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10 tips to attract women to infosec jobs

Maria Korolov | May 6, 2014
Women make up just 11 percent of information security professionals. Just increasing that number to 22 percent would solve the industry's staffing shortage problem.

In addition, she said, GoDaddy also has a large internal network that supports the professional development of women, GoDaddy's Women in Technology network.

BAE Systems also has its own women's professional organization, Women in Leadership, employee-owned by supported by executive management.

"It fosters women of all backgrounds, in all functional organizations -- not just infosec or IT -- helping them more forward in terms of management at BAE," said Jo Cangianelli, vice president of business development for BAE System's intelligence and security sector.

4. Set up mentoring programs for women 
Mentoring relationships, both formal and informal, can provide support to women thinking of entering the profession, as well as for those looking to move up in the ranks.

"I personally do reach out to people and offer them an opportunity to be mentored," said Pam Kostka, vice president of marketing at Bluebox Security. "When I look back over my history, what gave me opportunities were mentoring relationships. And I've seen it work with other women."

5. Showcase infosec women at your company 
"At IBM, even without thinking hard, I can name many senior officers in security," said IBM's Maripuri, adding that she's like to see more emphasis on visibility industry-wide. "I would love to see more focus highlighting women executives in the IT security space, for younger people in high school and college trying to figure out what careers they should go."

 6. Allow for better work-life balance
Women have achieved gender parity when it comes to studying law or medicine, even though you can't — yet — do surgery or argue cases from a home office.

The information security profession can often lend itself to both flexible hours and flexible career paths, and more companies can take advantage of that, and publicize it.

"IT and security, because it's very much doing work remotely, gives a bit more balance than people would expect," said IBM's Maripuri. "More than other careers like being a lawyer. The IT career really lends itself to taking advantage of that."

An environment that allows employees to better balance their family and professional lives and does not penalize them for making these choices isn't just a better place for women to work, but a better place for all employees who have a life outside the office.

7. Put women on all interview panels 
When a female applicant comes in for a job interview, is a row of while male faces the only thing she sees?

If so, she might leave with the impression that the company is not friendly to women. Some women are comfortable working in an all-male environment, but others may get the feeling that they're not wanted, or that the company has a culture that's inhospitable to women. Otherwise, why aren't more women already working there?


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