Elena Contreras Saura
On our way to bridge women's gap in cybersecurity workforce
The other day during class, where most of the participants were IT workers, women's representation in IT came up.
Most argued that there was a complete representation of women in this sector according to their work experiences. They claimed there was the same number of women and men. And it was also exposed how women occupied the managers and highest-paid positions in their companies.
Only a few of them identified problems women face within their companies regarding promotion or access to senior and C-level positions.
From my own experience: in the cybersecurity events, training, and courses I have attended, the vast majority of participants were men, and compared to that, the number of women was significantly small.
But let’s look at the statistics to better picture reality:
According to the UNESCO report, a clear gender pattern emerges already in secondary education: boys study careers related to engineering, construction, technology, and communication sciences, while girls opt for careers such as education, arts, health, welfare, social sciences, journalism, business, and law. Globally, in STEM, girls account for only 3% of enrolments in technology, information, and communications; 5% in natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics; and 8% in engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
But it's not all bad news - this trend is changing. According to the ISC2 survey, while three times as many men are enrolled, more and more women join cybersecurity. They now account for 24% of the workforce in this sector. That's a figure that gives cause for hope compared to 11% in 2017, but there is still a long way to go.
From the ISC Cybersecurity Workforce Report - Women in cybersecurity: YOUNG, EDUCATED AND READY TO TAKE CHARGE.
And that road lies in fostering interest in STEM from the earliest years of girls' education. It means giving a voice to women in the technology industry so that young girls have someone to look up to, so they have women who inspire them as role models. It also means offering training possibilities and attractive opportunities that encourage greater inclusion.
Here are some of my favorite initiatives and organizations working to push to the front women's role in cybersecurity:
Women4Cyber - Spain Chapter (W4C Spain)
I Foro Intenacional de Igualdad de Género de Proyecto Aurora ONG
Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS)