Millions of cybersecurity professionals around the world are on the frontlines of tracking and addressing digital risks and online threats. The tech and cybersecurity industries are among the most in-demand, profitable, and critical fields in modern history. Yet, countries around the world are facing a shortage of knowledgeable and experienced cybersecurity talent that is able to keep pace with the fast rate of digitization and the parallel proliferation of digital risks. In particular, women account for only 2 out of 10 cybersecurity professionals, despite representing almost half of the global workforce. This gap can be explained by several factors, including industry perception and culture, societal and family constraints, barriers to entry due to limited digital and cyber literacy, wage gaps, lower earning potential at every level, missed or delayed promotions, and a much harder path to reach the upper echelons of the corporate world — despite often having higher levels of education and certification than men.
The under-representation and under-utilization of female talent is both a critical business issue and a hindrance to the development of more secure and resilient economies and societies, as well as the overall safety and protection of countries. In addition to worsening the shortage of cybersecurity professionals at a time when they are in high demand, this gap further aggravates gender disparities across other sectors. Furthermore, female internet users already face a higher number of cybercrime incidents and online harassment while also being at an increased risk of financial data loss, violations of privacy, and security breaches. Together, these factors underscore the importance of designing a cyberspace that is safer, more gender inclusive, and promotes the efforts to close the workforce and gender gap.