International Women’s Day – Break the Bias

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Improving diversity in cybersecurity is a key issue. The (ISC)2 2021 Cybersecurity Workforce Study revealed that there is a global shortage of 2.72 million trained cybersecurity professionals and the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets. The Cyber Security Coalition is committed to promoting gender diversity and to help engage more women in the cybersecurity sector. That is why we want to put 8 March – International's Women Day - in the spotlight. We are fortunate to have many other effective industry advocates in our community to encourage women to consider a career in cybersecurity and make sure they understand how they could have a positive effect on society.

8 March 2022 – International Women’s Day: Break the Bias

The percentage of women in the cybersecurity workforce is a staggering low of 24%, according to the latest cyber security workforce study by International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)². Despite more than doubling over from the 11% in 2011, the number is still too low at the face of 50% of the population being women. 

From Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to Grace Hopper, whoinvented the first computer compiler and co-developed the COBOL, one of the earliest standardized computer languages, history is filled with women who have realized giant leaps for mankind. The Cyber Security Coalition wants to be an inclusive community where women can thrive and develop their careers. 

Working in the cybersecurity industry means navigating a warren of male-dominated fields. We need to explain women that cybersecurity jobs cover a vast and diverse amount of positions. A great number of cybersecurity jobs require more interpersonal skills than technical ones. They require analytical thinking, teamwork skills, communication skills, and leadership skills, all of which can be learned in fields other than technology and transferred to the cybersecurity industry. Many studies have shown that different perspectives result in a better understanding of problems and, ultimately, in better solutions for everybody. 

Women need to seek out the right role models in the industry to look up to and be inspired from. Karine Goris (Chief Security Officer at Belfius), Catherine Van De Heyning (Public Prosecutor/ Professor at University of Antwerp) and Claudia Diaz (Associate Professor at KU Leuven) are such striking role models.

🎧Listen to the real life stories of Karine, Catherine & Claudia, their insider tips and career advice in this podcast:

This skills gap in the cybersecurity industry cannot be filled with fresh graduates only. The Cyber Security Coalition wants to be an inclusive community where women can thrive and develop their careers and supports initiatives that bring more diversity in the workforce.  One such initiative is CyberWayFinder (CWF) aiming at empowering more women to switch to the cybersecurity profession by providing a training framework, coaching, mentorships and job assistance for women coming from different, non-technical backgrounds.  

👉 Rosanna Kurrer, Co-founder & Managing Director CWF and Belgium’s Cyber Personality of the Year 2021, explains the achievements, challenges and ambition of the CWF programme: 


We are fortunate to have many other effective industry advocates in our community to encourage women to consider a career in cybersecurity and make sure they understand how they could have a positive effect on society.  Many thanks to Laurie-Anne Bourdain (DPO at Isabel Group), Phédra Clouner (Deputy Director CCB), Noëmie Honoré (Head of Wavestone Belgium), Iva Tasheva (Cyber Security Governance & Compliance Advisor), Annika ten Velden (Chief of Staff at NVISO), Sharon Van Hove (Lector at Hogeschool Gent) for supporting our social media campaign. 

JOIN US to move the needle in women’s underrepresentation in cyber by supporting this campaign!

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About the author

Cathy Suykens joined the Cyber Security Coalition in April 2018 as Operations Manager. She boasts a longstanding career in the financial services industry in different domains with various assignments abroad.