Gender Equality in Cyber Security in 2022
Did you know, men currently outnumber women by 3 to 1 in the cyber security space (according to research by (ISC)2)?
In the wake of International Women’s Day, the conversation around encouraging the fairer sex into traditionally male occupations has certainly gained more traction.
Cyber security as an industry, has recognised the need for greater diversity in its workforce if it is to keep pace with evolving trends, technologies and of course, threats. Security threats are only gaining in complexity and frequency, and wreaking greater and greater havoc on organisations, whether they originate internally or externally.
So, employing people from a broader range of backgrounds, who bring a different perspective, as well as skillset and expertise is sure to shake things up for the better.
This is especially poignant given how many unfilled cyber security jobs exist currently.
Women can add a great deal to cyber security, not only by diversifying the defender community and closing the massive skills shortage, but also by shifting the conversation around cyber-crime, and how best to tackle it.
With an embarrassingly tiny percentage of women currently residing in its global workforce, the cyber security space must work harder to grow its female population. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that equal salaries and support is made a new standard, to avoid gender bias, which has for so long deterred women from pursuing careers in cyber security.
Cyber security may not be considered a traditional career choice for women, but that antiquated notion must be done away with. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects are open to everyone, regardless of race or gender, and with technology and the innovation it inspires, there is room for every mind to come aboard and make an impact.
So, how can women look to break into cyber security, and erase those misconceptions long-held by mostly male clients and colleagues?
- Know your stuff and feel confident in your understanding of your product
- Be consistent and confident in your delivery
- Be proactive in finding opportunities to extend your knowledge
- Lean in to your cyber security career, don’t be afraid of the impact you could make
- Join Meet-Up groups where you can network with other women who are interested in coding, technical services or similar. Becoming part of a community of like-minded women will reinforce your confidence and open you up to more opportunities
- Look for initiatives and programs that facilitate women in cyber security
ITU offers a Women in Cyber (WiC) Mentorship Programme, and software company Forcepoint has recently partnered with Fairygodboss to create a community space designed to attract female talent into its organisation. Meanwhile, Microsoft has launched a series of programs designed to encourage gender equality in cyber security, most notably its Girl Security program, which offers e-mentorship, professional development, and skill-building to girls in underrepresented communities.
As the cyber security field continues to look for ways to facilitate gender equality and welcome female talent to take up cyber security jobs, more and more opportunities and initiatives will become available.