Today is the International Women’s Day! So please allow me to say: “Happy holiday, ladies!” Enjoy all the nice messages, flowers, gifts! You truly deserve them!
Meanwhile, I can not help thinking this question: “Why do we have this special day for women only?”. Why do we not have something like the International Men’s Day? After all, we have both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, right?
I guess the main reason we set up any specific days such as the International Women’s Day is to remind us the importance of that subject. In other words, we still have some challenges in that subject.
As a perfect example, we are facing a big problem in the cybersecurity industry today – only about 11% cybersecurity professionals are women!
Ironically, most industry leaders agree the #1 challenge in cybersecurity is the “Talents Gap”. It is estimated that we need 2 million more qualified cybersecurity professionals in the next few years!
So, I’d like to pass this message to all women at this International Women’s Day: Ladies, Cybersecurity Needs You!
As a matter of fact, I believe, for many cybersecurity jobs, women can perform better than men! Here is why:
Women are better communicators
The weakest link in cybersecurity is “People”. Regardless what technical solutions you are using or security policies you are having, your cybersecurity program will suffer without the understanding and cooperation from your people including executives, managers, users, partners, vendors, and customers.
Women are naturally people-oriented and usually master better communication skills than men:
- At the executive level, women can better collaborate with other functional leaders to craft a suitable cybersecurity strategy.
- At the manager level, women can better coordinate with other stakeholders to deliver various cybersecurity projects.
- At the working level, women can better share their findings with other team members and resolve security issues.
Women are more intuitive
Many women are gifted to sense the problems and root causes quickly. Especially coming to the issues with people’s behavior, they just know what is wrong instinctively. For the cybersecurity jobs like security assessment, security monitoring, and incident analysis, women may work more efficiently than men.
Women are more patient
Cybersecurity is complex. It often takes a long time to analyze thousands of documents, logs, and data before reaching a meaningful conclusion or report. Women tend to be more patient, careful, and consistent in their work, which are the key requirements for many cybersecurity analyst positions.
As a cybersecurity catalyst, I have the fortune to know some really good female cybersecurity professionals in the fields such as Security Risk Assessment, Security Governance and Policy, Security Awareness Training, Application Testing, and Ethical Hacking (especially for Social Engineering Testing). Not only their performances are outstanding but also their team members are more effective and happier.
With that said, our cybersecurity ecosystem, including public/private sectors, academia, and government organizations, need to work together to encourage and empower more women to join the cybersecurity workforce.
Nevertheless, it is boring to have just men in your cybersecurity team! The gender diversity will boost productivity, reduce conflicts, and resolve our industry problem of “talents gap”.
Ladies, cybersecurity needs you!