All throughout March, we worked to #BreakTheBias with company events in honor of International Women’s Day.
March 8 was International Women’s Day (IWD), but at Avast, we chose to celebrate it all month. It’s a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. At the same time, it’s a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. To raise awareness about IWD and women’s equality, we planned a month-long series of internal and external activities focused on this year’s IWD theme, #BreakTheBias.
March 3 – LinkedIn Live Presentation
Avast Foundation opened a public dialogue on gender bias with a special LinkedIn Live presentation chaired by former BBC Chief News Presenter Philippa Thomas. In the presentation, experts from Avast Foundation, BBC, Oxford University, Avast, and the UN discussed how we can deliver a more diverse, equitable and inclusive future — a topic that should be more important than ever during times of crisis and instability. In addition to exploring ways to achieve the IWD goal of breaking the gender bias, the panel of special guests also shared some important life lessons and thoughts on creating digital freedom around the world.
March 9 – Everywoman in Tech Awards
Every year, the Everywoman in Tech Awards celebrates the most inspirational women working in STEM. This year, Avast sponsored the brand new Cyber Security category, which is awarded to a woman who excels in her role and makes a tangible difference in the field of technology. The award went to Fay Sears, a Cyber Security Supply Chain Assurance at SSE in Havant. Fay investigates potential security risks caused by third-party suppliers involved with the support of critical national infrastructure.
Throughout the month
All month long, we hosted internal events and activities such as:
- Fun and educational #BreakTheBias challenges issued over Slack, such as watching a movie or listening to a podcast related to gender bias, equality, and inclusion
- IWD-themed Zoom backgrounds
- A kids’ art contest featuring paintings or drawings of inspirational women
- Our media partnership with the female-focused magazine Heroine, which featured outstanding female engineers and leaders from Avast
- The “IWD Awards,” where Avastians nominate their colleagues, shining a spotlight on exceptional Avast women for their work, enthusiasm, and dedication
March 28 – Women@Avast event
“What can we do together at Avast – here, today, now, this year – to break the bias and to empower women for future success?” This is what host and Avast Senior AI Researcher Eli Babayeva asked her guests and audience in this company-wide event that was held over Zoom. Her panel included Avast’s Heather Cartwright, Shirley Selvan, Siggi Stefnisson, and Avast CIO Jaya Baloo. They discussed the importance of diversity, the issue of undervaluing oneself, and the essential step forward that requires that we recognize we all have biases baked into our subconscious, as much as we may not want to admit it.
March 29 – Coffee Talk on Gender Bias
Before an all-hands meeting, we held a company-wide educational workshop on gender equality, bias, and the role of women. This was part of our regular monthly “Bridging Cultural Differences” series.
March 30 – Women In Identity
We ended the month with a Zoom event moderated by Dita Formankova, Director of the Diversity and Inclusion Team at Avast. She introduced Guest Speaker Emma Lindley, Co-Founder of Women In Identity, an organization dedicated to driving the digital identity industry to build solutions with diverse teams in order to promote universal access, which in turn enables civic, social, and economic empowerment around the world. The group believes that digital identity solutions intended for everyone should be built by everyone. Only three years old, Women In Identity already has dozens of sponsors, including Deloitte, Mastercard, Microsoft…and now, Avast.
“Today, it’s my greatest pleasure to announce our partnership with the Women in Identity community,” said host Dita. “I’m very happy to welcome our new diversity partner on board and really, truly looking forward to collaborating together on diversifying our talent pools, and also on shaping our identity solutions so they are more inclusive.”
The month may be over, but here at Avast the spirit of IWD will live on throughout the year. We are committed to empowering women and encouraging more to join the tech field, and we’ll continue challenging each other and our colleagues to find new ways to #BreakTheBias. Won’t you join us?