With International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2023. The International Women’s Day website states that this year’s theme is: #EmbraceEquity – “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.”
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.
Today, social inclusion and equality are two major issues. For example, many business sectors are still predominantly male, and the cyber security sector is no different. Beside a real interest from women to join the industry, according to Euronews Next, the sector appears to be falling behind when it comes to recruit women and retain them. Because of this, for International Women’s Day, here at Via Resource we wanted to draw a portrait of the women in the cyber security sector and shed light on several projects that honour women representation in the industry and encourage them to join the sector.
Did you know that the first modern computer invented in 1940 by Alan Turing was based on the work of Ada Lovelace, considered the world’s first computer programmer? What if we told you that 1940s and 1950s movie star Hedy Lamarr also was a brilliant scientist? Her work, considered a “secret communication system” received a patent in 1942, inspiring the invention of WIFI, GPS and Bluetooth. Since then, many women have conquered the tech industry and changed the face of our modern world.
The gender digital divide is present, with only 3% of females viewing a career in technology as their first-choice profession, according to PwC’s “Women in Tech: Time to close the gender gap” report. Only 27% of female students surveyed say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males. In addition to this, no more than 16% of females nationally are being recommended to consider a career in technology as opposed to 33% of males. Women aren’t considering technology careers as they aren’t given enough information on what working in the sector involves and because no one is putting it forward as an option to them.
Women have always been a part of the work force, but the reality is the proportion of women to men has fallen significantly. The 1990s were a key point in explaining this decline, and according to Isabelle Collet, the craze for IT and its rise made it a major stake for companies and they started to recruit men freshly graduated from universities. In the meantime the advent of personal computers, often exclusively marketed toward fathers and sons (like this ad for the computer Apple II in 1985) or the 80’s-90’s pop with movies like Weird Science, or War Games, idolising the image of the awkward geek boy genius using tech to save the world and win the girl, did probably not help attracting women toward the Tech industry.
However, the technology industry, now, seems to be closing the gender gap. The Deloitte Global study shows that the gender gap is reducing slowly, predicting that 25% of the sector will be female by the end of 2022. In addition, the report forecasts that leading technology companies will reach an average of almost 33% women in their total workforce by year’s end, an increase of two percent from 2019.
In the Forbes, The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech, three women stand out in Cyber Security including Katie Moussouris, Founder and CEO – Luta Security, Tal Rabin, Head of Research – Algorand Foundation and Limor Shmerling Magazanik, Managing Director – Tech Policy Institute. But what is rather satisfying is that the ranking highlights companies such as Girls Who Code, founded by Reshma Saujani, which aims to empower women through technology, and GoldieBox, founded by Debbie Sterling, which promotes engineering and construction toys for girls. Innovations like these are more than welcome at a time when the fight against the gender gap is even more prevalent.
Closing the gender gap is important in the cyber security world. But there are still many obstacles. The best way to encourage women to join the tech sector will undoubtedly be through information, career guidance and plenty of representation.
To support women looking at careers in the cyber security industry, the association “WiCys – Women in cybersecurity” is considered an excellent source for guidance. The programme provides several initiatives for women to receive career training, connect with other women around the world, as well as meet and learn from mentors. The European Union has also launched its own recruitment programme “Women TechEU“ described as “a new EU programme to support female-led high-tech start-ups and help them become the high-tech champions of tomorrow.”
The technology sector is booming, and women are making progress. They are leaders, mentors and supporters, breaking stereotypes along the way. Any initiative is crucial today to raise awareness on the fact that women are still discriminated against today, both in terms of salaries and in terms of promotions and even if it’s encouraging to see all the progress they have made, we are still a long way from the world imagined by IWD. But every initiative or project makes thing goes forward and all together we can still #EmbraceEquity.
Via Resource is very encouraged by this progress, and we embrace all the women who contributed to our company’s success!