We’re not there yet – Women in Cybersecurity


By Zinet Kemal, Best buy

The cybersecurity space, as dynamic and demanding as it is, has witnessed a gradual but significant change: the growing influence of women in its ranks. When I took the plunge into this field in late 2017, it was like entering a world where women were just a ripple in a vast ocean, making up 14% of the industry’s workforce, compared to 11%.

Fast forward to today, and this ripple has become more noticeable, with women making up approximately 25% of the workforce. cyber security Workforce. It’s a change, certainly, but let’s be clear: we’re not there yet.

The recent increase of almost a quarter in representation is encouraging, but it does not tell the full picture. The industry has been hit by a labor shortage that stands at not just 3.4 million as we know it, but 4 million, exacerbated by recent cuts and layoffs according to a recent report. ISC2 report.

This begs the question: what impact has this had on women in cybersecurity? What about women from underrepresented groups? The truth is it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, there is the optimism that the number of women in cybersecurity is expected to reach 30% by 2025. On the other, there is the harsh reality: we are still far from the desired result.

Cyber ​​security, at its core, thrives on diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to problem solving. The need for women in this field is not just about meeting a quota or balancing ratios; it’s about enriching the industry with diverse ideas and experiences. Women, with their unique perspectives, are instrumental in driving innovation and contributing to problem solving in ways that homogeneity simply cannot.

The participation of women brings different life experiences, perspectives and creativity – essential aspects to address the complex and ever-changing challenges of cybersecurity. The inclusion of women, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds such as Black communities, is not a simple act of fairness but a strategic imperative for the industry.

What can we do to ensure cybersecurity isn’t missing something?

Targeted initiatives can spark the interest of girls from an early age. These efforts and programs aim to not only open doors, but also create new avenues for young people who may not have considered cybersecurity as a viable career option. This is also why I published “Oh, no… Hacked again!” And “See yourself in cybersecurity” to educate children not only about the importance of online safety, but also by exposing and introducing them to careers in cybersecurity.

The power of mentoring cannot be overstated, pairing emerging talent with seasoned professionals. We don’t just transfer knowledge; we also build confidence and remove the invisible barriers that often deter women from progressing in this field.

I also focus on creating a personal brand and networking opportunities tailored to women and underrepresented groups to serve as both a support system and professional springboard. This is also why I created a LinkedIn Learning course on Build your cybersecurity brand for aspiring and seasoned cybersecurity professionals.

Additionally, it is about fostering an environment that promotes professional development and ensures that once talent arrives, they have every opportunity to grow, lead and innovate.

Women’s voices in cybersecurity need to be amplified, not only within their organizations but across the industry as a whole. Advocating and highlighting successes, and ensuring that women are visible in leadership positions, paying them commensurate with their skills, in speaking engagements and in the media, sends a powerful message about the value of diversity in cybersecurity.

We must continue to push boundaries, break stereotypes, and pave the way for more women to enter and thrive in this field. The industry desperately needs more women and diversity of thought to continue to grow, innovate and effectively secure our world.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Cyber ​​Express. Any content provided by the author reflects his or her opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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