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A Deep Dive

Women in Cybersecurity – Past, Present and Future

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Women in Cybersecurity have historically been underrepresented at higher levels of management in the field of Computer Security. There is no doubt that the subject is a men-only one but that does not mean that it should be that way. Women in Cybersecurity need to understand that they also have an equal right to pursue a career in a field that is majority male. In fact, there is currently an imbalance in the amount of women working in the field of Cybersecurity compared to men. The question is, what can we do to address this?

The lack of women in Cybersecurity is not only affecting the amount of women in leadership positions, it is also impacting their performance. The issue is not so much that there simply aren’t enough men in the field, but that there aren’t any men at all. Luckily, that has not go unnoticed by many people and groups who realize the need to take immediate action. The solutions provided by women in cyberdefense aren’t simply beneficial to women in the military service or law enforcement, but to young women who may consider a career in Cybersecurity. All too often young women are left in a men dominated field to then find that the same skills and responsibilities are not being offered to them in a Cybersecurity role.

Women in Cybersecurity already face plenty of unique challenges, including the issue of bias. Women who work in Cybersecurity may have traditionally been in the IT field. It is no surprise then that many women consider a career in Cybersecurity as difficult to get into. With the recently announced initiatives from President Obama and Secretary Hagel to increase the number of women in high ranking Cybersecurity positions, things may change for these women in the near future. The results of such initiatives could provide a boost to women in Cybersecurity.

The time is now to ensure that diversity in Cybersecurity doesn’t go away. If women in Cybersecurity work for the government, they need to know they have support from their department, they need to know they are valued and that they can advance in their position. If the private sector sees that women have a good chance of advancing in Cybersecurity, more companies will see fit to add diversity in their own ranks. In the end it will be beneficial to all. More companies offering Cybersecurity jobs without the added cost of an institute will mean more women in Cybersecurity and more women will have the opportunity to advance and make more of a living in their chosen career.

Another area which is gaining attention in the cyber world is peacekeeping. Many people are criticizing women in Cybersecurity for not joining the Peacekeeping force, but what many people fail to recognize is that women in Cybersecurity already serve peacekeeping alongside men in a variety of capacities. Women in Cybersecurity already serve in a variety of capacities in the United Nations, and more organizations and states are taking notice of the benefits of integrating women in Cybersecurity and other roles which require specialties in a very masculine sphere such as Cyberwarfare.

As technology advances and continues to impact our world at a rapid pace, there will be plenty of new roles and challenges created for women in Cybersecurity. Women in Cybersecurity should be well prepared and have a clear understanding of the role they’re playing ineguarding our nation and our world. Women in Cybersecurity must be able to adapt to changes and remain relevant as our government and cyberoperations evolve. It’s clear that the time is now to pursue careers in Cybersecurity with the Obama administration pushing the issue and developing programs to help prepare women for these future careers.

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