Only 10% of cybersecurity professionals in the world are women
HITB GSEC session on what women can bring to male-dominated sub-industry
LADIES, here’s one for you: Diversity, or the lack thereof, in the cybersecurity field is not a new concern.
According to statistics from the US-based International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC²), a non-profit industry education and certification body, only a 10th of cybersecurity professionals in the world are women.
That may seem like a staggeringly low number, but Kristin Lovejoy, president of IT security firm Acuity Solutions, said she is surprised the number is that high, based on the lack of résumés she receives from qualified female security candidates.
Lovejoy is a keynote speaker at the HITB GSEC regional IT security event in Singapore, which kicked off earlier this week with a series of technical workshops.
She is also one of the panelists of the 90-minute Fireside Chat session which takes place on Oct 15, as part of the HITB GSEC conference.
Titled Raising the visibility of female hackers: Putting the social back into engineering, this discussion will revolve around what more women security pros could bring to this male-dominated sub-industry within the IT sector.
“Our ability to manage risk will be fundamentally hindered by lack of participation in the risk management decision-making process,” Lovejoy told Digital News Asia (DNA) via e-mail.
She cited a recent study by neuroscience researchers at the University of Pennsylvania which suggest that men and women process information differently: Women are more intuitive and have greater ‘emotional intelligence.’
With these findings, along with her own experiences at the workplace, Lovejoy said she has witnessed how female participation does bring about more practical and innovative problem-solving when dealing with security risk management.
The aim of the HITB GSEC Fireside Chat is not so much about debating if such conclusions are true, but more about how to encourage more women to look at cybersecurity as an opportunity for career development and growth.
As such, this session – which is organised in association with the Women in Cyber Security (WICS) Group – is exclusive to women researchers.
“I entered the security field completely by accident,” Lovejoy (pic) said.
“In fact, despite having tested much higher in science and mathematics in elementary and secondary school, I decided to study Creative Writing and International Affairs.
“I believe my initial choice was largely driven by an affinity with the female teachers who taught social sciences.
“I remember thinking distinctly… if my science or math teachers (all male) are anything like the people with whom I have to work with on a daily basis, I’ll take another path,” she added.
The key then to improving the ratio of female participation in the long term, she believes, is having strong role models for the younger generation, who are willing to teach and mentor.
Participants in this Fireside Chat session will certainly have access to such role models. Aside from Lovejoy, the panel will also include Jaya Baloo, an IT security veteran of 15 years and currently the chief information security office of KPN Telecoms in the Netherlands; as well as Kana Shinoda, the founder of information security conference Code Blue.
The session will be moderated by Janet Chan, director of Diversity & Inclusion, Intel Greater Asia, preceded by some opening remarks from Craig Nielsen, managing director at Intel Security for South-East Asia.
Attendees are expected to arrive by 6pm Singapore time, and the Fireside Chat will commence at 6.30pm.
HITB GSEC Singapore 2015 is being held at Hotel Fort Canning. DNA is the official media partner.
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