Terranova celebrates International Women’s Day 2018 with great fervor and joy as women play a significant role in pushing the envelope further in terms of creativity, innovation, and business growth – every single day. They tackle unflinchingly, what frequently are, insurmountable challenges, often in professional circles that continuously undermine their well-earned authority. With every small and big decision taken, women security professionals revolutionize a predominantly male industry into a more inclusive sphere. Terranova celebrates their accomplishments.

Importantly, the gender disparity in the field of cybersecurity still prevails. Every year, few women undertake a career path in information security. According to the 2017 study by Kaspersky Lab, Beyond 11%: A Study Into Why Women Are Not Entering Cybersecurity, there are many reasons justifying the lack of women in the industry; most stem from the gloomy reality of under-representation of female role-models in cybersecurity. The following passage testified to this fact:

“Arguably the biggest reason that women are not entering cybersecurity is the lack of high-profile role models or key influencers around them. Without someone to admire and look up to, it’s simply too easy for women to assume it’s a no-go area for them. Men, for example, make up the majority of key commentators and experts in the media.” (Kaspersky Lab, 2017)

The study indicates that girls and young women who have been exposed to positive role-models holding leading roles in cybersecurity, or who have been properly informed of the career options available following their studies in the field, are more likely to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Indeed, schools and cybersecurity organizations have a responsibility to raise proper awareness of information security professions and related personal and professional rewards. “There is a need for cybersecurity to be better positioned as a viable career choice for young women. The career itself needs to be promoted among young women, by women, and the industry as a whole. Young women need to be made aware of, and get help developing, the skills required to work in the industry.” (Kaspersky Lab, 2017)

Interestingly, many organizations have been challenging the status quo by undertaking initiatives that reject the female/male divide in cybersecurity. The Girls Scouts USA have launched a cybersecurity curriculum which allows girls between the ages 5 and 12 to earn badges, celebrating “problem-solving and leadership skills,” reveals CSO. Such projects are exactly the type of settings we need to get the dialogue going in schools and in business contexts.

A recent press release, The Future of Cybersecurity is Female, announces that the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is developing an intensive summer program, featuring the theme: “introduction to computer science and cybersecurity for high school girls.” The initiative will welcome 48 teenagers and will facilitate students’ understanding of information security concepts, such as hacking and digital forensics, indicates the press release.

Such examples demonstrate that there exist countless possibilities to break the gender gap in the cybersecurity industry. Collaborations between organizations, including academia, corporations, and community-based groups, are essential to the equation as they open doors to progressive representations of men and women in leadership roles and multiply the channels through which women learn about exciting career opportunities in cybersecurity and how to get a piece of the pie.