Debates about the dearth of women in IT security and, well, a lack of diversity in the field overall, seem to be edging our space closer and closer to some sort of tipping point.
Recent discussions on this subject across nearly every channel showcase a range of opinions. Some information security pros, for example, agree that the gender gap, specifically, is emblematic of most technology fields. Indeed, a recent SC Online Poll, found that out of 112 respondents, 39 percent agreed that gender gap problems are magnified more in this space compared to other tech arenas. However, another 39 percent said concerns were overstated when considered among other IT industries. The remaining 22 percent noted that gender gap troubles were far from being exaggerated.
Based on this special edition of SC Magazine dedicated to “Women in IT Security,” we’re among the latter group. As we discussed the possibility of creating this issue, it became clear that women and other so-called minority groups still face various prejudices, some obvious, others not so much.
Now, is it getting better? Of course. In another SC Online Poll that snared 165 readers, respondents suggested many ways the overall community could close our industry’s gender gap, including educating girls early about IT security careers, establishing more inviting corporate cultures and expanding mentoring and networking programs.
“I’m heartened by the range of backgrounds and experiences represented by the growing number of pros continually entering this space.”
Change is inevitable. And that’s a good thing. When I first started covering this industry years ago, conference halls for events offered a near homogenous sea of white, male faces. These days, I’m heartened by the range of backgrounds and experiences represented by the growing number of pros continually entering this space.
And while many of our industry contacts will say a special edition dedicated to women actually widens the gulf, we obviously, and respectfully, disagree. Our reason is this: If we did see a full embrace of a diverse workforce in IT security and there were no continual debates, and, most critically, experiences of prejudice and harassment, we’d have no basis at all for organizing this issue. Instead, its alternate theme might be focused on the outstanding contributions made by IT security pros overall – something we do in our annual Reboot issue calling out industry luminaries and during our SC Awards ceremonies honoring CISOs, security teams and others.
But, we’re just not there yet, though we’re definitely making strides. As you flip through the pages of this special issue, whose organization and oversight was ably led by Reporter Danielle Walker (and supplemented by still more coverage in a special section on our website managed by Online Editor Marcos Colon), you’ll find support for these very sides.
A true equality in IT security that effortlessly seizes hold of diversity in all its forms — seeing a talented IT security practitioner as simply that, a talented IT security practitioner – is the ideal for which we’re striving. That’s the tipping point to which we are moving closer. When we get there, believe me, we’ll be the first to celebrate it.