The theme for the March 8th, 2023, International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity. It is never a more important time than now to embrace equity in the cybersecurity industry. Nearly every aspect of our life is affected by cyber, and we must think outside the box to provide innovative new methods to protect the internet and thwart the bad actors. We must be intentional about embracing equity to bring fresh thought to the table. When we all look the same, when we all have the same background, the same perspective, the same experiences, we fall into ‘group think’. When employees are compensated fairly with their peers, when they are given the same opportunities, be it projects or leadership, you have a more committed and enthusiastic workforce.

Research from a Deloitte report found that companies with inclusive cultures were six times more likely to be innovative and agile and twice as likely to exceed financial targets. Embracing equity – It is the right thing to do.

We asked some of our CTA members what does Embrace Equity mean to you? What does diversity bring to the cybersecurity industry? The responses are passionate and show that our members are actively walking the talk in embracing equity.

“Embracing equity means to me that no matter your background, ethnicity, or experience, you deserve a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation. Equity to me is the same inside and outside of cybersecurity. We need various viewpoints, backgrounds, and perspectives in all areas. In cybersecurity, we can beat the adversaries with diverse teams.”

Lynda Grindstaff, Vice President of Engineering, McAfee

“Cybersecurity is inherently a diverse category of technology, creating a whole spectrum of opportunities for women with varying backgrounds. Even though cybersecurity, in general, is typically male dominated, this shouldn’t deter women who are aspiring to work in and/or advance their career in the field from joining in. We are just as smart and determined as our male counterparts, and have knowledge, expertise, determination, opinions, and more that can contribute to defeating cybercrime.”

Sara Eberle, Vice President of Public Relations, Sophos

“From my point of view, diversity helps to find a middle ground during a cybersecurity crisis because of the variety of perspectives that allows for broader ideas and strategies when addressing potential threats and vulnerabilities. It encourages collaboration and problem-solving approaches that are more effective and efficient because if all team members thought precisely the same, we would never have new ideas.”

Imelda Flores, Head of SCILabs in Scitum-Telmex

“Diversity is like water—it takes shape when we give it a vessel. Embracing equity means literally making space, intentionally reducing the room taken up by the voices that are already here to create a vacuum for those that aren’t. It’s an act of ongoing discovery and surface minimization, like so much of cybersecurity is.

I’m a writer and photographer with a theatre degree who runs one of the best teams of hackers and exploit developers in the cybersecurity business. I get to shepherd novel research and grow new security leaders because someone made space for me — not in spite of my unconventional background, but because of it. Cybersecurity is a fundamentally creative pursuit. One of our challenges is to create space that invites new folks to enter and define themselves, rather than deciding what’s missing within the parameters of what we already know.”

Caitlin Condon, Senior Manager, Security Research at Rapid7

“Women may be particularly vulnerable to certain types of cyberattacks, such as theft of personal media and cyber extortion, and therefore the cybersecurity industry must ensure that cyber defenses are inclusive and protect women in cyberspace. The cybersecurity industry will also benefit from greater female representation as the sector suffers from a talent supply constraint, and diversity in backgrounds and perspectives is required to anticipate and prepare for the cyberattacks of tomorrow.”

Sheba Grace, Vice President, K7 Computing

“I have the great privilege to work with a team that embraces equity and diversity in everything we do. As the threat landscape changes around us, we need to rely on varying viewpoints and skillsets to greater defend our customers. Everyone at Cisco Talos has a voice at our table and is encouraged to use it for the greatest good.”

Amy Henderson, Director, Strategic Planning & Communications at Cisco Talos

“30 to 33% of teams are women at TEHTRIS, in all teams and at all levels of the organisation. It has been so since the foundation of TEHTRIS in 2010 and it plays a positive role into recruiting: female candidates know they will truly belong to the teams and be considered equal. It’s a pleasure to count on all talents and to leverage the complementarity of various profiles.”

Ingrid Sollner, Chief Marketing Officer, TEHTRIS

“It’s amazing to see all the shared voices supporting International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme being ‘Embrace Equity’. I have the absolute pleasure to work alongside brilliant minds of women in cybersecurity, from empowering women who are global decision makers to extremely gifted women in a technical threat analysis role. Indeed universally, but also as an industry, we absolutely need to embrace equity to harness the collective mindshare that is deserved and vastly needed given the skills gap challenge we continue to face. Embracing equity and bridging the gap mutually benefits us all.”

Derek Manky, Chief Security Strategist & Global VP Threat Intelligence, Fortinet

“The more time I spend in cybersecurity, the more I’m amazed by the efforts I see around diversity and equity. From the programs being created and implemented for younger girls, to the number of conferences that focus specifically on women. The community is still small enough for that family feel, and there is no shortage of people who will lift you up and help you show your value.”

Kathi Whitbey, Business Operations Manager, Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks

“Embracing equity means going beyond supportive words to meaningful action.  It is not enough to say equity is a worthwhile goal; over time words alone become hollow.  Instead, we have to take steps that result in greater equity even when those steps make us uncomfortable, uneasy, or unsure.”

Michael Daniel, President & CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance

Creating an inclusive and diverse workplace culture in the cybersecurity industry is fundamental for success in our battle to protect the internet.

Are you ready to Embrace Equity?

Here are various resources for your review:

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