Celebrating Women’s History Month
If you follow my blogs, you’ll know that I’m a big fan celebrating legacy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you have history and heritage, don’t bury it. Leverage it. I feel the same way when it comes to Women’s History Month. We should do it more often, but March is a perfect reminder to celebrate the incredible females who have influenced our world.
Before I became a marketer, I was in sales, and to say that I was in a male-dominated space is an understatement. In 2017, just 25% of folks in technology sales roles were women, so imagine that number 30 years ago. It seemed, at that time, that it was me and one other female. I’ve always been strong-willed but being in sales in the 80s forced me to define myself early and look to the few other women in the industry who were succeeding and thriving. I had to find role models, and I was determined to become one for others as well.
To sell technology, I needed to understand technology, and around the same time that I was selling, a woman named Radia Perlman was writing the algorithm behind Spanning Tree Protocol, or STP. Today, Radia is known as the Mother of the Internet, holding more than 80 related patents and is a driving force behind many network security advancements. She’s an inspiration to both men and women in technology. It’s a shame that billions of people around the globe enjoy her advances, but few even know her name.
I felt empowered by Radia and women like her. As the saying goes, empowered women empower women. But I believe that empowered men can empower women, too. I urge all of us, regardless of sex, to stand up for women this Women’s History Month and beyond. We need to continue to lift each other up and give women a seat at the table. Imagine if Radia had been left out of the STP conversations. Where would the Internet be now? How would technology be different?
Finding strength in legacy is an incredibly important way to both honor influential women and learn from the mistakes and gains that they’ve made. Do what you can this month to acknowledge the powerful women of the past by building up the amazing ladies of our future.