Thales Blog

Making Waves: Empowering Women in Cybersecurity

March 8, 2024

Liz Kelly Liz Kelly | Social Program Manager More About This Author >

As International Women’s Day approaches, it’s a perfect moment to reflect on the pivotal role of diversity in technology, especially as this year’s theme is #InspireInclusion. In this fast-paced sector, diversity is a catalyst for innovation. When teams are made up of individuals with varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, they bring a wealth of ideas and insights to the table.

In recent years, there has been a push to advance women in technology through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives because, historically, women have been underrepresented in tech fields. This underrepresentation has been due to various barriers, such as gender bias, lack of access to opportunities, and cultural stereotypes.

However, through collective efforts to promote DEI, significant strides are being made to address these disparities and create a more inclusive environment for all.

Actively promoting diversity in hiring practices, providing equal opportunities for career advancement, and creating supportive environments free from discrimination and harassment are seeing more and more women thrive and succeed in the tech industry.

Turning Ripples Into Floods

Fueling a more inclusive ICT sector begins with acknowledging that the problem exists, and focusing on DEI is a good start. These issues and challenges are not just the responsibility of one section of society.

No one can do this alone; it will take collaboration between the public and private sectors, civil society, and women’s rights organizations, among others.

Working together, women can make anything happen. They understand adversity better than most, so they need to make ripples, as these will turn into swells and then floods that will make meaningful change happen.

Ideas Can Save The World

Abi Aminu, Channel Programs Manager for the Americas at Thales, advises women or girls aspiring to work in science or tech to embrace their unique perspective and not allow society’s expectations to define the choices they make along their career path.

“Seek mentors who support your goals and connect with like-minded people through professional organizations or industry groups. Most importantly, stay curious and don’t shy away from big ideas. Those ideas might save the world one day.”

Aminu says businesses should actively pursue diversity in leadership roles to provide role models and foster a sense of belonging for employees from underrepresented groups.

“As a woman, witnessing leaders who share my identity is inspiring and motivating. It instills a sense of hope, showing that with dedication and persistence, I, too, can attain top leadership positions.”

Additionally, Aminu says it's crucial to endorse and facilitate the establishment of Resource Groups, particularly for groups like Working New Mothers, where employees with similar backgrounds or interests can unite to offer support and understanding.

Great Role Models

Wiebke Macrae, Global Head of Demand Generation at Thales, believes that one challenge women face in the tech space is the need for more visibility of great role models.

“There are many if you dig a bit deeper, but only a few are seen from the outside,” she says. “It would be great to further promote the career paths that women have taken in this space to provide inspiration.”

This is true because we often forget that women have been at the vanguard of technological change since technology was in its infancy. Throughout history, women have been pioneers in technology.

Ada Lovelace, a mathematical prodigy, collaborated on the Analytical Engine, earning her the title of the world’s first computer programmer. Hedy Lamarr's invention for torpedo communication laid the groundwork for Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, has shattered stereotypes about balancing family and career in the tech industry. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper's contributions to the Harvard Mark I and the creation of COBOL demonstrate her lasting impact on computer science.

Change-Makers And Disruptors

These women are the change-makers and disruptors who saw opportunities before others did, and they had the advantage of being first. They didn’t stop to ask permission; they pursued their goals and worried about the consequences later.

They did what they needed to create the world we all want to live in - a world of equality and balance. It’s up to us to maintain the momentum and encourage women and girls to pursue careers in technology and become the change-makers of tomorrow. It’s up to us to #inspireinclusion.

For more on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion listen to our Security Sessions podcast The Centrepiece of Cyber with host Steve Prentice and award-winning Communications Leader & Strategist Dwan Jones.