Women in cybersecurity think equality will take at least 10 years

The poor state of diversity in the cybersecurity industry is shown by a new report in which 57 percent of women working in the industry believe it will take at least a decade for them to be treated as equals to men, with 20 percent believing it will never happen.

The study from the UK's Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec), released in advance of Monday's International Women’s Day, shows women are struggling to progress both due to the status quo of the industry and also not getting the required support.

Almost half (47 percent) say they have experienced or observed blatant sexism that was not disciplined. Meanwhile, half (50 percent) say they feel they lack the necessary skills to progress to a new role and 61 percent say a lack of confidence in their own abilities is holding them back.

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A lack of career progression has been experienced by 42 percent of women and 46 percent say they have been paid noticeably less than men doing the same job. Nearly half (48 percent) say that they feel unwelcome in a 'boys only club' and 51 percent have experienced being the only woman in their organization.

"There's no question that the cyber security industry must become more diverse. This isn’t only a matter of creating a more inclusive and fairer world. Without greater diversity and inclusion, the industry risks stagnating," says Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec. "Organizations need to work together to eradicate the 'boys only club' culture cyber security has built up over the years. As an industry facing a skills shortage, it can't afford to drive away valuable new blood that could bring fresh new ideas. We need to encourage a new generation of talent into the industry and give women better support; both to help them progress, and so they want to stay in their careers."

There is, however, clarity on what is needed to address the issues. 56 percent say better support and career progression, 49 percent say the industry needs to be less of a boys only club and 47 percent say more women in the industry would make a positive impact.

When asked about the important factors in considering a cybersecurity role, 63 percent say the opportunity to learn new things, 57 percent work-life balance, 54 percent career progression and 46 percent the challenge of the role.

You can get find out more about women in cybersecurity in this report.

Image credit: AndrewLozovyi/depositphotos.com

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