Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Careers & People

// // //
10:00 AM
Connect Directly
E-Mail vvv

Women Are Facing an Economic Crisis & the Cybersecurity Industry Can Help

Investing in women's cybersecurity careers can bring enormous benefits and help undo some of the significant economic damage wrought by the pandemic.

The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women's careers and economic opportunities. Many women left jobs to care for children or family, while women-dominated fields like education, retail, and hospitality were some of the hardest hit. In the United States, 2.3 million women left the labor force between February 2020 and February 2021, bringing women's workforce participation rate to its lowest since 1988. In cybersecurity, however, many women experienced success in their careers over the last year. In fact, the pandemic may have even had a positive impact, according to data from Tessian.

These divergent narratives tell an important story about how opportunities in cybersecurity can help women gain back crucial economic ground, while also aiding economic recovery on a global scale. In fact, it's been estimated that if the number of women working in cybersecurity rose to equal that of men, $30.4 billion would be added to the US economy and £12.6 billion to the UK economy. Our industry has an important role to play in closing the cybersecurity gender gap and helping more women take advantage of these opportunities.

Related Content:

How Recruiting Women Can Help Solve Security's Biggest Problems

Special Report: How Data Breaches Affect the Enterprise

New From The Edge: What You Need to Know -- or Remember -- About Web Shells

Women in Cybersecurity Thrived in 2020, but Roadblocks Persist
Recent survey data from Tessian shows 49% of women in cybersecurity report that COVID-19 positively affected their career, while only 9% say the pandemic had a negative impact. The majority (89%) of women also report feeling secure in their jobs. What's more, virtually all of them (94%) grew their teams in 2020.

These positive experiences may have a few different root causes. Throughout 2020 (not to mention the last few years), major high-profile security breaches were widely reported. When Twitter got hacked, for example, it played out in real time across millions of people's newsfeeds. These events brought increased attention to the field and highlighted the importance of cybersecurity. Meanwhile, the heightened security risks of remote work spurred more investment in IT and security. The shift to remote work also created more flexible working arrangements, potentially lowering the barrier to entry for employees who need to work from home.

Despite this positive momentum, roadblocks continue to exist for women in the field. According to Tessian's report, slightly more than half (53%) of women feel there is a gender bias problem in cybersecurity, while 47% say that equal pay would encourage more women to enter cybersecurity roles. Lack of interest from younger generations is also a roadblock: Just 31% of Gen Z say they would consider a job in the field, with men almost twice as likely as women to say so.

How the Cybersecurity Industry Can Help
It's up to cybersecurity leaders to enable women to benefit from our booming industry. Two actions can play a significant role: bringing visibility to cybersecurity opportunities and removing barriers such as pay inequity.

Nearly half (45%) of Gen Z respondents say they aren't sure whether cybersecurity is a career option for them. Many express concerns about having the skills needed to excel, while others don't know how to enter the career. The cybersecurity industry requires a diverse set of both hard and soft skills and offers a wide range of roles and opportunities. It's important to bring greater visibility to the real experiences of professionals in our field. There's still a misperception that we spend all day coding or blue-hat hacking.

We need to show more women and girls how they can explore the opportunities available to them. Industry leaders can take conscious steps to expand their talent pool by hiring more diverse candidates at junior levels and investing in their career growth. It's also important to create new opportunities for women in the field to share their expertise, whether through social media, speaking opportunities, or conference panels.

Closing the gender gap in cybersecurity won't happen overnight, but what we do now will have a significant impact on the future of the industry. Highlighting the opportunities for women and investing in them now will bring enormous benefits and can help undo some of the significant economic damage wrought by the pandemic.

Sabrina Castiglione is the Chief Financial Officer at human layer security company Tessian and is responsible for ensuring Tessian operates efficiently and has a clear financial roadmap and strategy. In addition to her role as CFO, Sabrina heads up Operations at Tessian, ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Everything You Need to Know About DNS Attacks
It's important to understand DNS, potential attacks against it, and the tools and techniques required to defend DNS infrastructure. This report answers all the questions you were afraid to ask. Domain Name Service (DNS) is a critical part of any organization's digital infrastructure, but it's also one of the least understood. DNS is designed to be invisible to business professionals, IT stakeholders, and many security professionals, but DNS's threat surface is large and widely targeted. Attackers are causing a great deal of damage with an array of attacks such as denial of service, DNS cache poisoning, DNS hijackin, DNS tunneling, and DNS dangling. They are using DNS infrastructure to take control of inbound and outbound communications and preventing users from accessing the applications they are looking for. To stop attacks on DNS, security teams need to shore up the organization's security hygiene around DNS infrastructure, implement controls such as DNSSEC, and monitor DNS traffic
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Craft is a CMS for creating custom digital experiences. Cross site scripting (XSS) can be triggered by review volumes. This issue has been fixed in version 4.4.7.
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Django-SES is a drop-in mail backend for Django. The django_ses library implements a mail backend for Django using AWS Simple Email Service. The library exports the `SESEventWebhookView class` intended to receive signed requests from AWS to handle email bounces, subscriptions, etc. These requests ar...
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Highlight is an open source, full-stack monitoring platform. Highlight may record passwords on customer deployments when a password html input is switched to `type="text"` via a javascript "Show Password" button. This differs from the expected behavior which always obfuscates `ty...
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Craft is a CMS for creating custom digital experiences on the web.The platform does not filter input and encode output in Quick Post validation error message, which can deliver an XSS payload. Old CVE fixed the XSS in label HTML but didn’t fix it when clicking save. This issue was...
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
GDSDB infinite loop in Wireshark 4.0.0 to 4.0.5 and 3.6.0 to 3.6.13 allows denial of service via packet injection or crafted capture file