On Monday 17 September, techUK held its Bridging the Cyber Gender Skills Gap event in partnership with Brightsec. The event, held at techUK’s offices, brought together senior women from across the cyber security sector to discuss topics such as their journey into the sector, how to attract and retain more female cyber professionals and ways in which to promote a diverse workplace.
Central to the event was the announcement of the Queue for the Loo initiative; a series of events and online resources aimed at women in the cyber security sector. The initiative, spearheaded by Sian John of Microsoft, will include quarterly networking events for female cyber professionals to network, exchange ideas and find mentors. According to a recent study, the proportion of women in the UK cyber security sector stands at just 8 per cent, one of the lowest proportions in the world, with men earning an average of 16 per cent more than women. This initiative looks to not only create a stronger network between women in cyber but also to encourage them to do more to get others to consider their options in this space.
Commenting on the event and launch of the Queue for the Loo initiative, Sian John, EMEA Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft said: “A stark sign of the lack of gender diversity in our industry is shown at technology conferences where women are in such a minority that we rarely have to queue for the loo, unlike every other public event we attend. This is why I’ve started the #queuefortheloo campaign. The aim is to increase the breadth of talent in our industry by encouraging more women to join it so that we are more included and a sign of success will be when we have to start queueing to use the facilities at technology conferences.”
Ruth Davis, Head of Commercial Strategy and Public Policy, BT Security, said: “Demand for cyber security professionals is growing, but we are failing to attract nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s workforce to the sector. I’m delighted to be a part of this initiative which I hope will inspire many more women to explore the opportunities a career in cyber security has for them”
Speakers at the event included Ruth Davis, Head of Commercial Strategy and Public Policy at BT Security, Sian John, EMEA Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft and speakers from the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Girls project.
For more information on the new Queue for the Loo initiative and the cyber skills shortage, please do get in touch with Talal Rajab or follow us on twitter at @q4theloo