Could becoming an entrepreneur be a route for more women to enter the cyber security sector? The WISDOM group, together with HutZero, an early stage accelerator programme, considered this issue and other strategies to promote women in tech at our recent co-hosted event ‘Driving Innovation through Diversity’ at Winton Group, London.
The afternoon began with all attendees breaking out into small groups to discuss the following questions:
- What are the most effective strategies that have been implemented to promote and encourage diversity within the security sector?
- Why do we see far fewer women entrepreneurs and how can the entrepreneur lifestyle be promoted as a viable option to women?
- How can organisations (large and small) help support talent development and encourage women to consider a career in the technology/security sector?
- Education: how can females be encouraged to consider careers in technology at an earlier stage?
Each group was tasked to come up with 3 key takeaways/action points relating to each question. This was followed by a plenary panel session in which panellists fed back the key points highlighted by their groups. A full summary of the key points raised can be found by clicking the image below.
For me the most interesting outcome was the realisation that working for a start-up offers no less job security than any other role: you could always be handed a redundancy notice, even in a large corporation. On the other hand, delegates concluded that the entrepreneurial lifestyle needed to be redefined in a positive light: for example, focusing on the flexible working hours it allows.
Another interesting point for me related to talent development and in particular role models: we have often heard that role models can be very beneficial to encourage women to begin and remain in their career in tech. This also came up at the London Universities Women In STEM day, and was mentioned in Greg’s post on the images of women in geekdom. Here delegates concluded that organisations and senior management should support employees to be role models, by, for example, giving them time to attend external events and meet potential future female employees, or for them to meet with mentees.
Were you at the event? What was the most interesting takeaway for you?
Rachel Player, PhD student.