#IWD2021: Women in Tech Discuss Success, Setbacks and the Future of Diversity – Infosecurity Magazine
This is unfortunately a common theme, where women have had to prove themselves in order to be taken seriously. Justine Siebke, product marketing specialist and cybersecurity researcher at Skurio, said: “I have also experienced the frustration of doing the same job for less money than male colleagues on multiple occasions and been passed over for promotion because employers could not see past my family commitments. I took seven weeks of maternity leave with my eldest so that I didn’t lose a promotion and took a 62% pay cut when I returned to work after my youngest. Yes, I have had #metoo moments too.”
This is a story that many people share but, fortunately, one that appears to be changing. Siebke stated that having spent the last two-and-a-half years in cyber, she’s “proud to say I see change happening daily.”
“Half of our hires this year so far have been women!” she adds. “I hope and pray this generation of girls experience the highs I have, without the lows, and implore the NCSC to pressure Gillian Keegan to reverse the decision to relax penalties on gender pay gap reporting this year.” This change is happening daily and many women have had an easier experience than the female pioneers of old. Kay Baines, operations security manager at A&O IT Group, added: “I know many women have faced prejudices throughout their career however I, very positively, cannot say that I have faced any. In fact, I’ve had quite the opposite experience as all the people I have worked with have gone out of their way to help me understand the industry and have also given me advice on how I can better my career.”
How to Get into the Industry
Female representation in the industry is growing and there is a multitude of advice on offer for women looking to build a career. Rajagopal suggests that her “main advice for women who are currently looking to start a career in tech is to be intentional about the area you choose.
“The tech industry is so large that you can choose to specialize in a myriad of sub-areas, such as backend, UI or AI and cybersecurity,” she recommended. “You have many options, so do your research and find what interests you. Again, an important piece of advice is to actively seek out opportunities – don’t assume they’re going to fall in your lap. You have to make it happen!”
This guidance is echoed by Prince Taggart who believes women should never undersell their capabilities. “When mentoring women at career crossroads who are doubting themselves, I often say that no man ever says he isn’t qualified for the project, next role or promotion,” she said. “So, ask for the job, take the job, and worry less about how it fits into your future; get the experience and prove your value.”
There are many resources that can help women looking to get into the industry. Prutha Parikh, senior manager, security research at SpiderLabs at Trustwave, suggested attending events such as Girl Geek X which shows talks from companies that focus on product security and application security which can open up lots of opportunities for women. She went on to say: “Women in Cybersecurity is another great resource, particularly for students and even for women looking to start or advance their careers in cybersecurity. Finally, I would recommend following influential women leaders on social media platforms to get insights, stories of struggles and advice that they have shared to get to where they are.”
Joani Green, senior incident response consultant at F-Secure, believes women should never “give in to the inner voices of doubt.” Being a woman is not a hindrance, and it certainly is not a barrier to your success.
This content was originally published here.