Across the week and across multiple time zones, the women leaders of ISC2 have been contributing to International Women’s Day activities and celebrating the impact women have on our industry.

ISC2 CEO Clar Rosso may have been on the opposite side of the world and the opposite end of the global time zone map, but she took advantage of this to take part in one of the first International Women’s Day events of the global day in Australia. The event was hosted by ISACA, Australian Information Security Association (AISA), AWSN - Australian Women in Security Network and the NSW Branch and NSW Cyber Business Exchange.

Rosso took part in a panel alongside other women leaders in cybersecurity including Jacqui Kernot, security director at Accenture, Roxanne Pashaei, CISO of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Alia Moussa, Divisional Information Security Officer at AUSPAC QBE Insurance.

The event showed the power of bringing the community together and the importance of inclusivity to support progression and equality.

“Organisations that support women in defining goals and creating pathways to achieve those goals will be more successful in developing women leaders and increasing their ranks at senior levels than those organisations that do not. In addition to individualised plans, organisations should ensure inclusive, equitable systemic policies and practices around flexible work, pay equity, and hiring and advancement,” Rosso commented, in an article published today by Computer Weekly.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Çigdem Bildirici, ISC2 vice president for business development, spoke on the Women in Cyber panel discussion at the Cloud & Cyber Security Expo, part of Tech Show London. Alongside Madhu Bashini, senior information security officer at Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Cheila Dos Santos, head of cyber programme delivery at Natura & Co, the three looked at a variety of issues. They addressed the pressing gender gap that remains in the field. With women making up just 25% of the cybersecurity workforce at best, urgent progress needs to be made to further diversify the profession as well as grow it, especially in the face of a global shortage of four million professionals.

Bildirici noted three clear takeaways from the panel and the audience questions:

  1. Stereotypes and unconscious bias are tough to break if you’re not aware. Uncomfortable conversations must be had – and encouraged
  2. The need for better representation and role models in leadership positions: we can’t be what we can’t see
  3. Organizations need to carry accountability for gender bias in a metric-based and transparent way

Today we also published the first of several profiles of women ISC2 members. Jessie Bond, CC, is among the first cohort to have passed the Certified in Cybersecurity exam. Moving from Candidate to Member, and from project management to cybersecurity, Bond feels the certification has emboldened her. "I belong in the room and my voice matters," she said. “The message that I received throughout the certification experience was that ‘cybersecurity is a growing field that not only wants but needs someone like me’ a woman who doesn’t hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science,” she added.