Despite proven benefits, gender gap in tech still exists

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gender gap

As International Women’s Day on March 8 draws near, cybersecurity experts address the remaining gender gap in the industry

It may seem like women in tech are making rapid inroads, but the reality is that women represent only 22% of roles in the European tech sector, according to a McKinsey study. At a time when the cybersecurity workforce alone had 3.5 million jobs unfilled globally in 2023, this glaring gender gap is more than just a diversity issue.

The analysis suggests that if Europe could boost women’s presence in tech to 45% by 2027, it might close the talent gap and potentially increase GDP by up to €600 billion.

Beyond the economic benefits, diverse teams are widely recognized to enhance productivity and creativity because they often make better decisions. Efforts such as Black Girls Code program encourage young girls’ interests and support as well as empower women in tech.

“Having more positive female role models in tech can help immensely. When young women see other women succeeding and thriving in these careers, it becomes easier to envision themselves in those roles. That’s why it’s so important for women already in tech to raise their voices and be visible mentors and champions,“ says Juta Gurinavičiūtė, CTO at NordLayer.

Shatter stereotypes and build confidence

The Economist’s glass-ceiling index, which measures where women have the best chances of equal treatment at work and rising to leadership positions, reveals that gender parity remains an elusive goal, even in wealthy nations. Four Nordic countries — Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Norway — top the index as the best places for working women. In Japan and South Korea, women must still choose between a family or a career.

The challenges facing women in tech are multifaceted, including societal biases, lack of encouragement to pursue an interest in STEM from a young age, and persistent self-doubt. Shelby Dacko, a human risk analyst at Social-Engineering LLC, shared her experience: “Many of my challenges have stemmed from my own doubts about my capabilities. Whenever I doubt myself, I remember my team lead Ryan’s encouragement and remind myself that I am qualified and capable.”

Gintarė Milkevičiūtė, a product manager at NordLayer, emphasized the importance of projecting confidence, even when feeling insecure. “One colleague advised me to always consider myself the most knowledgeable person in the room, which really helps set a positive attitude. Maintaining this confidence internally can significantly influence how you handle difficult situations, find patterns, and guide conversations effectively.”

Tech women leaders empowering other girls

Too often, lack of relatable role models and hands-on opportunities at an early age can steer girls away from pursuing their interests in STEM. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women account for just 28% of the STEM workforce. The gender disparity is particularly pronounced at the college level, where men vastly outnumber women pursuing majors in STEM disciplines like computer science and engineering.

Girls seeing other women in tech as role models is important because it shows them they can enter this field, too. This visibility in turn creates a snowball effect — the more women who choose a career in tech, the more normal it becomes, which leads to a more diverse idea-generating environment. Dacko emphasized this by saying, “It’s crucial for young women to see other women in tech. We need to encourage opportunities from a young age.”

In a world where cybercrime is the fastest-growing form of crime globally, the human element is a critical defensive asset that diverse teams provide. Inclusion and diversity aren’t just buzzwords. They are essential to connecting all the dots in our cyber defenses and driving innovation.

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