The 8th of March is International Women's Day, and this year's theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This theme comes from the UN's global IWD campaign, exploring the role that innovation, technological change and digital education can play in the pursuit of gender equality.
At CAPSLOCK, we understand the importance of giving women equitable opportunities to reskill in cyber, as historically there have been biases, gender stereotypes and systemic inequalities which have prevented girls and women from pursuing STEM subjects and careers.
According to UN Women’s 'Gender Snapshot 2022' report, 33% of the employees of the 20 biggest technology companies in the world are women, and only 25% hold leadership positions. And if you broke that 33% down, how many of their roles are actually tech-focused?
There's still a long way to go in the cyber industry. The recent (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study revealed that the current global cyber security workforce is 24% female. This low representation isn’t helped by the pervasive image of cyber (and tech in general) as a male-dominated and exclusionary field, making it less attractive to women and other underrepresented groups.
However, the Cybersecurity Workforce Study also reported that higher percentages of female cyber security professionals are reaching positions such as Chief Technology Officer (7% of women vs. 2% of men), which is a promising sign. Bringing women and other marginalised groups into cyber (and indeed all industries) naturally results more diverse workforces, better solutions and greater diversity of thought.
Naturally, bringing more women into cyber must begin with education. Globally, women outnumber men in tertiary education, but only 35% of them are STEM students, and only 3% are studying IT. So, how do we begin to close this gender gap in education?
We've seen how innovative uses of technology and approaches to learning can increase the accessibility of education and reduce the barriers to joining the cyber industry. This has encouraged high levels of diversity in our cohorts, across a spectrum of genders, ages, ethnic backgrounds, neurotypes, abilities, and walks of life. Recent CAPSLOCK cohorts have seen up to 46% of learners identifying as female or non-binary, for example.
Offering extra support and opportunities for women to reskill and start careers in cyber is one way we're helping to make the cyber industry more diverse and gender inclusive. We all come from different backgrounds and have faced unique struggles in life. But men are far less likely to be told that cyber is "too techy" for them or isn't where they belong, while this has sadly been the reality for many women globally.
We run specific advertising campaigns aimed at women, attend events like the Women in Business & Tech Expo to make sure we're visible to women interested in cyber, and ensure that we're expressly stating that CAPSLOCK is a place where women are more than welcome, and thriving.
Fun fact: currently our highest-earning graduate is a woman, and she's earning £75,000 in her first cyber role.
Another fun fact: Across all the cohorts we ran in 2022, the learner with the highest overall grade per cohort was a woman 60% of the time.
The bottom line is that we're committed to helping the cyber security industry become a more diverse and equitable place for all, and will continue to find ways to help more women reskill in cyber.