Cloudera is happy to be an official supporter of International Women’s Day 2021. We at Cloudera believe in the undeniable power of data to build a more equitable future, and we are humbled to be building the products that make it possible for data to change the world for the better.
The theme of this year’s IWD is #ChooseToChallenge. As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, we’re building a foundation for our future young women, raising awareness about women’s equality, helping to accelerate gender parity, and supporting women-focused charities.
Society is waking up to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives necessary to build products that truly serve everyone. Through a growing awareness of intersectionality, we can all understand how gender bias hurts women and femme identities of different races, sexualities, and experiences. Cloudera is committed to achieving true gender diversity through hiring initiatives, investments in building skills in our communities, and encouraging us all to show up to work as our full selves.
This year’s theme—#ChooseToChallenge—means something special to all of us and to the customers we work alongside. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we are excited to empower all employees and allies to create a more gender-inclusive world by sharing their stories and experiences from around the globe.
Speaking freely, honestly, and openly
The first International Women’s Day was in 1908, and we’ve definitely come a long way since then. IWD gives us a chance to acknowledge the hurdles that women have crossed to get us this far. Throughout history, the challenges we’ve faced have looked different, but our communal struggles build the stepping stones for the same path, allowing us to march toward a more equitable future.
Katarina Dulanovic, Chief Data Officer of Allianz Australia, emphasized our responsibility to “choose to challenge inequality and protect the defenseless from gender inequality and abuse—openly, in your place of work, in the industry and society. ‘Be the change you want to see.’ Women have a voice, but need to speak up.”
According to Maria Francesca Montes, VP, Head of AI & Data Policy, Data Protection Officer at Union Bank of the Philippines, to speak up, we need to recognize our power, which has been hard-earned by the ladies who came before us. “First, we need to realize that women can speak freely and experience the equal standing we have today thanks to the century-long movement of women leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sarah J. Tompkins Garnet, Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Margaret Thatcher. We can vote, get the job we want, and marry the one we love because of these women who have fought for our rights. We have to remember how hard they fought so we can continue to challenge and drive change for the next generation of women to come.”
What we’ve learned from the past creates a better tomorrow
The #ChooseToChallenge theme encourages us to celebrate our achievements while tackling the many challenges still ahead of us. Taking on some of the most deeply entrenched problems in our society can seem overwhelming, but there are many simple ways we as women at Cloudera, alongside our customers and our allies, can create positive ripples in our daily lives. We can do this by actively seeking out opportunities to lift each other up, challenging antiquated gender roles, and speaking up when we see something wrong—whether it is “our business” or not.
It’s also important to see what we can do to promote equality in all aspects of our lives. “More is required across our society and in the workplace, including changes to the gender quota numbers. Instead of using these statistics alone as a measurement, companies should have a full gender-equality index that includes salary banding and other equally important measures,” added Dulanovic.
As our global society evolves, more focus is on younger women, who have become active drivers forging their path for success. Young women are leading the charge for change, and inspiring us all while they do it. “Through the eyes of my daughter, I have seen more opportunities for her to thrive in high school and now college—leading her own way. When she puts her mind toward something, she stands up, is bold, believes in herself, and supports others around her. Just this summer, during the pandemic, she made 40 face masks for family and friends, with all the proceeds donated toward women-owned charities. A fantastic feat coming from a 20-year-old,” said Diana Yanez-Pastor, Director Customer Marketing at Cloudera.
Arielle Diamond, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Cloudera, shares that, in her personal experience, the impact of other women has been monumentally inspiring. “As I think of #ChooseToChallenge, I think of my grandmother, who in her lifetime was ordered by her husband to stay home and not pursue a career. Then once he left her on her own with four kids, she started the uphill climb of pursuing her education and eventual career, all the while facing workplace harassment and hurtful stereotypes. In my short fledgling career, I have been blessed to have brilliant female managers who have taken the time to help me invest in myself and have encouraged me to take risks and realize the rewards. Their guidance has allowed me to reap the benefits of their hard-learned experience.”
Be the catalyst—empower women to challenge and make change happen
In our personal and professional lives, role models are immeasurably valuable. “People look for role models and true leadership. When there are more women in leadership roles, it encourages other women to challenge and drive change,” said Yanzhu Wu, Data Science Research & Development RoW, Credit Suisse.
