Since women constitute roughly half of the world's workforce, channeling more women into cybersecurity could help bridge the gap between open cybersecurity positions and qualified professionals, writes Toktam Ramezanifarkhani.(Photo: Shutterstock / NTB)
The lack of women in IT and Information Security limits the potential talent pool
OPINION: We are yet to empower women in IT and information security, writes Toktam Ramezanifarkhani.
ToktamRamezanifarkhaniAssociate Professor, School of Economics, Innovation and Technology, Kristiania
Information Technology (IT) are vast, with countless roles and specialties.
Offering diverse entry points will span various sectors, from secure technology
to security management.
Thus, organizations must recognize and appreciate the
value of diversity, encompassing gender, background, and experience. Ron Green,
Executive VP & Chief Security Officer at Mastercard, emphasized the
importance of diverse perspectives, stating, «When battling an adversary
constantly devising new attack methods, diverse thought is our greatest
We need to empower women in IT and information security
and even currently, the field of IT and especially information security has
been predominantly male. This lack of diversity limits the potential talent
pool and hampers the ability to address the escalating cyber threats.
research delves into the opportunities and challenges surrounding women's roles
and effects within cybersecurity as gender diversity.
women constitute roughly half of the world's workforce, channeling more women
into cybersecurity could help bridge the gap between open cybersecurity
positions and qualified professionals. Cisomag reported an encouraging trend:
the percentage of women in cybersecurity jumped from 11 per cent to 24 per cent in 2019, a
significant increase after remaining stagnant since 2013.
However, we must take
more effective steps to satisfy equality requirements in the UN Sustainable
Development Goals (SDG). IT and information security have a long way toward
gender balance and diversity.
yet to empower women in IT and information security by promoting young female
professors, taking initiative, and encouraging students in the field.
Small steps can have an effect
simple short story of encouraging young female students at Kristiania during
the 2023 opening ceremony for the Bachelor's program in cybersecurity, we, the
program leader and faculties, warmly welcomed the female students to the
the women stepping into cybersecurity, please raise your hands», I
beckoned during my short talk as a faculty member. Their raised hands were met
with our heartfelt gratitude for joining this vital community. As a researcher,
I emphasized the importance of diversity in cybersecurity, particularly gender
diversity. The audience showed their appreciation with a round of applause.
further connect with the students and highlight the contemporary relevance of
our discussion, I drew parallels with the popular «Barbie» movie
currently in theaters. Hoping to inspire and uplift, I recited my version of
the movie's lyrics in poetic form as follows.
You are security girls, In a digital world,
You are realistic, And it’s fantastic.
Come on Barbies and Kens, Let’s learn information security together!
response, the students of all genders cheered in unison, and it was a moment of
unity and inspiration for all present.
any small step can have effects, we need to take adequate steps towards
actively empowering women in academia, technology, and IT and pay special
attention to the subcategories of these areas, such as women's involvement in information
security. While global associations like IEEE Women in engineering to local
initiatives are making strides, there is still a long way to go!
Further readings and references:
Foley, M., Dewey, L., Williamson, S., Blackman, D., Creagh, et.al. (2017). Women in cyber security literature review.
Brown, D., & Pytlak, A. (2020). Why gender matters in international cyber security.Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Association for Progressive Communications, 2.
A. L. Allen and E. Mack. ‘How privacy got its gender’. In: N. Ill. UL Rev. 10 (1989), p. 441.