To cap off Trend Micro’s annual cybersecurity conference DECODE 2021, Olympic silver-medalist Nesthy Petecio imparted a special message for all women working in male-dominated industries.
The female boxer was featured as a special guest during “Get IT Girl!” to share her experiences and how she rose above the challenges she faced as a woman in the male-dominated sport of boxing. Get IT Girl! has been an initiative of Trend Micro’s since 2019, with the intention of empowering and uplifting women in the tech industry. Pre-pandemic, the company would hold a ‘GET IT GIRL Breakfast Panel’ that would spotlight female talent in the industry and discuss how technology can encourage diversity.
This year’s session was facilitated by Joahnna Hipolito, Trend Micro’s Manager for Technology Marketing on the last day of the conference. Bringing together women in tech from all over the nation, the session discussed the existing skills gap in cybersecurity and how this has improved thanks to inclusion and diversity. With an attendance of over 800, the session proved to be an effective avenue to engage with the community and discuss the latest state of inclusion and diversity in the tech industry despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.
Hipolito opened the session by presenting the current reality of diversity in the cybersecurity workforce, where only 24% of the field are women. Key insights from the talk highlighted the current cybersecurity workforce gap and emphasized why this gap need not only be filled, but filled with a diverse workforce. Beyond gender, diversifying the workforce means the inclusion of people from different races and ages in order to gain a repertoire of skills and perspectives from different backgrounds.
Hipolito’s invitation to the attendees to “realize your potential, reach out, and reclaim your space” then segued perfectly into a brief Q & A session with special guest and Olympic silver-medalist Nesthy Petecio. Petecio shared with the attendees how she found herself getting into boxing and how she chose to remain firm in her intent to pursue the sport despite being repeatedly told that it was “for men”.
Petecio shared an abundance of inspirational anecdotes and her personal philosophy that helped her surpass all the challenges that being a female boxer threw at her. Despite what people around her would say and the doubt she was faced with, she persevered one step at a time and focused on her goals and the people she fought for.
In persevering and boxing her way to the Olympics, Petecio also fought for recognition. She shared how she was not working to prove that women are better than men, but to show the world that women and men are equally capable of great things.
Women have played a great role in the history of technology and cybersecurity but many of their stories have been lost or overshadowed by male-dominated narratives. Petecio’s reminder to stay true and believe in oneself despite what others may say and to persevere through challenges knowing your capabilities and potential serves as a great reminder for how women can still reclaim their space and forge a more inclusive future.
With recent developments and improvements in the cybersecurity workforce gap since 2017, the future of a more inclusive and diverse cybersecurity industry is not too far off. As we enter 2022, Trend Micro is gearing up for more initiatives and events like Get IT Girl! that hope to inspire the next generation of the IT and cybersecurity field.
Get IT Girl! is Trend Micro PH’s local initiative under the global “Close the Gap” initiative of Trend Micro. Apart from Get IT Girl!, features on female employees, inspiring stories from women in the tech industry, and other initiatives are spotlighted on the Trend Micro Careers Philippines Facebook page. Participants who registered for the conference may access recordings of the different sessions including Get IT Girl! on-demand until July 22, 2022.