In the cybersecurity field, where women compose only 11 percent of the workforce, there is a serious shortage of qualified professionals, threatening to hinder the pace and progress of fighting cybercrime. An influx of skilled women would change the equation.
To that end, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) drew more than 18,000 attendees, when it took place in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center in early October. Each year, the mega-conference gathers a crowd of students, recruiters and professionals under one roof to discuss and promote careers for women in technology.
Mihoko Matsubara, public sector CSO at Palo Alto Networks for Asia-Pacific, put it this way for the audience: “Cybersecurity is now more important than ever, and every country faces an acute shortage of cybersecurity professionals. We need you to join us in our mission to prevent successful cyberattacks and protect our way of life in the digital age.”
Recruiting talented women to the field is essential to this effort. Accessing a broad pool of talented women who are interested in the industry—and connecting them with both opportunities and mentors —is exactly what many companies attending the GHC gathering aim to accomplish.
One attendee, a college senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering, reflected on her time spent at the conference: “GHC was an amazing experience. As a woman in tech, I’m often told, ‘You don’t look like an engineer,’ or people are surprised by my choice of study. It was extremely rewarding to be told that an industry wants and needs you.” She also noted, “There is an appalling lack of women in tech. This shortage of perspective and diversity is hurting the industry and is negatively impacting technical innovation. It is important for companies to actively try to improve diversity in their own organizations.”
View a video from the event below, and read more about the event here.