Women in the C-Suite of Cloud Networking Solutions

Monica Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme Networks
This International Women’s Day, let us recommit to fostering a more inclusive & equitable technology industry, says Monica Kumar, CMO, Extreme Networks

Every 8th of March, the world comes together to honour International Women’s Day, a momentous occasion dedicated to recognising the remarkable achievements of women across the globe. Since its inception over a century ago in 1911, this day serves as a poignant reminder of the strides made in areas spanning social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, the theme ‘Inspire Inclusion’ takes centre stage, championing diversity and empowerment not just for today but for the days to come.

This year's campaign echoes the paramount importance of inclusion in the quest for gender equality. It impels us to take tangible steps towards dismantling barriers, challenging ingrained stereotypes, and cultivating environments where every woman feels valued and respected. When women are encouraged to partake fully, a profound sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment flourishes.

Technology remains a male dominated industry — according to Women in Tech, women account for around 26% of people working in IT today. Looking at the wider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce, women make up only 24%. Although more female STEM graduates are stepping into STEM careers, the stats paint a concerning picture of their staying power in the workforce. Within just one year of leaving university, there's a noticeable decline in the number of women staying in STEM roles. Presently, women make up 29.4% of fresh recruits. However, when it comes to top-tier positions like VP and C-suite roles, that number plunges to 17.8% and 12.4% respectively.

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Monica Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme Networks sat down with Mobile to share her experiences as a female leader in the technology space. Her invaluable insights and advice serve as beacons of inspiration for fellow women navigating this sector on International Women’s Day and beyond.

International Women’s Day from inside the boardroom

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it serves as a reminder of both the progress we've made and the hurdles that persist. In the technology industry, women are continually shattering barriers and contributing to a more diverse and innovative industry landscape.

It's imperative that we push beyond mere diversity quotas within organisations and ensure that women are not just present, but actively involved in decision-making processes. By providing women with a seat at the table, we not only create diversity of thought, but empower women to shape the future of technology and inspire younger generations to follow. Technology companies who ignore diversity initiatives are putting their future success at risk.

“Throughout my career, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of mentorship and community support. Organisations must prioritise mentorship programmes and cultivate an environment where women can thrive. Additionally, flexible work policies, such as those that improve hybrid work models, are instrumental in supporting the diverse needs of women and all working parents in the workforce.

“In an ideal world, more women would occupy leadership positions. True progress occurs when women can make decisions and drive impactful change within their organisations, which is crucial in an industry as innovative and ever-changing as technology.

“For women navigating their professional careers, I recommend drawing inspiration from influential figures like Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates. Books such as ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brené Brown and ‘My Life in Full’ by Indra Nooyi offer invaluable insights and guidance for personal and professional development. I also recommend joining groups designed to inspire and motivate women – I am a member of the board for UPWARD Women, which is an organisation with a global footprint and has many resources for leadership development, and a founding member of Neythri, a global community of South Asian professional women.

“This International Women’s Day, let us recommit ourselves to fostering a more inclusive and equitable technology industry, where every woman has the opportunity to thrive and showcase her unique perspective and talents.”

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