The importance of female mentors and peers has become especially clear during the pandemic. Over the past year in a global pandemic, women and their families have struggled with balance. Wu knows this firsthand, adding, “During the pandemic, I have been overwhelmed with the housework, the kids’ schoolwork, doing several projects, and managing a team. I was working all the time and I was burning out. The Wall Street Journal article “Companies and Women Are at the Crossroad” clicked in my mind and really resonated with me. After talking with one of the senior women leaders, I have improved and found my balance over time. There is no magic for this. What she did was simply listen to me and give me advice from time to time. Often, women can best help one another because we have similar experiences.”
Having women to look up to in the workforce can be a game-changer. Early in our careers, opportunities to work with, and for, female managers who inspire us to bring our best and step up to challenges are instrumental in helping us develop and grow. Angela Johnson, Principal Architect, Ford Motor Company, Enterprise Architecture, said that “As leaders, we need to provide the space for open and transparent dialogue across all layers of the company. Being able to voice concerns and discuss methods for resolution is often overlooked. Including women in the discussion provides ownership and accountability.”
Beyond representation, women in positions of power can help pave the way for change in bigger ways. Rebecca McMorris, EMIT/Data Science & Analytics/Strategy Manager at ExxonMobil, believes, “Women, especially in positions of leadership, need to visibly challenge when those critical moments arise. We have to demonstrate we are willing to take the personal risk before we can expect it from anyone else. To effect lasting change, it will require us to unite and drive change together as one voice. As that collective voice grows, each woman’s individual personal risk is reduced while the overall impact of the message grows stronger. It is a win-win in my mind. I have a motto—Train for hard things by doing hard things,’ quoted from Shannon Huffman Polson, veteran and author.”
We inspire each other by resisting the status quo. Inspiring women from around the globe, we celebrate you!
Here at Cloudera, we are fortunate to work alongside brilliant female customers who share their innovation and leadership. Spanning across all industries and countries, these women have forged ahead, creating a path for others to follow. We’re inspired by the way they #ChooseToChallenge, even in the face of pressure.
“When I joined HMRC, my female boss told me on my first day that I would need to be ‘more male than the men’ if I wanted to succeed. While my natural instinct was to do as my boss told me, I soon came to realize that I didn’t know how to be anything but me, and that ‘me’ was more than up to the job. Instead, I focused on staying true to myself and most importantly, doing my job well,” said Helen Davis, Director of IT and Digital, West Midlands Police.
As Montes added, “ChooseToChallenge means that women will not be silenced, we will not be ignored. Women empowerment cannot be reduced to a single movement or an annual commemoration. We need to have the obligation to help other women.”
We often develop our values and beliefs, embedded deep within ourselves, from constant support from our family and friends. “Growing up, my parents taught me I could succeed at whatever I set my mind to do. Being a woman never entered the discussion. This is the mindset I bring to work every day, even though I recognize we have many gaps still to close in both gender and racial equality in the workplace. #ChooseToChallenge resonates with me as both a personal as well as a professional challenge,” said McMorris.
“Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work with an amazingly talented and diverse group of individuals. I have not only grown professionally through these relationships, but I have deepened my understanding of and empathy for others. I continually challenge myself to become more informed, to recognize my own bias, and to strive to have a positive impact around me,” added McMorris.
Choosing to challenge means learning and growing from each other, and coming together to empower each other in the ongoing pursuit of true equality. At Cloudera, we resonate with Johnson’s challenge: “I #ChooseToChallenge the status quo and instead support open dialogue to consider changes in the way we address hiring women at all levels of leadership. Change will not happen without a common understanding of the goal.”
Sharing our experiences across Cloudera
There are many more ways to learn from and support women in the workplace even beyond March 8. For more great resources, make sure to visit the Cloudera webinar on Influential Women in Data; Helen Davis’s work at West Midlands Police, highlighted by We Are Tech Women; and Angela Johnson’s work with the #IamRemarkable workshops, which promote an inclusive environment through the awareness of self-advocacy—giving women the ability to find their voice in the workplace.
We are excited to empower each other to #ChooseToChallenge at Cloudera and through our innovative customer leaders. Thanks to our employees and allies for sharing your wisdom, your experiences, and, importantly, your voice as we all celebrate International Women’s Day.