Where are all the women in cybersecurity?

IT Security Thing has been asking women in the cybersec industry how the shocking gender gap can be successfully tackled…

The news that BT has announced it is going to recruit 900 additional people into its security business during the course of this year is welcome indeed. Some 170 of these will be heading to graduates that have trained at the BT Security Academy, which is equally good news. Less so is that, statistically speaking, it’s likely that less than 100 of the total will be women. According to the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu only 11 per cent of those working in the cybersecurity industry worldwide are women. That is, frankly, a shocking statistic and one that shames us all as an industry.

The Symantec CEO, Michael Brown, recently told Forbes that global demand for cybersecurity skills will outstrip supply by a million and a half people in the next three years. Which maybe suggests that the gender gap could be playing a part in the shortfall, and drives us here at IT Security Thing to ponder why there’s such a gender gap in the IT security business at all? A hint can possibly be found in an interesting article called ‘How myth of meritocracy stymies women in infosec’ in which Carole Fennelly, a security veteran of more than 30 years standing, says she has been reluctantly complaining about gender discrimination for years despite just wanting to be considered for her work record. A total of 11 female infosec professionals were interviewed for that end of 2015 piece, and they all shared a similar belief that the infosec industry simply isn’t a meritocracy.

So ITST decided we’d ask the great and the good of the industry whether they felt the gender gap was acceptable and what can be done to shrink it? We also asked our women contributors if they had encountered any gender-specific problems in their cybersecurity career.

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