Women in Cyber security Leadership: Dumping the Boys’ Club Rule Book

Women in Cyber security Leadership Dumping the Boys’ Club Rule-01

Although the number of women in cybersecurity has increased over the years, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in the sector. As the ISC report suggests, women account for only 25% of global cybersecurity staff, and though this is an increase over the years, online security experts believe it is not enough. They want to encourage women to pursue cyber security as a profession.

Despite the shortage of cyber security talent in the industry, there is an urgent need to reduce the gender gap between professionals.

Although men are highly represented in the online security industry, organizations must hire people who are qualified for the position, irrespective of their gender.

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Opportunities for women leaders in cyber security today

There are many women leaders of cyber security in US-based organizations yet the numbers are still severely deficient, and not representative. According to Catalyst.org, by 2020, only 23% of senior positions were filled by women.

Remote work has provided women with flexibility in the workplace and created an opportunity for a genuine work-life balance. With the pandemic, there has been this quiet but powerful shift in opportunities for women in the workforce. Their leadership skills have been showcased on many occasions. Now, it is encouraging that women with families and single mothers have an equal position in the industry due to their ability to work remotely. This flexibility balances the playing field and helps reduce the gender pay gap, especially in areas of the country where wages are low.

What it takes to have more women in cyber security leadership roles:

  • Throwing out the boys’ club rule book and making new rules
  • Deepen hiring efforts to identify potential candidates apart from the usual qualification path.
  • Providing mentorship support at all levels of a woman’s career.
  • Providing flexibility for a woman to work remotely and maintain the family life they desire.

Also Read: The Human Factor: How can Enterprises Prevent Insider IP Theft

Representation of women in the cyber security profession at all!

Women face a higher barrier to entry when trying to enter the cyber security profession, especially when they do not have mentors to guide them and provide them with support.

In order to encourage more women in this field, leadership groups need to demonstrate diversity and academic institutions should have a focus on increasing their numbers for the skill courses.  Overall, cyber security has a lack of diversity of representations. There are also some unrealistic hiring expectations which become barriers to many women from taking up the profession. Setting realistic expectations will certainly provide them opportunity to enter the profession and even grow in it.

While lack of inclusivity is certainly an obstacle to any woman’s professional career, these experiences also train them to be better managers. Most women CIOs try to take an active role in mentoring other women and helping them navigate and rise above these obstacles. It is beneficial for the company to help women focus on being valued for their contribution versus merely filling some company’s diversity quota. This conscious effort at mentorship and support could be all women security experts need, to throw out the Boys Rule Book once and for all.

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