to make a difference? Please consider donating to the Women@VMware Women’s Empowerment Fund. The Women@VMware Women's Empowerment Fund supports a curated set of organizations working towards gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. Donations to this fund will help support all women in getting access to quality education, health care and sustainable livelihood opportunities and training.