Jo Stewart-Rattray Dir. of information security and IT assurance, BRM Holdich
Jo Stewart-Rattray Dir. of information security and IT assurance, BRM Holdich

Jo Stewart-Rattray's day job as director of information security and IT Assurance for the Australian firm BRM Holdich would be enough to keep most people fully occupied, but Stewart-Rattray has shown no problem also tackling several additional positions in the cybersecurity world.

Just a few of these “extra” duties include being board director of ISACA, chairing ISACA's Women's Leadership Council while working closely with that organization's SheLeadsTech program that is tasked with increasing the representation of women in technology leadership roles in the tech workforce globally.

“Jo is a pioneer in the security field and a passionate advocate for increasing the number of women working in technology and leading strong firms. She is tireless in her effort to raise the bar and truly change the seemingly never changing conversation on the power and promise of the equal representation of women in technology,” says Tara Wisniewski, managing director, advocacy and public affairs at ISACA.

Stewart-Rattray's work with the latter two programs led to her involvement earlier this year in a United Nations effort to increase the ability of rural women worldwide to obtain equity.

“Earlier this year, I was appointed as a delegate to the United Nations as part of the official Australian Government Delegation. I attended the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) where I represented both ISACA and SheLeadsTech in discussions around the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. It was an extremely humbling and profound moment in my career and is one of my proudest accomplishments,” Stewart-Rattray's says.

And while the efforts by ISACA and UN are helping there is still a great deal of ground to be covered. Stewart-Rattray reflected that when she attended her first cybersecurity event there were only two women attendees lost among hundreds of men.

“We now see at ISACA conferences many more than two female delegates thankfully, but there is a long way to go,” she says, noting one of the major remaining gaps is a lack of role models for women already in or interested in the field.

“While the gender pay gap is one of the most obvious areas for improvement, the lack of mentors and lack of overall female role models in the cybersecurity field is a huge barrier. Women continue to be vastly underrepresented in the global technology workforce and while this is a workforce concern this is also a societal one,” Stewart-Rattray says.