Women in Cyber: Power, Persistence and Positivity l CyberSecuritySpeak

Racepoint Global

Written by: Sia Mehta – Assistant Client Executive and Heer Rangwani – PR Intern, Racepoint Global UK 

Eleanor Dallaway, editor and publisher at Infosecurity founded the Women in Cyber Networking Event with the aim of giving women a voice. Before the event, we assumed it would be dominated by women facing issues in the cyber sector. However, 95% of women do not face challenges in the cyber industry. So where is this stigma attached to women in the industry coming from?

We’re living in an interesting era, in which people are actively trying to educate others of the fact that we need to look at people as individuals and not merely by their gender, race or ethnicity. Currently, only 10% of the population within the industry is female, and this is where the issue stems from. Women are constantly seen as being less skillful in the cyber industry. The most common challenge women in the industry face is the recurring need to prove their credibility and having their voice heard in a room full of men. Their communication style, business decisions, and non-verbal gestures make them perceived as not being good enough. And those women who stand out from the crowd within a dominant environment tend to labelled ‘strong’, ‘aggressive’ and even ‘masculine’.

The event hosted a panel discussion which featured one man among four female panelists: Sharon Conheady, Director of First Defence Information Security and a founding member of The Risk, Helena Fearon, Director of Risk & Compliance at AutoTrader, Johnnie Konstantas, Sr. Director at Enterprise Cybersecurity Group, Microsoft and Becky Pinkard, VP of Intelligence at Digital Shadows. Inviting men into the conversation of women’s involvement in the cyber industry, is a step in the right direction and on track to being a part of the solution to reach gender parity in technology fields. A reoccurring solution from the panelists urged women to create alliances, either with males or females within the workplace, should they require. Male and female allies create an action plan for diversity and inclusion, striving for fairness. Even recruiting within the industry is shifting to target women by using softer terminology in job descriptions. The Big Four companies are now searching harder and not allowing shortlists to be made without a female candidate aimed to attract more women into the cyber work force.

As young tech PR Executives finding our footing in the industry, we found it inspiring to have been among a room full of empowering women in the industry that strive to climb the ladder of leadership.