Aussies Don’t Need Sheilas to Save Them from Cyber Attacks… or Do They?

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The recently published report by the RMIT Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CCSRI) has pointed out the significant lack of female representation in the cybersecurity industry.

The Gender Dimensions Report of the Australian Cyber Security Sector is the first thorough evaluation of the industry’s gender makeup. As per the 2021 Census data, the number of women in the cybersecurity industry is only 17%.

The report’s key findings include the following:

  • Females were more strongly motivated to join the sector to impact society, with over 50% expressing this, while only 44% of males did the same.
  • Roughly 50% of the female cybersecurity professionals surveyed had IT qualifications, while around 67% of their male counterparts had such capabilities.
  • Less than one-third of women employed in the sector have a female role model or mentor, while more than half of men have a male equivalent.
  • In the past five years, the number of women in specialist ICT security roles has quadrupled, while the number of men has tripled.
  • There is a need for more skilled workers in the Australian security industry, particularly in terms of diversity. As a result, the industry needs to be fixed, even though research shows that a more diverse workforce can bring increased innovation, strategic thinking, and problem-solving abilities.

To make the cyber security sector more gender-equitable and inclusive, it is essential to take a comprehensive approach involving all aspects of society. This approach should address all relevant areas.

Employers, organisational leaders, government agencies, educational institutions, the media, and the wider community must modify their policies, practices, and beliefs concerning gender inequality.

Matt Warren, the director of CCSRI, stated that having a diverse group of individuals with varied educational backgrounds and motivations, including females, is beneficial for approaching problem-solving differently. However, due to the low number of women participating in the sector, it has yet to reach its full potential.

“While the cyber security workforce is overgrowing, there is a noticeable lack of women in the sector,” said Warren  

“To promote gender equity in the industry, we should investigate why women are dissuaded from entering or leaving the field and actively cultivate a workplace culture that values diversity,” continued Warren.

So, Aussies: don’t let cyber security be your damsel in distress. Let’s unite to ensure a robust and diverse cybersecurity industry with Sheilas at the helm!

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