Bridging the gender gap in cybersecurity : Averting cyber apocalypse!

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Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing careers, but there is wide talent gap. (ISC)2 suggests there will be 1.8 million job openings by 2018, an increase of 20% from 2015, while Cybersecurity Ventures predicts a shortfall that will reach 3.5 million by 2021. US News & World ranks careers in Information security as the 5th best technology jobs, with salaries (in the US) averaging $88,890. However, women make up just 11% of the world’s cybersecurity workforce and just 1% in leadership roles. What is fueling this gender gap? What actions are being taken to address this?

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts a doubling of costs and losses due to cybercrime, rising to $6 trillion by 2021. To fight against cyber attacks, organisations need a diverse talent pool. In this article, I will draw out some of the underlying issues, challenges and myths that have impacted gender diversity in cybersecurity and highlight some in-progress efforts to raise awareness, bridge the gender gap and build a thriving talent pool.

Factors Leading to Gender Gap

  1. Under representation of women in STEM:

There is a lack of women in cybersecurity that can be traced back to under representation of women in technology and STEM in general. The National Centre for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) says women comprised just 26% of the computing workforce in 2016. The decline in STEM participation starts as early as middle school, where many girls decide STEM courses are not for them. Initially in 1930s to 1960s, computer programming was considered a job best suited to women since they made good mathematicians. Coding was thought of as theoretical, or akin to secretarial. However, as personal computing emerged, computer science degrees became popular. As salaries rose, more men started looking to IT as a viable career. NCWIT reports that female computer science graduates fell from 37% in 1985 to 18% in 2016…Click HERE to read full article.

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