Attracting Women Talent In Cybersecurity

The demand for security experts is growing, but the number of vacancies cannot be filled due to a lack of IT security experts. Women could play a greater role here if more and more women opt for a career in cybersecurity.

International Women’s Day is a day of celebration, awareness, and empowerment. It is a day to recognize the progress that has been made in women’s rights, celebrate women’s achievements, and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.

As cybersecurity has become very strategic for all organizations, it is an opportunity to reflect on women’s role in the cybersecurity industry and how we can encourage more women to pursue careers in cybersecurity.

The celebration of women in the cybersecurity industry has come a long way. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure equal opportunities and are represented at all levels.

We need to continue working to break down the existing barriers and encourage more women to join and thrive in the cybersecurity industry. Women remain underrepresented in technical and leadership roles.

There has been improvement in women’s status in tech, but there is still a long way to go. More and more women are employed in cybersecurity roles such as CISOs, Head of Information Security, and so on.

Companies must prioritize building an inclusive work environment, providing equal pay, and offering opportunities for promotion. Emphasis needs to be placed on educating and training women in technology, providing mentorship programs, and developing a supportive community of female tech professionals. Policies should be implemented to reduce gender biases and encourage diversity in the hiring process.

Morgan Demboski, Threat intelligence analyst at Sophos

Steps the industry needs to take to promote Women in Tech
The industry should encourage women by investing in training programs and leading by example of execution and responsibility, which means positioning talented women in significant key positions.

Beyond occupational diversity, organizations will benefit much more from incorporating women in their organizations.

Some steps that the industry can embrace to promote Women in Tech would be a gender-neutral recruitment process, fair and competitive salary, female-focused workplace benefits, inclusive work culture, equal promotion opportunities, empowerment of women in the workplace, and developing a diverse pipeline towards women in technology.

“There have been a lot of great strides in making the industry more inclusive for women, like Women in Cybersecurity and workshops tailored to teach women more technical skills. I think continuing to expand those efforts definitely plays an important role in making the industry more accessible to women,” says Morgan Demboski, Threat intelligence analyst at Sophos.

“I am part of Women in Cybersecurity Middle East, and that is a great forum for community building and motivating women to join CS,” says Subela Bhatia, founder and managing director of Imperium Middle East.

Sonali Basu Roy, Marketing Manager, Bulwark Technologies

Everyone must work hard to advance their career, regardless of gender. However, women might have faced significant challenges in the workplace, including bias, stereotypes, and limited opportunities. Women have had to work hard to overcome these obstacles and break the glass ceiling. “Women should believe in their capabilities and should be quick learners and acquire different skills,” says Sonali Basu Roy, Marketing Manager, Bulwark Technologies.

For women looking to break into the field of cybersecurity, the cybersecurity industry offers incredible opportunities for growth, innovation, and impact.

Cybersecurity is also an industry that is constantly evolving, which means there is always something new to learn and explore. “The cyber threat landscape is constantly changing, and every day, new challenges and threats need to be addressed. With the landscape evolving so fast, no day is the same, and you never know what the next day holds,” says Sophos’ Morgan Demboski.

“What inspires me the most is the ever-changing threat landscape in cybersecurity and the evolving technologies,” says Imperium’s Subela Bhatia.

“Captivated by the dynamic challenges and constant innovation in cybersecurity marketing, I’ve spent the past decade learning, experimenting, and creating solutions. Even now, the ever-changing tech landscape keeps me energized and eager to continue learning and making a difference,” says Subhalakshmi Ganapathy, Chief IT Security Evangelist at ManageEngine.

However, it is important to be persistent, determined, and resilient. Seek out mentors and sponsors who can help guide you and create opportunities for yourself. Remember that success is not always linear and that failure is a natural part of the learning process.

Subhalakshmi Ganapathy, Chief IT Security Evangelist, ManageEngine

The cybersecurity industry should take more initiatives to address the issue of unconscious bias. The industry can proactively address unconscious bias by implementing measures such as diverse hiring practices and sensitivity training for managers and employees. “We acknowledge and address unconscious bias through training and open discussions while celebrating our individual and collective diversity,” says Subhalakshmi Ganapathy of ManageEngine.

Additionally, fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity where all individuals feel valued and respected will make the tech industry more welcoming to women and more successful overall.

“While the landscape is gradually shifting, I believe fostering a culture of inclusivity and providing more visible female role models are crucial to empower the next generation of women in tech,” says Subhalakshmi Ganapathy. She adds, “My own journey has instilled in me a strong commitment to advocating for diversity and creating supportive networks for future generations.”

Subela Bhatia, Founder and Managing Director of Imperium Middle East

“The tech industry must foster and nurture this movement of diversity and gender equality by having a greater number of girls join STEM at the grassroots level. For this, opportunities have to be created equally for girls, and the bias is gradually changing. However, even now, the CIO’s boardroom has more men than women,” says Imperium’s Subela Bhatia.

From pioneering advancements in artificial intelligence and generative AI to revolutionizing robotics, women are leaving an indelible mark on the tech landscape.

“The explosion of a wide array of cyber security solutions to combat the recent cyber threats in the region, along with the advent of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), ChatGPT, Blockchain Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Social media, have been some major transformations in technology I have witnessed to date,” says Sonali.

The percentage of women in cybersecurity careers has significantly risen in the last few years. They can bring a fresh approach and offer unique perspectives to meet challenges, solve problems, and undertake new approaches to products and services. In addition, they can also bring more women into the cybersecurity fold. Their presence in the cybersecurity industry can help reduce the overall gender pay gap and gender bias approach.