Europe is one of the worst offending regions in the world when it comes to women working in cybersecurity, with females making up just 7% of the industry workforce and one of the biggest gender pay gaps in the world according to the Global Information Security Workforce Study.
There are many reasons why women don¹t enter into cybersecurity, be it the perception of it being a male-dominated industry, or the difficulties of overcoming stereotypes in the education system and encouraging women to study and excel within tech and security.
Infosecurity Europe 2019 seeks to address these issues and will be hosting the third annual Women in Cybersecurity networking event on Wednesday June 5. The industry will meet to celebrate the achievements of females in cybersecurity, debate the challenges around diversity and discuss career opportunities for women in the industry.
A recent Infosecurity Europe social media poll found that over half (56%) of respondents acknowledged that there is a lack of female role models in the cyber and information security industry. To change this pattern and encourage women into the industry, we need to focus on existing female role models.
While there may be a lack of role models, there are a number that are speaking out and making a case for women in cybersecurity. Infosecurity Europe will host an industry keynote presentation from one of the leading tech personalities in the UK today Dr Sue Black. Recently named in the list of top 50 women in tech in Europe, Sue is an award-winning computer scientist, radical thinker, social entrepreneur and is renowned for being an advocate for women in tech.
Dr Black has spent the last 20 years campaigning for more recognition and support for women in computing and has herself acknowledged that ³there are many awesome women working in these areas, but we haven¹t heard about them enough. Stories about the trailblazing women that have done incredible things in technology like Dame Stephanie Shirley, UK technology pioneer, and the women recently portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, have not been heard until now.²
So with so many female industry voices going unheard, where are we going wrong? The future for women in security depends on the IT industry¹s ability to inspire women and encourage careers in cybersecurity. As many as 63% of those polled by Infosecurity Europe think there¹s not enough guidance and support available for women wanting a career in cyber and information security.
During a period where cybercrime poses one of our biggest threats, the cybersecurity jobs forecasts have been unable to keep pace with the dramatic rise in cybercrime. Women are becoming a critical factor in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, and the industry is beginning to take note, with a number of initiatives encouraging women into careers in information security, including the EMEA Women in Cyber initiative and Girls Who Code, amongst others.
The industry must continue to encourage women to study and consider careers in the cyber sector and, furthermore, it should be focused on retaining the female demographic and inspiring female influencers, motivating women to drive for senior roles in their field. It is critical that women enter the field and pave the way for others who may have been discouraged by the lack of diversity.
Infosecurity Europe, now in its 24th year, takes place at Olympia, Hammersmith, London, June 4-6 2019. It attracts over 19,500 unique information security professionals attending from every segment of the industry, including more than 400 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, industry analysts, worldwide press and policy experts, and over 200 industry speakers are lined up to take part in the free-to-attend conference, seminar and workshop program. Fine out more information and registration at https://www.infosecurityeurope.com.
This blog has been edited from an original piece published as part of Infosecurity Europe 2019 Insights: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/infosec