In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we reached out to a group of women security experts and asked them, “Who has meant the most to you as an ally? And how has this impacted your career?” We then compiled their answers into an e-Book, Lifting Each Other Up: A Celebration of Women in Cybersecurity and Their Advocates.
This resource illuminates how some of today’s leading infosec women experts got started in the cybersecurity industry and embraced the common goal of creating a more secure world for everyone. It also demonstrates how one person’s impact can be amplified when they get together with like-minded individuals, support one another and advocate for change.
We at Cisco recognize that this fact holds true for women in security. That’s why we decided to put together a list of organizations through which women can collectively effect change in the industry. A dozen of those organizations are shared below.
Established in 2012 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj of Tennessee Tech University, WiCyS is committed to bringing women cybersecurity professionals together across academia, government and industry. Members have ample opportunities to expand their networks by joining community groups, participating in career fairs, accepting speaking opportunities and more.
Thousands of women look to WSC to cultivate their awareness of and advance their careers in cybersecurity. The organization is also committed to encouraging girls to pursue a career in STEM. WSC uses its Cyberjutsu Girls Academy to provide girls with a hands-on curriculum focused on securing information technology that professionals might find in any organization.
In response to the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry, the SANS Institute created its CyberTalent Immersion Academy as a means of providing accelerated training and GIAC certifications at no cost to participants. That initiative includes the Women’s Immersion Academy, which helps college seniors, college graduates and career changers to enter into cybersecurity.
The purpose of CybHER is to empower girls and women in cybersecurity. It provides resources to girls in middle school all the way through college (at which point they’re eligible to join the CybHER club) to help them build meaningful relationships in the cybersecurity industry. The goal of the organization is to foster greater diversity in the industry by introducing girls to cybersecurity at a young age.
Similar to CybHER, ICMCP is committed to achieving greater representation of women and minorities in cybersecurity. It does this by funding scholarship opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate level, using mentorships to help existing professionals advance their careers, as well as disseminating helpful information to members.
A conference around women, diversity and inclusion in cybersecurity, The Diana Initiative uses multiple speaker tracks, expanded “villages” with hands-on workshops, as well as a Capture the Flag competition to welcome all genders, sexualities and skill levels. Its slogan for 2021 is “Breaking Boundaries Byte by Byte 2021,” with its virtual conference planned for July 16-17.
A subsection of IAPP, Women Leading Privacy seeks to help women privacy professionals overcome unique industry hurdles and challenges. It does this by encouraging professionals to share career advice with one another, as well as to expand their personal and professional networks by participating in web conferences, special events and more.
WIT is all about advancing women in technology in every stage of their careers, from the classroom all the way into the boardroom. WIT’s Cyber & Tech SIG is specifically focused on helping to advance the educational and professional opportunities of girls and women in cybersecurity. It works with other WIT committees to hold networking events, offer professional mentoring and more.
WISP uses five pillars to advance women in security and privacy: education in the form of security and privacy training, advancement tools and conferences, networking events including chapter meetings and a mentorship program, leadership training for women, as well as ongoing research efforts to explore how more women can enter into the security and privacy industries.
Founded in 2018, UWIC regularly holds several events a year to help women cultivate relationships in the cybersecurity industry. Those events include a year-long program, a sponsor-led advisory board, a symposium held in May each year along with quarterly receptions. Each of those offerings give attendees the opportunity to network, collaborate and promote women leadership.
This not-for-profit organization serves women in Brazil, the Mexico and Central America (MCA) region, and the United States. Its aim is to support children and women of varying ages with educational programs, college guidance, mentoring networks, and leadership talks through which they can learn from one another and enter into the cybersecurity industry.
This organization takes issue with the fact that there aren’t enough women and girls in the cybersecurity industry. To remedy that fact, InfosecGirls uses networking and virtual meets, an education sponsorship program, and other efforts to encourage more women to participate more frequently in cybersecurity events like conferences.
Here at Cisco, we’re committed to supporting women with the goal of empowering them to achieve their full potential in cybersecurity. That’s why we created the ‘Connecting Women in Cybersecurity’ community, where you can expect to network with other women, be inspired by diverse stories and career journeys, and gain access to free resources. Whether your goals are to accelerate your career or to simply cultivate a work-life you love, this is the community for you. Join us today.
Know of any other stellar organizations supporting women in tech? Give them a shout-out in the comments below. Let’s continue to lift each other up and reach new heights, together.