Over the past four years, there has been a jump for women in the cybersecurity workforce from 11% to 24% — and at Cybint, we only want to see that number grow higher and higher. While the cybersecurity industry is taking steps in the right direction towards employing more women, there are still obstacles to overcome.
For one, there is the salary inequality. According to ICS2, women still make 12% less than men. And despite the increase in percentage, the ratio of women to men in the cyber industry is still 1 to 3. Women in all fields and industries continue to face challenges – and therefore, we continue to work and address this disparity.
While we look to many different avenues to empower women and forge a path in the industry, there is undoubtedly one, indispensable resource: support from other women.
Meet May Yona, Lali Hadar, and Yuval Regev, our Training Managers who educate our partner’s facilitators and train students for our Cybersecurity Bootcamp. We are highlighting their experience as women in cyber and gaining their insight on how we can empower more women to join the workforce.
What resources helped you the most when stepping into this industry?
Yuval: One of the things that helped me at every stage of my career was a strong and empowering support system. I doubt I would be where I am today without having a community of inspiring, intelligent, and successful women. This industry can definitely be challenging, and having a community of people to trust and rely on makes a huge difference.
What is the best advice you have received?
May: Whatever you do – be you. I am a shy person. Many times in my life, I got feedback that I needed to change and become a more extroverted person so that people will hear me. But one time, I got advice from my military officer that I’m doing my own show as an introverted person, and people will get to know me and my way with time.
Lali: Embrace challenges. Every career comes with its challenges; you should change your mindset and look at these challenges as opportunities to grow.
What qualities do you find most important in a leader? And your team members?
May: A good leader’s important qualities for me include empathy, humility, and communication. We need to remember that we are humans and not robots, and for me, it all begins with my team leader’s mindset. The only way to get people to follow you is to make them feel heard. Listen to their hopes, motives, and concerns, and care about their personal feelings.
Lali: As a woman in cybersecurity, the people who surround you have a significant impact on your success in the field. There is a strong culture of mutual support and compassion among the women, and being a part of this support group is an amazing and empowering experience.
How do you think we can continue to diversify the cyber and tech world for women?
Lali: I believe education is a key factor in diversifying the cybersecurity field for women. Since cybersecurity is still perceived as a “male-dominated” field, it is vital to raise awareness and invest in the drive for equality. Education can give young women an insight into day-to-day life and make the industry more accessible.
Yuval: As a part of my army service, I volunteered with an organization called “CyberGirlz”, which connects teenage girls to cybersecurity conferences and events, all led by professional women in the industry. Seeing how this program influenced so many young women made me understand how crucial these programs are at introducing women to the world of cybersecurity, starting at an early age. The continuation and expansion of these programs are essential to ensure the cybersecurity industry’s diversification and talented women’s integration into it.
Do you have any advice for women who want to step into the world of cyber?
Yuval: I often get asked by women: “I always thought you have to be a superhero in order to work in cybersecurity. Is it true?”. My biggest advice for them, and practically for any woman facing a new challenge, is: your most significant obstacle is you! It’s a complete myth that you need to be some kind of super-genius to work in cybersecurity. If you are passionate and willing to work hard, any opportunity is open to you.
May: My advice is always continue to learn. The cybersecurity world is very dynamic and changing every second. You’ll always have room to grow. To be the best defender, you should always seek to acquire more knowledge, and it’s needed to keep up with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies. You’ll never be bored, and you can always be proud because your work will undoubtedly impact the digital and physical world.
Lali: I would advise women entering the cybersecurity field to explore, find their niche, and challenge self-doubt. As a woman in a “male-dominated” field, you might be judged unfairly (consciously or unconsciously). These small yet frustrating experiences can add up to a significant impact on your sense of self-worth, but don’t let this hold you back! Cybersecurity is a broad field that covers a very wide range of roles and focus areas. It might take time to find a niche that you find particularly interesting, but these expertise can be what helps set you apart.
May, Lali, and Yuval also wanted to say something about Ingrid Toppelberg – Cybint’s Chief Product Officer and leader of their team, and how she fostered an environment for them as women in cyber.
Ingrid’s presence in our daily lives enables us all in our team to stick to the professionalism we stick to and empower each other in a male-dominated industry. Her passion and care for women in tech are what made our team balanced and built so beautifully. She pushes women towards the Cybint Bootcamp to encourage them to enter the cyber community. Even if she is not in a technically “cyber” role, it doesn’t make her impact any less. She took the active step to create our “woman in cybersecurity team”, and she is a woman in cyber just like the three of us.
At Cybint, our team is made up of over 40% of women that span over 7 different departments. By highlighting educational solutions and affording flexible opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds, we can close the cybersecurity workforce shortage and create more opportunities for everyone in the community.
We are grateful for our amazing team’s commitment to providing cybersecurity solutions to the global workforce. To learn how you can empower your community, contact us.