According to LinkedIn Insights (March 2023), women in the cyber security field for UK and US is reported to make up 17% of cyber security professionals. Historical obstacles remain for women looking to join or move up in the massive global industry of security. In addition to the large gender disparity in cyber security, women in the field are compensated less on average than men. In 2021, the report also showed 29% of men said they earned between $50,000 and $99,999, while only 17% of women reported the same.
Cyber security needs more women, to build strong cultures of cyber resilience across the globe, employers should prioritise attracting, empowering, and retaining talented female cyber security professionals. Women in or aspiring towards cyber security roles represent an untapped reservoir of potential when it comes to the widening cyber security workforce gap.
Luckily, there are plenty of incredible women creating a path for a more diverse and inclusive industry in the world of security. Below we look at some of today’s most notable women in cyber security to learn how they’re reshaping the industry as we know it.
Chani Simms is an award-winning cyber security leader, director of Meta Defence Labs and founder of SHe CISO Exec. platform. Chani is a passionate entrepreneur, C-level advisor, vCISO, auditor, Cyber Essentials assessor and specialist in helping organisations implement and manage information security and data protection programs. She has been an information technology enthusiast since the age of 19 and her various experiences and passion for the industry have led her to founding/co-founding new companies and initiatives, becoming a regular public speaker and being listed as one of the 50 most influential women in cyber security.
Impact on the cyber security industry: Founded SHe CISO Exec. to train information security professionals and create emotionally intelligent cyber security leaders.
Nicole Eagan is Chief Strategy Officer and AI Officer of Darktrace. Her extensive career in technology spans 30 years working for Oracle and early to late-stage growth companies. Nicole identifies and shapes Darktrace’s strategic plan, leads the Company’s AI vision together with our CTO, and provides product strategy and direction.
Impact on the cyber security industry: Established Darktrace as the global leader of AI cyber defense by developing state-of-the-art AI algorithms that detect never-before-seen cyberattacks.
Jane Frankland is an award-winning entrepreneur, international speaker and best-selling author. She focuses on business strategy and high performance in cybersecurity and is a world authority on attracting and retaining women in this field. She has been named as the third most influential person in cybersecurity in the UK and a top twenty global influencer.
Jane has over 21-years of experience in cybersecurity, has built and sold her own global hacking firm and served in executive positions at leading cybersecurity consultancies. In addition to managing her own company and parenting three children, she is an awards judge and board advisor. She authors many articles, is regularly featured in the media, and is sought after as a keynote speaker.
Impact on the cyber security industry: Authored ‘In Security: How a failure to attract and retain more women in cybersecurity is making is all less safe,’ and created the IN Security movement – a global community that stands behind a mission to connect, teach and inspire more people in cyber security.
Lakshmi Hanspal is the Global Chief Information Security Officer of Devices & Services at Amazon. In this role, she leads Trust, Security and Safety for Amazon Devices and Services including consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, satellites, and more.
Prior to joining Amazon, Lakshmi was the Global Chief Security Officer at Box. Before Box, Lakshmi was the Global Chief Security Officer at SAP Ariba. Lakshmi has also held leadership roles at PayPal and Bank of America.
Her career spans 23+ years in Information Security and risk management, with 16+ years in the financial and payment space.
Impact on the cyber security industry: Advocating for greater organisational cyber security buy-in and teaching leaders how to create organisational cultures of security built upon trust.
Erica Geil is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Snyk, which helps businesses use open source code and stay fully secure. As a C-suite leader, Erica drives stellar results while building trust and collaboration across global, cross-functional teams such as Corporate Information Systems and Information Security.
Erica joined Snyk after an impressive decade with Groupon, and as its Vice President of Global Engineering and Operations she established the company as one of the world’s ten largest email senders. She accomplished this by leading marketing platform operations to attain zero downtime in 2018 while also reducing total annual consumer fraud losses by more than 40% for two years.
Impact on the cyber security industry: Erica helped organisations achieve scale by building high-performance teams, delivering innovative technologies, and fostering operational excellence. With guiding teams to find effective solutions through ambiguous challenges in dynamic environments.
While the gender divide in cyber security is clear, these women — and their contributions to the world of cyber security — are paving the way to ensure more gender inclusion in the future.