This is probably going to be one of the shortest blogs I've published. You see, I'm on a mission, and time is of the essence. In case you're unaware, I'm writing a book about women in cyber security and what we can do to increase the numbers.
And, I'll let you in on a secret.
Up until the beginning of this year, I had no idea that I'd be doing this. However, in November 2015, something stopped me in my tracks and changed my direction – slightly.
I read an (ISC)² study, entitled ‘Women in Security: Wisely Positioned for the Future of InfoSec,’ which reported on the global information security workforce and the decreasing numbers of women within it. Shocked into writing, my blog, ‘The Future of Women in Cyber Security. How do we Increase the Numbers?' went viral (figuratively speaking). Ironically, I had no agenda, other than to be a voice, but when people started to reach out to me, to tell me their stories, I knew I had to do more.
During the Christmas holidays, I did what most people don't do. I wrote a 15,000 word report on the global state of gender diversity within cyber security. I laid out five challenges that I believed needed to be fixed, along with solutions. Although I'd planned to publish the report on LinkedIn, I suddenly thought, “It's half a book. What if I interviewed women and men, and added their stories? That would be more far more interesting, and would offer more value.”
So, I messaged my publisher, and when she responded with, “You'd be mad not to,” I knew I had to take action. In April, in need of publishing funds, I started a Kickstarter project. I was adamant that I was going to succeed. I had conviction, played full-out and worked damn hard at pitching. It was easy to do – to be courageous, to put myself in front of people and companies and ask for the money, for this initiative was not about me or my business – it was for the industry. It actually stood for more than that – for society – for when we do our job effectively – we're protecting people, countries, economies and businesses. That matters.
Within five days I'd reached my goal. I was ecstatic and proud that our community had come together to fund it. I then set another – a stretch goal – and within days had reached that too. By the end of April I'd raised £10,614.
Right now I'm spending much of my time interviewing professionals from around the world. The insights that I've gained have been fascinating and my work is incredibly fulfilling. Every evening and weekend I'm writing these up and researching solutions so we can address the issue. However, there's more work to be done. Rather than drawing on data from other professions, I need fresh data, from ours. That way I can test some theories that have come about from my research. And, this is where you can help.
If you've not completed my survey, please do. There are only 10-questions, and they're very straightforward. There are also boxes for you to comment in, if you so desire.
Finally, I want to explain why I'm concentrating on gender diversity. Although I fervently believe in equality and would have liked to have tackled diversity as a whole, the topic is too big. There are also other problems with it.
I recently learnt that you can't get statistics on race or religion in France, as you've been forbidden to ask questions on either since 1942. Furthermore, there are 79 countries globally, where you can't get statistics on a persons sexual orientation, as being anything other than heterosexual is illegal.
By concentrating on gender diversity, there's existing data to draw upon. Additionally, gender diversity is the one thing that you can measure across the world. It can therefore lead the way for all diversity and inclusion opportunities.
There are countless studies that report on the economic benefits of gender diversity. For example, McKinsey and Co. have stated that we'd add another 26% or $28Tn to GGDP if we achieved gender parity by 2025. When women are in business, there's more innovation, the likelihood for projects to stay on budget increases and profits rise. When women are in leadership positions, there's more diversity in the workforce, more contributions are made to charities and more goods are bought locally. And, when women are politically and economically empowered societies are more stable.
Now, when women are in cyber security we benefit from greater perspective of thinking, for women do think differently to men. And, any time you have uniformity of thinking, you miss out on the most creative solutions or tactics, which can help us beat the threat actors.
But, aside from all of these reasons to employ more women in our profession, it's just simply the right thing to do, and a lot more fun!
Now I want you to take action
- Please complete the survey.
- Please share it. If we work together we can achieve more!