Speaker: Alicia Abella , Managing Director - Telco, M&E Industry Solutions, Google
Why is Women’s History Month important to you? How are you celebrating?
Alicia Abella : Hello. I'm Alicia Abella and I'm here today to share some thoughts I have around Women's History Month. Women's History Month is important to me because it's important to share with the world, with our communities, with ourselves, the importance of the contributions that women have made throughout history. Whether the women be scientists and engineers, politicians, writers, doctors, nurses, there are so many contributions and impact that women have had throughout history. And it's important to be reminded of those and to remind everyone of those contributions. It's not often obvious when it's not often given enough attention. I'll give you an example. Recently I was in a science museum in the United States and I noticed that there was a wall where there were many photographs of engineers and scientists and a blurb about each. And what struck me was that there wasn't a single female scientist and engineer on the wall. They were all men and surely I know of many examples of women throughout history that have made big contributions to the scientific community. And yet there wasn't a single one on the wall. So it's it's important to have a month like this to showcase those contributions that women have made throughout history. I myself am celebrating women's history month by participating as much as possible in events and activities such as this where I have an opportunity to share my thoughts, my advice to other women and either those just starting out in their careers or maybe even mid career women to help inspire them to be a role model for them. It's important, it's especially important in the field that I'm in, which is the STEM field: science, technology, engineering and math, where we don't see that many women.
2022's International Women's Day theme is #BreakTheBias. Can you speak to biases we can work to break in our communities and/or workplaces?
Alicia Abella : This Year's International Women's Day theme is breaking the bias. I'd like to share a bias that I think we can work to break both in our communities and our workplace, and that is the bias that says that women cannot be technical. And so this is certainly a bias that I think we still need to work on, especially as you look at the numbers of women that enter into technical fields. I myself am a computer scientist. I got my degree at a time when women enrollment in computer science was at its peak. Which was in the late 80s. Women enrollment in computer science and getting degrees in computer science at that time was close to 40%. As of 2021, that number was more like 18% of women were getting degrees in computer science. So rather than increasing the number of women in that field, the number has been decreasing. And um, I'm sure there are many reasons that can be pointed to why that's so. But I think there's a bias about women can't be technical or and so that's one that I think we need to work on because we need women in the technology fields to help with innovation and to bring diversity of thinking there.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they begin their careers?
Alicia Abella : I was asked to share some advice that I would give to the next generation of women as they begin their careers. I have two pieces of advice. The first is to set clear goals for yourself, professionally as well as personally, but definitely professionally, In setting a goal, it makes it easier for you to realize what it is you need to do in order to achieve that goal without a an end goal in mind, it's harder to see what it is you need to do in order to reach that goal. So setting clear goals is important. And they don't have to be big lofty goals. You can set smaller goals, but making sure you set goals so that you can figure out what to do to get there is important. And then secondly, my advice would be as you progress through your career to give back and to share the experiences that you've gained throughout your career with others, especially women, but really um the anyone else that's coming up behind you. It's important to pay it forward.