For Women’s History Month, we are asking RiskLens staff members for their thoughts on the current status and outlook for women in the cybersecurity field and technology generally.
Aliscia Warren, HR Generalist
As each generation progresses, we see more activity for advocacy and less room for stagnation. What I mean is, women now are not going to stay at a place they don’t feel welcomed at. In the past, people stayed in many situations due to less opportunities available. Now women will leave an environment if it does not align with their beliefs.
This places even more importance on cultivating an inclusive environment in the workplace. This also relates to an increase of advocacy for women in the workplace from all genders, men, and non-binary. It is not women’s sole responsibility, it is everyone’s. And everyone is held accountable.
There are still problems that persist across the generations. As seen in the graph, the rate of women majoring in computer science has declined.
Industries play a vital role in women in the workplace trends. Many industries like technology, accounting, law, etc. still reinforce the cycle of traditional workplace gender norms. My friends who are just now entering the workforce in accounting/finance worry about how they dress and behave, down to the colors they wear to work, thinking solid colors are preferred over patterns or floral print.
Gender norms also come into play when it comes to career assessments. I used to work in a career office for a university and many students and alumni would take career assessments to identify how their KSAs, (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) are suited for a particular career. The concern is that in 2023, some of these assessments are still outdated and take the participants’ gender into consideration, i.e., women are more suited for caring, teaching, social roles, and men are suited for tech and management. This is not showcasing or allowing women to explore all their options. Additionally, this affects people who identify as non-binary or more than one gender.
So, while there has been some progress made over the generations, there is still improvement to be made that could change lives for the better.
For me, I get inspired with representation. There are countless examples but each one moves me the same. Women and people of color in leadership roles. Women and people of color who display strength and vulnerability at work. Women and people of color who are change makers. Seeing someone like me be themselves and thrive ignites a spark. I actively look for it in nearly every room that I am in. In need to see that someone like me can make it and make a difference.