2021 International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, we want to take a pause to appreciate all the women in tech and here at Abine! Recently, both TV and cinema has given us a better understanding women have been playing in science and technology with Hidden Figures and the Bletchley Circle. Here are a few empowering women and change makers across the globe who are currently inspiring and motivating us.

Celebrate women

Cynthia Dwork

Cynthia is currently a professor at Harvard University. Cynthia is a pivotal figure in privacy as she set the standards for privacy in aggregated statistics. She created the Differential Privacy standard, outlining the privacy rights that individuals have when being used in statistics.

April Falcon Doss

Women privacy pioneers are not limited to those in tech functions. April Falcon Doss is a lawyer specialized in privacy and cybersecurity. She is a partner and the Chair of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP. She has recently published her first book, Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care (BenBella, 2020). She was formerly head of Intelligence Law at NSA and Senior Minority Counsel for the Russia Investigation in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Before her federal service, April worked as a public defender, civil litigator, and in-house counsel to a private college. In addition to practicing privacy and cybersecurity law, she teaches at the University of Maryland law school.Her book Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care is an easy-to-read yet fully informative account giving precious insight into the origin of the privacy issues we face today. By bridging online and offline world with examples from real life April brings online privacy issues to life.

Elizabeth C. Rogers

Elizabeth is currently a cybersecurity lawyer in Texas, but before that, she founded the Statewide Information Privacy Advisory Council. The council is an advocate for the right to privacy of every Texan and teaches young children about cybersecurity and their online footprint.

Nashlie Sephus

Nashlie Sephus

At only 35 years old, Nashlie has sold a company to Amazon and aims to create a tech hub in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. Not known for being a tech hub, Nashlie is truly a changemaker bringing jobs and forward-thinking innovation to Mississippi.

Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 13: Gwynne Shotwell speaks during the 2017 Forbes Women’s Summit at Spring Studios on June 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Gwynne is the COO and President of SpaceX. She is one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and is frequently found giving her time to various STEM organizations. She is a large advocate for women in the science and technology industries and is often found giving talks around this. Her speech “Launching Our Future” speaks about space and the need for diversity and inclusion in all workplaces.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. The Vice President has been a long time advocate for privacy for women and all citizens, bringing together some of the largest tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, mandating their privacy policies prominently display what information they are sharing with whom. She also formed the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit to enforce laws around the use of private and sensitive information. Now as the first woman Vice President, the first African-American Vice President, and the first Asian-American Vice President, she truly embodies female empowerment.

Empowered, but still at risk

“A recent survey by Stop Street Harassment shows that 81% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 54% of this happens at work.”

Because of the nature of our business, we often hear from women prior to or during an unpleasant experience with harassment. This isn’t new nor is it a trend that is going away. As women develop careers, their risk only grows. A recent survey by Stop Street Harassment shows that 81% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. 54% of this happens at work.

Stop Street Harassment Survey
2019 Survey Courtesy of stopstreetharassment.org

“When it comes to safety,
privacy is only a small component”

Harassment risk grows with career

As women grow in their careers, their risk of harassment grows. A joint study between Sweden, Japan, and the United States found that women in senior leadership positions experienced 30-100% more sexual harassment than women in other positions.

“Sexual harassment means that women’s career advancement comes at a higher cost than men’s, especially in male-dominated industries and firms. Additional survey data from the United States and Japan showed that harassment of supervisors was not only more common than for employees, but was also followed by more negative professional and social consequences. This included getting a reputation of being a ‘trouble maker’ and missing out on promotions or training,” says Olle Folke, affiliated researcher at SOFI and associate professor at Uppsala University.

The threat of this harassment trickling into an offline capacity, by showing up at one’s home or implying they could, only lends its hand in the cycle of sexual harassment. While most companies have policies against this, it is a complicated matter as there have been no concrete studies on the right way to implement these policies. Many workplaces rely on women to report the malfeasances, but by putting the problem solely on the victim, it further complicates the incidents. Women often feel scared to report these incidents with the idea they may become known as a whistleblower or overly sensitive. Coworkers wonder if the victim merely misinterpreted a friendly interaction. Caught in a confusing loop, women often choose to merely “deal with it.”

Benefits at work

Many companies now are acknowledging this cycle with zero-tolerance harassment policies and giving women the right to privacy in the form of privacy benefits. DeleteMe is only one component of this but by removing one’s home address and other sensitive data from search engines and the web, the victim can be certain they are safer and feel more confident in their chosen course of action. When it comes to safety, privacy is only a small component but can lead to a more restful night’s sleep knowing that one’s personal information is offline and unavailable to any potential harassers.

 


 

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