Cybersecurity reseller Foursys has pledged to redouble its commitment to women in IT after a LinkedIn competition created by a female employee resulted in her being trolled by online commenters about how she looks.
Last Thursday, Foursys employee Jayde Phoenix came up with the idea of sponsoring a competition post on LinkedIn. The competition asked people to guess how many USB sticks were in a jar and offered champagne and goody bags as prizes. The post (pictured below) featured Jayde holding the jar of USBs.
Soon after the post went live, it attracted hundreds of comments from LinkedIn users commenting on the way she looks and how she was dressed in the photo. Some comments were extremely graphic and of a sexual nature.
Following the online abuse, Foursys has publicly committed to offering further support to the women-in-technology cause. As part of this, Jayde created an online video (below) speaking out about what happened and campaigning for the industry to be more accepting of women.
"We all sit around and say we want more women in the IT industry, but are we saying we only want ones who fit into a stereotype?" she said on her video. "For the record: I am not dumb. I am good at my job. And I am not going to sit here and allow anyone to cyberbully me. For those who say I know nothing about IT security, shame on you. I know more than 99 per cent of people you would meet on the street.
"Bullying or shaming people because of how they look or how they choose to dress is nasty and I am not going take it. And neither should you. If you're fed up of online abuse, trolls and intimidation, stand up to the bullies and call them out. Together we can shame them into behaving like human beings."
Since last week's online storm, Foursys has said it will place more emphasis on promoting women in technology. As part of this, the firm has vowed to create training courses on avoiding and dealing with online abuse; create local meet-up groups to share experiences; and work more closely with schools to make young people aware of online dangers.
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