Udemy Dublin Celebrates International Women’s Day 2024

Udemy Dublin Celebrates International Women's Day 2024

Celebrating #InspireInclusion

By Ciara Courtney

On March 6th, Udemy Dublin had the pleasure of hosting a remarkable event to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD). Under the banner of #InspireInclusion, we gathered employees, guests, and speakers to celebrate diversity, innovation, and empowerment at our event, “Inspire Inclusion: Stories from the Trailblazers.”

Partnering with the Irish Youth Foundation (IYF), we directed the event’s proceeds towards leveling the playing field for young individuals, a cause close to our hearts.

Our Global VP of Customer Success, Caoimhe Carlos, hosted the gathering, joined by three incredible speakers:

  1. Madhavi Bhasin – VP, Global People Partners and BEDI at Udemy
  2. Laura Nolan – Principal Software Engineer at Stanza and Ethical AI Activist
  3. Declan (Deco) Keenan – Community Worker & Leader of the Just Ask project, IYF

With a focus on the #InspireInclusion theme, our speakers shared captivating stories of compassion, justice, and hope, urging us to question what true inclusivity entails and how we can champion it.

Here are some key insights from our esteemed speakers:

Udemy Dublin Celebrates International Women's Day 2024

  1. Inspiring Inclusion: Caoimhe Carlos kicked off the event, urging us to ponder the essence of inspiring inclusion. She emphasized that as women, we’re not just breaking barriers; we’re paving the way for others. When women feel included, they find belonging, relevance, and empowerment, fostering a cycle of inspiration and inclusivity for all.
  2. Crowdsourcing Your Sense of Self: Madhavi Bhasin captivated us with her journey from a young girl challenging norms in India to a trailblazer in DEI. She highlighted the importance of staying true to oneself amidst societal pressures, quoting Dr. Michael Gervais: “When you can drown out the noise and get to the signal – what really matters – you stop worrying what others might be thinking of you.” Madhavi’s advice on crowdsourcing your sense of self and avoiding FOPO (fear of other people’s opinions) resonated deeply, emphasizing the power of inclusivity in breaking societal molds.
  3. Acknowledging and Embracing Setbacks: Laura Nolan’s story is one of resilience and courage in the face of adversity. As one of the few female Computer Science majors and site reliability engineers in a male-dominated field, she embodies the spirit of a trailblazer. Despite facing numerous challenges and being confronted with ethical dilemmas, Laura remained steadfast in her principles. In 2018, she made the difficult decision to leave her job at Google due to their involvement in Project Maven, a controversial military project. According to her research, drone attacks frequently targeted villages primarily inhabited by women and children. Laura’s bravery in standing up against unethical practices served as a powerful example of integrity and moral courage. Although this setback had the potential to derail her career, Laura remained true to herself and her values. Instead of allowing it to define her, she channeled her energy into advocacy work, joining the campaign called Stop Killer Robots. Through her actions, she demonstrated that setbacks can be turned into opportunities for positive change. Laura’s story serves as a reminder that staying true to one’s beliefs and convictions can ultimately lead to success, regardless of the obstacles encountered along the way.
  4. Pioneers & Settlers: Declan (Deco) Keenan shared a thought-provoking analogy of “Pioneers Vs Settlers” during the event. He emphasized the importance of both pioneers and settlersUdemy Dublin Celebrates International Women's Day 2024 in creating an inclusive environment. While pioneers take the initial steps to break barriers and pave the way for inclusion, settlers build upon these foundations, bringing their unique experiences to the table. Deco’s story is a powerful reminder that barriers to inclusion are often perceived rather than real. From his beginnings in a Mother and Baby home for unwed pregnant women and their children to losing his mother at a young age, and leaving school shortly after, numerous opportunities slipped away. His journey highlights the damaging effects of exclusivity and the transformative power of inclusivity. Hisparting message emphasizes the importance of recognizing one’s sphere of influence—no matter how small—and actively fostering an inclusive environment, whether in your community or workplace.
  5. Inclusion Starts with Everyone: During our panel discussion, the recurring theme was clear: inclusion begins with everyone. Our speakers emphasized that fostering inclusivity doesn’t require being at the top of your field; it can start in everyday interactions—at home, in communities, or even in team meetings. Throughout the discussion, the importance of awareness and bravery echoed loudly. While it may take one person to initiate change, true progress requires collective effort. Together, as a group, we have the power to shatter barriers and create a more inclusive world.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, it’s a reminder to us all that true progress is achieved when we embrace diversity and foster an inclusive world. The journey towards gender equality is not just a women’s issue; it is a human rights issue that requires collective effort. 

As the event drew to a close, Caoimhe gave us parting words of wisdom from George Bernard Shaw that encapsulated the gathering perfectly “Inclusion starts with everyone in the room. Everyone has the power to do this.”

Udemy Dublin Celebrates International Women's Day 2024