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Last week kicked off with International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8, and it’s inspiring to see the impact that female leadership has on the IT channel. Cisco offered insights and personal accounts from several different leaders on their blog last week, showcasing the importance and power of diversity in the workplace.  

Here are a few of the compelling stories shared by these leaders: 

Choose to Challenge: How Investing in Women Strengthens Families and Communities 

Stacey Faucett, a Marketing Communications Content Specialist on Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility team, spoke to “Choose to Challenge,” this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, and the value of investing in women’s economic empowerment. “According to UN Women, investing in women’s economic empowerment is key to achieving women’s rights and gender equality,” she explained. “Economies grow when more women have access to better opportunities. For example, increasing the female employment rates in OECD countries to match Sweden’s rate, which is 71 percent, could boost GDP by over USD 6 trillion, according to The Women in Work Index 2021.” 

Faucett shared four stories of female leaders of organizations making a difference in the world, thanks in part to strategic and thoughtful investments from organizations like Cisco. These stories include Annet Kirabo with Living Goods, Victoria Hazel, Founder of Solid Rock Foundation Schools, Water Access Rwanda Founder Christelle Kwizera, and Co-Founder and CEO of OmniVis Dr. Katherine Clayton. 

Read more about their stories here

Lifting Each Other Up: A Celebration of Women in Cybersecurity and Their Advocates 

Cindy Valladares, Senior Manager, Security Product Marketing with Cisco, wrote a two-part series featuring female cybersecurity experts and their stories about important allies in their career who helped build them up to where they are today. Valladares noted that great strides are being taken as far as female leadership representation in cybersecurity.  

“According to the 2019 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, higher percentages of women have reached senior positions in cybersecurity than men,” she wrote. “These roles have included chief technology officer (seven percent of women compared to two percent men) and C-level/executive (28 percent women compared to 19 percent men).” But there is still much work to be done in the way of parity across the industry, and this is where the importance of allies and a reliable support system cannot be understated.  

Read Part 1  here and Part 2 here about these women in cybersecurity and success stories. 

Cisco Supports Women’s Development with DARE 

Trisha Paul, Software Engineer for Cisco’s Webex Calling-India Team, shared about her recent experience with the DARE program. A high-impact women’s leadership program, DARE prepares women in all stages of their careers and aligns to the most relevant Cisco competencies. Paul spoke to how much this experience fueled her pride in working for a company that champions diversity and female empowerment in the workplace.  

“I am sure every participant will reap the benefits of this program throughout their career,” she said. “The DARE session will always be a steppingstone for my career growth, and I feel I was fortunate enough to be selected for attending the event.” 

Read more about her experience here.