Why Are Women Crucial In The Fight For Cyber Security?
The tech industry is largely testosterone-heavy with women only standing on a scant percentage of representation in it. A lot of tech companies focus on hiring under the norm of ‘men are better in tech', leading to organizations limiting their diverse talent.
This seems to be the thumb rule in STEM specifically. The standout reasons for this are mainly the biased and patronizing stance that questions women's intellectual ability to perform in this sector. Also, we forget that we are all products of a patriarchial society that doesn't exactly push women towards hardcore STEM-centric fields, eventually squashing their interest before it blooms. Let's not leave out the vicious carousel they are stuck in due to the lack of a support system that arises from a lack of role models in STEM fields for women to look up to.
"But women are involved in the tech sector."
Yes, absolutely (read as sarcastically as possible) but with only 29% representation in Microsoft, only 26.5% of women in executive, senior-level, and management positions at large companies and a scant 24% of the global cybersecurity workforce. And mind you, it's 2021 we are talking about with all the prospects of flying cars, trips to moon. What people fail to acknowledge is that women bring a unique perspective on certain trends, services, and items.
Case in point: Do you ever think about how much data a period tracking app collects? Most of these apps share your intimate information with a third-party company for targeted and focused advertising but examples like these show an enormous gap in the industry. These are not often talked about but having more women in the industry can shift the focus on issues of privacy and security because these are problems they face on a daily basis. Hence it will be the first thing on a lot of women’s minds and this unique perspective is what will contribute to a better infrastructure for cyber security.
'But how do we know women can make a difference? Men can also come up with unique ideas!'
We can see how bringing women makes a positive change in a certain industry with the safety latch in the boot of a car. It may sound small but it made a staggeringly positive impact. In 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety administration required any and all new cars to have a safety latch in the boot of a car. Why is this so important and why do we need one? Well, this happened because multiple women and children were dying or being kidnapped after being stuck in the booth of the car.
"Okay nobody's stopping them, why don't they just enter the industry and work?"
Well, it’s not that easy for a woman to enter a male-dominated industry. In an industry governed by the male ego, women struggled to be equal parts respected and liked while also being assertive. This not only limits the industry but stops tech companies from reaching their potential by limiting their thought process and potential.
Educating young girls about unlearning the patriarchal notions that hinder their interests alongside pushing more women to positions of seniority will have a lasting impact not just on gender equality but also aid in finding gaps in cyber security.