With the rapid cybersecurity content published daily, it can be difficult to truly keep up. As I read posts after posts celebrating men top experts, then I started to list them...but wait, where are the women, I asked myself? So, I decided to dig out some other facts and more importantly women – in no particular order – who are identified as top cybersecurity experts.
In Spring 2017 a report by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy (EWF) on Women in Cybersecurity confirmed that cybersecurity was still a predominantly male, middle-aged profession that is failing to attract female recruits. The report focused on the unique attributes, as well as the barriers and challenges facing women in the industry, including:
- – women comprise only 11 percent of the information security workforce, although women represent half of the population
- – women reported higher levels of education than men: 51% of women versus 45% of men hold graduate degrees, yet hold significantly fewer positions in executive management.
- – globally men are four times more likely to hold executive-level positions and nine times more likely to hold managerial positions than women
- – wage gap: women in cybersecurity earned less than men at every level
- – fifty-one percent of women surveyed indicated they have experienced various forms of discrimination.
Challenges and barriers in the workplace
There is a widespread cybersecurity gender pay gap as in other sectors of the internet industry. There is widespread of discrimination in the tech industry and under the blanket a machismo culture well alive. Yet, it is estimated that cybersecurity workforce shortage will continue to grow worldwide, to 1.8 Million in five years. Corporations and cybersecurity departments need to create inclusive work places to support the advancement of women and enable to fill the shortage, from millennial to senior. Millennials want career development, so do seniors who also need income to compensate for shrinking retirement. Seniors can be as critical players as millennials. As such, corporations and governments should take intentional actions to close the workforce gap with a multi-layer initiative to attract, advance, and retain top female talent:
- - Sponsoring mentorship and leadership programs
- - Paying for attendance at industry events
- - Offering training programs
- - Employer-paid professional certifications and association memberships
- - Increase satisfactions and success: identify high potential and high performing women, and engage them in professional development, programs and events
- - Value all educational backgrounds and change hiring behavior
- - End pay inequality and employment terms inequality: full employment vs concentrated in part-time or lower-paid roles, and/or workforce solutions companies' employment terms, who, supposedly create and deliver services that enable their clients to win in the changing world of work, but enslave the workforce.
This is no longer just an issue of increasing workforce diversity, but an issue of economic and global security. This also means there is a huge opportunity for women, seniors, and millenialls in this field.