The Difference Between Hiring Women in Cybersecurity and Supporting Them

The Difference Between Hiring Women in Cybersecurity and Supporting Them

We know that diversity and inclusion programs in any industry can lead to great improvements in representation among teams while also benefiting the bottom line. But once businesses achieve gender parity in numbers, it’s essential that leaders make sure that there is continuous motion toward true equity. 

In cybersecurity, where women account for just 16.8% of cybersecurity specialists, leaders first must take practical steps to increase representation of women in the field, but they also must ensure that once women and people of diverse identities are hired, they are more than just faces in the room.

We spoke with a few leaders in cybersecurity at the recent Equality Lounge® at the 2022 RSA® Conference in San Francisco. Here’s what they said on how leaders can not just talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to hiring, retaining, and supporting women in cybersecurity:

“Leaders should hire women who may not be experienced in cybersecurity and then train them. Leadership skills transfer across any industry. If they are curious and passionate, they can learn cybersecurity or any field. Leaders just have to be willing to invest in them.” — Carlota Sage, CISO, Fractional CISO, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

“People in positions of power, especially men, must be willing to give women their spot. Oftentimes, male leaders hold onto their power and their positions too tightly. But it’s time to stop operating from a scarcity mindset and for them to give up those seats to women.” — Amir Belkhelladi, Partner and National Leader, Cyber Services, Deloitte, Montreal, QC

“Leaders can support women in cybersecurity by actually taking actionable steps to advance them. It’s time for leaders to truly support and believe in us by giving us opportunities to climb the ladder.” — Frida Kreitzer, IT Manager, OLLY, San Francisco, CA

“Supporting women in cybersecurity starts with allyship. Anyone in an organization can be an ally. It can be something as simple as giving someone a voice in a meeting. Leaders must work to elevate everyone doing so, they are going to give women and people of diverse identities confidence, and they will slowly turn the culture.” — Samantha Madrid, GVP, Security Business & Strategy, Juniper Networks, San Francisco, CA

“I am big on mentorship because I got all my experience and information from someone else. Sometimes, we get stuck in the status quo and the way things have always been done because we do not share and pass along our skills and knowledge to the woman a few steps behind us.” — Rose Eugene, Security Engineer, InVisionApp Inc., New York, NY 

Photo by Trinity Nguyen 
Written by

Stephanie, who affectionately goes by Stevie, is the content strategist for The Female Quotient. Her passion for storytelling has sustained her career in magazines and online content for the past decade as an editor, reporter and writer. She has lived a number of lives from an event assistant to a creative writing teacher in juvenile halls to the former Online Managing Editor at Darling Magazine.