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Corporate Responsibility in Action

Grace Hopper Celebration - Connecting Women and Technology

Created: 11 Dec 2012 • 1 comment
ellen_mclatchey's picture
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In addition to the holidays, the coming weeks are very exciting for Symantec on the diversity front. One of our non-profit partners, The Anita Borg Institute, holds its annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the US and India. We are thrilled to have 25 of our female technical leads attending the third-annual Grace Hopper celebration in India, and look forward to bringing you this three-part series highlighting the event, what it means to our employees, and coverage of this year's compelling panels. Stay tuned!


"Around the world, women are not full partners in driving the creation of new technology that will define their lives. This is not good for women and not good for the world….women need to assume their rightful place at the table creating the technology of the future."
Anita Borg
Founder, Institute for Women and Technology

At Symantec, we believe a commitment to diversity and creating an inclusive work environment are the keys to unlocking every person's optimum potential. We devote particular attention to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women in technology. With the widespread underrepresentation of young, female students in math, science, and other technical disciplines, the IT industry is largely male-dominated—a limiting trend that Symantec is working to address.

We are grateful for our non-profit partners such as the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) that help us drive forward this mission. ABI seeks to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology, and increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women. This is done through conferences, workshops and programs that connect women in technology, provide mentoring and leadership training, and inspire future female talent to join the field.

Since 1997, the ABI has hosted the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a series of conferences designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industrial, academic and government communities. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering. Grace Hopper Celebrations have resulted in collaborative proposals, networking, mentoring, and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing.

According to Ujwala Kawalay, Symantec Senior Principal Software Engineer, "The Grace Hopper conference provides a unique opportunity for women in the computing field to network and collaborate with each other ... I believe every women in the IT industry must attend this conference at least once in their career lifetime. This is not only a great opportunity to network , but it is also a forum which discusses topics close to our heart and instills a sense of women empowerment that would change the way you think about yourself and the world around you!"

For the past six years, Symantec has sponsored the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the United States, and began sponsoring the conference in India in 2010. We send our technical women to the conference, fund scholarships to the events, and participate in panel discussions. Twenty-five of our female technical leads will be attending this year. For many this is not the first year they've attended, and they look forward to the conference with great excitement.

This year's theme  of "beyond boundaries" will represent all skills, not just technical, that are crucial to success in the field. Sushma Joshi, Internal Communications Manager at Symantec, was extremely happy about this:

'While [in the past] I experienced the pre-event excitement, I never got to attend the event as it was a ‘technical conference’ meant for technical women, and I happen to be a communication person…..[This year] they have ensured that while being predominantly technical, the conference views the requirements of ‘women in the technical profession’ holistically by including a track dedicated to management, behavioral, communication and leadership skills. That came as an ‘aha’ moment for folks like me who are an integral part of the technology industry and yet not ‘technical’ in the literal sense!'

Preeti Agarwal, Technical Architect at Symantec, "found GHC to be a unique event which offers value for all stages of career, starting from early careers leading into aspiring and successful entrepreneurs ... It provides a perfect blend with flavors of the latest and the coolest technologies, touching upon the importance of soft-skills and the most critical leadership aspects. I am sure each one of us would have a memorable experience with ample takeaways from this conference that we can apply into our careers for further success. I am all set and excited to attend. I look forward to finding some magical keys to unleash the power within, make a difference in the world of technology and emerge as a better person."

Stay tuned after the holidays as we continue this series focusing on three exciting panels that Ujwala, Sushma and Preeti have helped organize: Security in the Cloud, Unleashing the Power Within, and Big Data.The full blog entries from Ujwala, Sushma, and Preeti can be found on the Grace Hopper India blog site.


Ellen McLatchey is Symantec's Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion.

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mt5937's picture

There's a good article about her in the WIKI:

She's the woman who fixed "a big ol' computer" by pulling a moth out of a computer relay. The moth is taped in her diary at the Smithsonian. That story has always tickled me  :)


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