Does it really work?

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Does it really work?

Welcome to the new 108 cyber warriors who joined us last week. 🥳 Each week, we'll be sharing insights from the Black Hat MEA community. Read exclusive interviews with industry experts and key findings from the #BHMEA23 keynote stage.

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This week we’re focused on…📣

The initiatives and associations that are working to close the gender gap in cybersecurity.


Well, we published a blog post this week about why cybersecurity needs more women.

So we thought we’d take a positive view in this newsletter – and talk about the good work that’s being done to solve this problem.

Organisations and collectives include…

  • Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS). A global community of women, allies and advocates who are working together to increase the recruitment of women in the industry; improve retention once they’re in; and drive more opportunities for advancement.
  • SHe CISO Exec. It’s a global training and mentoring platform that strives to train and empower a new generation of cybersecurity leaders – with a focus on gender diversity and emotional intelligence.
  • The Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN). An association that connects and supports women working in the industry, both in Australia and around the world – providing inspiration, mentorship, and opportunities.
  • Breaking Barriers Women in CyberSecurity (BBWIC). A foundation that aims to help women become champions in the industry, by creating space for them to grow into leadership roles and collaborate with like minded peers worldwide.
  • Women4Cyber. Created by the European Cyber Security Organisation, it’s an initiative to bring more women into the industry and meet the increasing demand for security professionals in Europe.

And these are just a few of many. While women account for only a quarter of the global cybersecurity workforce, there are a growing number of initiatives that are working hard to change that.

Why are initiatives like this important? 💭

In our blog post, we talked about why greater gender-diversity would be good for global cybersecurity. But why are specific initiatives like the ones above important? Can they really make a difference?

They’re important because cybersecurity isn’t a particularly welcoming industry to women. So dedicated spaces that are aimed at women’s participation, and empathetic towards the challenges and ambitions of women in the industry, are crucial. We need pockets of the industry that counter the male-dominated culture – so that gender-diverse talent can gain experience, confidence, and connections.

To answer the question of whether initiatives like these can really make a difference: yes.

They absolutely can.

In its launch year (2020), WiCyS scholarships enabled 15 recipients to gain advanced certifications, and 12 out of 15 were employed in cybersecurity careers within 10 months. In 2021, WiCyS had 900 applicants to its scholarship program – and of those, 40 recipients went on to receive SEC275/Foundations + GFACT, SEC401/GSEC and SEC504/GCIH.

In 2022, Women4Cyber’s STARtup Award finalists included Alcyconie (a female-founded cyber crisis management consulting firm, and with 50% of positions filled by women) and ANGOKA (a female-founded IoT security company).

Driving investments in female-led cybersecurity startups, and providing education and empowerment to women in the industry, means that organisations like these are doing much more than simply paying lip-service to the need for more women in cyber.

They’re making it happen.

How many of your colleagues and peers in cybersecurity are women?

1. Very few – under 10% 😭 vote

2. Less than 25% 😣 vote

3. Between 25% and 35% 😌 vote

4. More – 35% or over 😄 vote

Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 24 January 2024.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

Join us at Black Hat MEA 2024 to grow your network, expand your knowledge, and build your business.

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