More Women Needed In Cybersecurity

By Anthony K

Information technology is one of the stereotypically male-dominated fields. This explains why women are highly underrepresented when it comes to cybersecurity jobs. A study in the US established that women accounted for just 14% of the country’s cybersecurity workforce. In the higher echelons of management, the underrepresentation problem is even more evident, with women accounting for 1% of senior leadership positions in cybersecurity companies. This can’t just be labeled as underrepresentation, but it’s a security problem. The truth is that cybersecurity as a field requires more women. With the current underrepresentation, everything remains at risk. This is because it is important to ensure that any field incorporates diverse perspectives. In a field like cybersecurity that is increasingly facing various threats, diversity in perspectives is needed more than ever.

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Two major interrelated stereotypes mainly influence the shortage of women in cybersecurity. First is the notion that men are better suited to technical pursuits in general. Second is the notion that cybersecurity is solely and principally a technical field. Combined, these two baseless stereotypes make it hard for women to enter the field as they get steered away from classes, training, and opportunities that can lead to careers in cybersecurity.

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Research has found both stereotypes to be erroneous. For the first stereotype, psychologists have found that both women and men have equal innate abilities in science and math. To the extent that there is some level of gender representation differences is because boys are steered more to pursuing science and math classes while it is the vice versa for girls. It’s more as a result of the stereotypes and not a reality. The second myth conceals the need rather than focusing on the opportunity of attaining gender balance in the field. The reality is that the intricacy of cybersecurity as a field requires a change of perspective. Having more women in the sector will be important to attain the varied perspectives and thus have an overall advantage in the field, including making data more safe.