Women in Cybersecurity
What is the importance of diversity?
The world we live in today is rapidly growing and expanding everyday with no signs of slowing down. As society expands, projects do too, and it has become increasingly more common to see tasks that require a large team of people to be completed. The skillset to be able to work on a team becomes increasingly important as well. With that in mind, many employers might ask themselves today – “What is important to making a good team?” One important factor to building a good team is work-place diversity. “Diversity gives you access to a greater range of talent, not just the talent that belongs to a particular world-view or ethnicity or some other restricting definition. It helps provide insight into the needs and motivations of all of your client or customer base, rather than just a small part of it.” (Shemla, pg.1, 2018). In today’s global Cybersecurity Workforce, Women represent only 20 percent of it!
Why should women & others be interested?
According to a Women in Cybersecurity Report, “While 44% of men in cybersecurity hold a post-graduate degree, the number of women is 52%. Nearly half of women cybersecurity professionals surveyed are millennials – 45% compared to 33% of men. By contrast, Generation X men make up a bigger percentage of the workforce (44%) than women (25%)”. The field of Cybersecurity today still has a real shortage on workers when you compare it to the number of demands for workers for the job. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be up to 3.5 million job opening by 2021. Making this appealing for not only women to take note of but employers as well. With the current supply to demand being so low, it would be “detrimental for a factor like gender to narrow the pool of people pursuing the field “(Bradford, pg.1, 2018).
What is being done today?
A study in 2018 (ISC) found that 51% of Women in Cybersecurity faced some form of discrimination at some point in their college or work career. While this can create a negative perception for women considering the field, it's important to remember that there are also a lot of great incentives to help overcome the negatives. There are a number of great incentives created to help women succeed including program advancements, community groups, and scholarships that will help not only women in cyber but also in the STEM field in general. Programs such as Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS)(Global) and Women’s Society for CyberJutsu (WSC)(USA) set world-wide standards for welcoming women into the field and giving them a safe-place to develop their skills and network with business partners world-wide. The importance of having diverse voices in the room is becoming more and more important - especially in male dominated fields. For women, cyber is another growing frontier to explore!