Women in Tech: The Anatomy of a Female Cybersecurity Leader

women CISO CIO

Cybersecurity has a gender gap.

According to the 2017 Women in Cybersecurity study, a joint venture between the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, women only make up 11 percent of the total cybersecurity workforce.

In addition to occupying a substantially small space in a massive global industry, the few women who are in cybersecurity hold fewer positions of authority and earn a lower annual salary than their male counterparts, on average.

Many think pieces have mused about the causes of the gender gap in cybersecurity, with theories ranging from industry discrimination to socialization differences. It’s a pipeline problem and a retention problem: while there are now more programs designed to encourage girls to get into tech, it remains a difficult field for young women to enter — and stay in.

With the worldwide deficit of qualified cybersecurity professionals projected to reach 3.5 million by 2021, one thing is clear: Cybersecurity needs more women.

So, what does it take to be a leader in an industry notorious for its lack of gender diversity? In an effort to answer this question, we analyzed the current Fortune 500 list to see which companies have female leaders in their top cybersecurity position, including the chief information security officer (CISO), chief information officer (CIO) or VP of information security. Out of the 500 companies we examined, only 13 percent — or 65 companies — had a women working as the corporation’s cybersecurity leader in one of these positions.

Who are these 65 women? Check out the full infographic below to learn more about the women leading the way in cybersecurity.

women leading cybersecurity positions

While the gender gap in cybersecurity remains a real issue, these women — and their contributions to the world of cybersecurity — are paving the way for more gender inclusion in the future.

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