March 8th is International Women’s Day: a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and marking a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter, aiming for gender balance throughout the workplace, boardroom, government, and more.
We discussed cybersecurity career options and resources during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and recently participated in the 2nd annual Day of Shecurity. In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to share additional information educating and encouraging opportunities for women to pursue cybersecurity as a career option and grow professionally in the field.
Why #BalanceForBetter in Cybersecurity?
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education reports that only 11% of the global cybersecurity workforce is female. What’s more, 51% of women in cybersecurity report experiencing discrimination in the workplace, ranging from unconscious discrimination and unexplained delay in career advancement to overt discrimination.
Despite performing at least as well as boys in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, for a variety of reasons, girls are less likely to pursue the subjects later in life. Gender balance in cybersecurity isn’t simply a women's issue – it’s also a crucial business issue. Considering the booming cybersecurity jobs market, it’s critical to get more women involved in cybersecurity – starting now.
Dr. Carol Leary, President at Bay Path University shares, “It's so timely that 'Balance for Better' is the theme for International Women's Day 2019. At Bay Path University, we are educating women to enter the cybersecurity professions, and, in doing so, we are helping to create a more gender-balanced culture in the cyber workforce. Women bring a diversity of experiences and leadership that not only helps us to defend our networks and data, but it just makes good business sense.”
The good news is that there are resources and tools available to help both women and men advocate for gender equality and representation.
Many organizations do great work in promoting and advocating for women in cybersecurity, a few notable examples include:
- Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) shares knowledge, experience, networking, and mentoring
- Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu provides training, networking, workshops, and more
- Brainbabe empowers women and men to impact diversity & inclusion, attrition, and retention
- AnitaB.org offers solutions, awards, and more to support women in technical fields
A number of events and gatherings for professional women in – or interested in – the field include:
Higher education is often where career paths form and shift, and many schools offer cybersecurity programming focused on women. A couple of leading examples include:
- Bay Path University is a New England based women’s college offering a robust program that trains women to design, develop, implement, operate, and troubleshoot information security systems.
- Mississippi State University has a strong cybersecurity program and focus on encouraging women to pursue the field.
Women’s cybersecurity scholarships include:
- (ISC)2 Women’s Cybersecurity Scholarships
- Raytheon CCDC Women’s Cyber Security Scholarship
- Computing Research Association – Women’s Scholarships
Start ‘em young! Resources and programs aiming to get young girls excited about cybersecurity and STEM include:
- SciGirls children’s television show and research-based approach for engaging girls in STEM
- Microsoft toolbox for closing the STEM gender gap
- Kode with Klossy free-to-attend summer camp
- Girl Scouts Cybersecurity Badges
Whether you’re a professional, student, educator, or parent, we hope you take advantage of these and other resources to champion women in cybersecurity and aim for a #BalanceforBetter.
Your Friends @ Defendify