Expert voice | Empowering women in cybersecurity: Navigating challenges & breaking barriers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

As our reliance on digital technology continues to grow, so does the importance of cybersecurity. It’s no longer just about protecting data; it’s about making sure the foundation of our interconnected world remains safe. Cyber threats are diverse and continually changing, requiring a variety of skills to effectively combat them. This means there is a need to better recognize the need for equally diverse perspectives in the task forces that battle these threats.

Over the course of my career, I have witnessed women peers bringing unique perspectives and problem-solving skills, especially when it comes to security. They can contribute significantly to creating a more thorough, adaptable and responsible cybersecurity strategy for individuals and organizations. However, despite the progress being made, there has been a historical lack of women in deeptech, making their inclusion in cybersecurity an important step toward a safer digital future.

The underrepresentation challenge

Taking a closer look at the cybersecurity industry shows a clear problem—a gender gap that persists despite progress in other professions. Statistics indicate that from 2018 to 2023, the number of women in cybersecurity jobs in India increased by over 10%. This was a growth from around 11% to 22% due to the efforts of initiatives like CyberShikshaa and corporate initiatives towards Inclusion and Diversity that brought in diverse workforce into the organizations.  While this is an encouraging trend, there is still a huge gap to cover and there needs to be focused effort to bridge this gap both in academics and industry.

Navigating professional challenges

Despite the efforts made by organizations to promote gender equality, women continue to face challenges in the workplace ranging from workplace discrimination, lack of confidence and even imposter syndrome. Unconscious biases and gender stereotypes in the industry hinder the professional growth of women, highlighting the need for a change in organizational culture. It is important to create a supportive environment that empowers women to embrace their skills and build resilience.

Building a supportive network

Mentorship programs and networking communities are crucial for career development, especially for women in tech who may not see as many female role models. Additionally, encouraging a culture of support and collaboration within the industry ensures knowledge-sharing and skill development. These initiatives can not only bridge the gender gap but also create an environment where women feel empowered to thrive, guided by experienced mentors.

Promoting diversity and inclusivity

Advocating for workplace initiatives that promote equal opportunity is essential. Collaboration and diverse thinking are crucial in developing innovative and effective cybersecurity strategies, necessitating a diverse workforce. Activities like hackathons and coding quests can bring teams together and help women showcase their skills first-hand. Unbiased recruitment through anonymous skill-based hiring can also help bring more diversity into the organization. Strategies for skill development and recruitment, with a focus on fostering diversity, enrich the talent pool and contribute to building a more resilient cybersecurity workforce.

Empowering women in cybersecurity is a crucial journey for the industry. Recognizing the unique challenges women face, fostering a supportive network, and challenging gender norms pave the way for a more inclusive digital future. 

As cybersecurity threats become more complex, embracing diverse perspectives is vital. The call to action is clear—organizations, industry leaders, and professionals must unite to build a cybersecurity landscape that thrives on diversity, ensuring a safer and more resilient digital world for all.


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National Cyber Security