- Donald E. Hester
Women in Cybersecurity Month
March is International Women's History Month, and it is also Women in Cybersecurity Month. Women have made significant contributions to the field of cybersecurity, from code-breaking during wartime to leading cybersecurity teams at major companies. However, there is still a significant gender gap in the cybersecurity industry. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, women make up only 20% of the global cybersecurity workforce.
One way to address this gender gap is to highlight the contributions of women in cybersecurity throughout history. For example, Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century mathematician, wrote algorithms for early computers and recognized the potential future significance of computers in a way that her contemporary Charles Babbage did not. During World War II, thousands of women were hired by the US Navy and Army to help with code-breaking operations. Female code-breakers at Bletchley Park were also instrumental in cracking German codes during the war. Their contribution helped the allies win the war.
Today, there are several programs aimed at increasing the number of women in cybersecurity.
The Girls Go Cyberstart program, launched in 2017, aims to inspire and uncover future female talent by featuring a girls-only community in the national program CyberStart America.
The Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) program provides mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to training and resources to increase the number of women in cybersecurity roles.
The SANS Women’s Immersion Academy offers an accelerated, intensive training program to help women quickly launch a career in cybersecurity.
Increased access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula for girls in school with the aid of the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) and CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service.
Networking and Mentoring Programs hosted by professional organizations like (ISC)2 and ISACA.
Women have made significant contributions to the field of cybersecurity throughout history, and programs aimed at increasing the number of women in the industry are essential. We are stronger together. However, addressing the gender gap in the cybersecurity workforce requires ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. By highlighting the contributions of women in cybersecurity and providing opportunities for more women to enter the field, we can work towards a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity industry.
We Are CISA: Women in Cyber https://youtu.be/UiVDj3OJ-zo
Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) https://www.wicys.org/
CISA Women in Cybersecurity https://www.cisa.gov/women-cybersecurity
National Initiatives for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) https://niccs.cisa.gov/women-cybersecurity
Girls Go CyberStart https://girlsgocyberstart.org/
Girl Scout Research Institute https://www.girlscouts.org/includes/ceros/cyber-security/index.html
SANS Women’s Immersion Academy https://www.sans.org/scholarship-academies/womens-academy/
(ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity https://www.isc2.org/research/women-in-cybersecurity
Cybersecurity Workforce Diversity—Including Cultures, Personalities and Neurodiversity https://www.isaca.org/resources/isaca-journal/issues/2021/volume-5/cybersecurity-workforce-diversity-including-cultures-personalities-and-neurodiversity
STEM for girls https://stemgeek.com/stem-programs-for-girls/
International Women’s Day: The power of diversity to build stronger cybersecurity teams (Microsoft) https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/blog/2023/03/08/international-womens-day-the-power-of-diversity-to-build-stronger-cybersecurity-teams/
The female code-breakers who were left out of history books (BBC) https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20171009-the-female-code-breakers-who-were-left-out-of-history-books