Additional format that will take place during CYBERSEC CEE
on 30 October 2019 at International Congress Centre, Katowice, Poland.
in partnership with ECSO
CHALLENGE TO BE ADDRESSED:
Inclusiveness is a key factor in security issues. Diversity in cybersecurity contributes to the efficacy of teams and sustainability of solutions, making it both a national security and a business imperative. The representation of women in cybersecurity has an alarmingly low rate of around 11%, this critical gender imbalance has prevented cybersecurity from developing full scale. A growing number of companies and organizations are recognising the importance of having inclusive and diverse teams in order to tackle current digital threats. But there is still a limited number of universities offering careers in cybersecurity or encouraging a greater participation of women in engineering careers. Therefore it is much to do and the strong advocacy of women and men is a key element to diminish this gap and achieve a more equal and thus a more effective cybersecurity field.
RESPONSE BY CYBERSEC:
That is why two years ago we launched the CYBERSEC WOMEN initiative and this year we will introduce it in a revamped CYBERSEC CEE format, in the centre of the region where the spirit of great women can be felt like nowhere else. Marie Skłodowska-Curie once said: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less”. Now the European Commission initiatives focus on boosting participation of women in digital and technology sectors by recommending actions to create national strategy blueprints. The EC is also supporting ECSO’s Women4Cyber Initiative which was founded by one of CYBERSEC originators - Izabela Albrycht.
Digitization, which is an inseparable element of our reality, ranging from everyday life to the economy, the state and society, poses challenges that we must answer together. That is why it is so important that this process takes place with the commensurate participation of women whose representation in the cyber security sector is currently at an alarmingly low level of 11%. This disproportion prevents full use of the opportunities that cyberspace brings.
Because of the issues described above and in admiration for all the great women that participated in the previous editions of CYBERSEC, like Melissa Hathaway (former cybersecurity advisor in George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations), Despina Spanou (Director of Digital Society, Trust & Cybersecurity Directorate at the European Commission), Mary-Jo de Leeuw (Co-Founder and Vice President of Women in Cyber Security Foundation) and many more, CYBERSEC organisers have decided to launch a new format dedicated to the issue of women shortage in cybersecurity and ICT and which aims to support efforts for increase women’s participation in the cyber ecosystem.
Shortage of women in the cybersecurity sphere
Already low numbers of women in ICT are further diminished by the ‘security’ aspects of cybersecurity field. Globally, the proportion of women in this field has been found to be lower than that of other ICT professions, currently at only 11% as compared to 26% in all IT professions worldwide. Disparate backgrounds of experts is needed to tackle wide variety of cyber challenges. Also the global demand for knowledgeable professonals is currently detrimentaly high. With a substantial rise in the number of women in the cybersecutiy field (predicted to 20% of workforce by the end of 2019) trends are slowly moving into the right, balanced figure but the industry needs to continue pushing for more women in cybersecurity. During this part of CYBERSEC WOMEN, panellists will discuss the following topics:
Women shortage in cybersecurity and ICT – examining the issue
How big is the current female scarcity in mentioned spheres? What is the scope of the inequality and when it begins?
Foundation of the imbalanced cyber ecosystem
What causes the gender gap in the ICT sector? What are the roles of families, schools, universities, societies, companies and governments in encouraging women to be an active and prominent part of the digital and technology sectors?
It has been found that workforce diversity increases productivity. Therefore, we need to discuss the effects of female underrepresentation on cybersecurity. Are women equally promoted to senior positions, are they suffering pay disparity, facing not only ‘glass ceiling’ but also ‘sticky floor’? This means that inequality in ICT begins at the recruitment stage, with males being contracted on higher salaries than female counterparts with equal skills, knowledge and experience.
WOMEN for cyber in CEE
Is there any difference in women’s participation in cybersecurity and ICT between Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe? What are the examples of great initiatives devoted to these issues?
Secure the world’s digital DNA by empowering women
A more gender-inclusive cybersecurity field is not only the goal of the workshops, but also the aim of the Women4Cyber’s Charter of Objectives and long-term commitment to take proactive initiatives to increase diversity in cybersecurity, launch a platform to promote the participation of women in tech fields and show public & private sectors that companies with a fair number of women on board are outperforming those without.
During the CYBERSEC WOMEN workshop, the audience will work in smaller groups and will try to find new solutions and approaches, think of what still can be done to increase women’s involvement in the cybersecurity and ICT sectors, what actions should be undertaken to promote women and how to convince the public and private sectors to cooperate in order to support and attract women into the sector. The workshop outcomes will be published in the recommendations.
The number of places is limited. In order to participate please contact us via e-mail wioletta.brzecka[at]ik.org.pl with “CYBERSEC WOMEN” in the title.
Success stories and role models – who can we look up to?
This part includes a few short presentations of outstanding women’s stories through the cyber world. Speakers will share with the audience when they discovered cybersecurity and tech interests, what the main challenges were they had to overcome to become who they are now, and what the milestones that changed their lives were. The presentations will show examples of the possible career opportunities that might open door to the cyber world and unlock women’s potential. Sharing experience is fundamental to provide visibility and help community to raise the voices of women.