International Women in Cyber Day #IWCD2021
International Women in Cyber Day #IWCD2021
The Canadian cybersecurity industry is in need of more trained & skilled cybersecurity professionals at all levels. Cybercrime and attacks are increasing in frequency, sophistication and becoming more targeted than ever before. However, women make up only 10% of the workforce here in Canada and exit the industry due to a lack of support and inherent bias within the industry.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada agrees and understands the important role women play in this industry.
A video message from The Prime Minister of Canada. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6512838580900106240
Executive Order on America's Cybersecurity Workforce from US President Donald Trump https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-americas-cybersecurity-workforce/
Women are underrepresented and are not receiving the support they need to retrain and retain more in the cybersecurity industry.
I am a woman like many others with years of experience in the cybersecurity workforce. Throughout my career, like many others, I've experienced discrimination, harassment, bullying, sexism and more. We've lost economic opportunities such as service contracts due to bullying and left jobs because we refused to participate and collude in unethical or illegal activities. We've been excluded from meetings because we're told "it's technical", or attend in "listen-only mode". Women have been assaulted at conferences which now drives mandatory 'Codes of Conduct' and resulted in some conferences shutting down altogether.
These are not easy topics to discuss but it's the difficult subjects we must address. The above complaints are what women in cybersecurity experience daily. Women exit the industry and lose out on financial stability and economic opportunities for themselves and their families. This widens the skills gap which results in existing workers being understaffed and opens the way for cyber-criminals to operate without detection. Some estimate more than 10 million jobs globally will go unfilled by 2025.
The lack of skilled workers and diversity across the cybersecurity industry places nations and economies at an increased risk of compromise and reduction of its GDP!
- Globally, women make up only 11% of the cybersecurity workforce;
- In Canada, women make up only 10% of the cybersecurity workforce;
- Research has shown there is a 50% drop out rate for women in information technology within the first four years*1;
- Enrollment for women in cybersecurity-related programs in Canada is low at 11%;
- Research has shown women need a 30% ratio in the industry to feel supported;
- Women experience pay inequity and receive about 20-30% less than men;
- Women have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition;
- Many industry articles estimate millions of cybersecurity jobs globally will remain vacant due to the skills gap in the workforce*2;
- Last year, the US lost over 600 Billion dollars due to cyber-attacks over lost economic opportunities*3;
- Efforts towards cybersecurity are expected to create $35 billion revenue opportunities by 2025 with the creation of 1 million cybersecurity jobs in India*4;
- Cyber attacks are increasing in sophistication and frequency;
- Data breaches are a daily occurrence and privacy seems to be disappearing;
- Misinformation and fake news are being used to manipulate the masses and control and influence political outcomes. This is an attack on democracy;
- Research has shown, diversity of thought leads to better problem-solving and resolution;
- Research has shown increased diversity leads to increased revenue and profit;
An International Women in Cyber Day, September 1st, 2020 is a day to celebrate and recognize the achievements of women in this industry.
It will demonstrate that women are supported and valued for their contributions. It will also encourage more women to consider cybersecurity as a career. This results in narrowing the large gender gap as well as the growing skills gap.
I call upon industry players such as government, educators, policymakers, technology, and service providers and those in the workforce to support this global campaign. We each play a part in supporting the cybersecurity industry!
- Industry and government can create policies for increased diversity and inclusion;
- The government can create regulations to enforce equal pay for equal work. Iceland did it!;
- Government to create policies for equal representation on boards and positions of authority;
- Industry to create and enforce policies for equal representation on industry and conference events;
- Industry to create policies for equal pay for equal work;
- Industry to create policies for hiring women equally as men;
- Industry to create programs to bring awareness of these issues and stand against harassment and discrimination;
- Government to provide funding for programs and services to support women in this industry;
- Industry to provide programs and services to support women in the industry. #Recruit #Retrain #Retain;
- Provide grants and scholarships for technical cybersecurity skills training.
Thank you for reading and please show your support by signing our petition.
National Day Petition, Government of Canada
The Women CyberSecurity Society et al
*2 Deloitte - The Future of Cyber Survey - https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/advisory/articles/future-of-cyber-survey.html
*3 McAfee & CSIS Report - The Economic Impact of Cybercrime No Slowing Down https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/assets/executive-summaries/es-economic-impact-cybercrime.pdf
*4 Cybersecurity in India - Opportunities for Dutch Companies - https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2018/11/Cyber-Security-in-India.pdf