Even in infancy, #Women4Cyber is strongly asserting its leadership and making waves thanks to the efforts of the collaborative platform initiated by the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) who started the platform in November 2018.
#Women4Cyber is a collaborative effort to amplify and accelerate the under representation of European women in the development and promotion of European Cyber Security. Globally unconfirmed research puts the number of women in #CyberSecurity at under 20%. This backlog remains both a hinderance to balance gender equity and an opportunity for Women in the Business of Cyber Security to aggressively tap into filling the gaps in the markets
Winning the 2019 Cyber Security Nordic award is a significant step which aims to increase awareness and attractiveness of the cyber security industry also among women.
We caught up with Ms Nina Hyvärinen, an advisory board member of Women 4 Cyber for an exclusive interview. Ms Nina Hyvärinen is also the head of Corporate relations at F-Secure Corporation.
ECAfrica: You are on the Advisory Board of #Women4Cyber – how did the initiative come about?
It all started about two years ago, when European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) started to look, how Europe can respond to the growing need for cyber security professionals. It is estimated that Europe will need 350.000 cyber security experts by 2022. In 2017 only 11% of cyber security workforce were women. This is too low. There is a huge untapped potential in women to help to fill the skills gap. During those discussions we realized that we need to take additional measures to make cyber security attractive to women, and support them enter this field.
ECAfrica: What does the Cyber Security Nordic award mean?
NH: The award is of huge importance for us. W4C is a fairly new initiative. The award gives us valuable visibility, and more importantly to women in cyber security, and important resources for us to start implementing the concrete actions.
ECAfrica: What impact does #Women4 Cyber intend making?
NH: We want to be instrumental in supporting women and be the community and network women want to belong to. We want to see more women as leaders and experts in cyber security organizations. We want to see more women as key note speakers in major events and conferences (like Cyber Security Nordic), and have role models for young women to attract them to cyber security career. We want to develop and implement concrete actions that support education, training and career opportunities for women, and thus pave the way to cyber security.
ECAfrica: You Mentioned that there is gap in the European Market for women in Tech ( tell us about this and what is your intervention strategy) ?
NH: Tech world is still a man’s world. There are only about 24% women in the cyber security work force (more widely interpreted than in 2017, hence a higher figure). The big tech companies have only 20 – 25% women in tech jobs. Also, we are going to need 350.000 cyber security professionals by 2022 in Europe. W4C wants to raise awareness among women and give them role models in cyber security (inspiring speakers, interviews etc.), and for example, initiate discussion with human resources and recruiters so that they would look at wider skills set.
ECAfrica: To fill this gap what are you opportunities if at all for Women in Africa to fill this gap?
NH: It is estimated that globally we need 1,8 million cyber security professionals, and even as high as 3,5 million. Women in Africa have a real opportunity here. Also as Africa is also getting more and more digital, you have the opportunity to do it right from the beginning from security point of view. We hope we can also support you to encourage women in Africa to consider tech jobs and opportunities digitalization can bring.
ECAfrica: Do you have an inclusive global Strategy?
NH: International partnerships and network are key part of our action plan and we are excited for any opportunities to reach out to other regions like Africa. We want to be part of a global community and network.
ECAfrica: Please advise on opportunities you have identified?
Is there a specific profile of women in Cyber resource you need or is it across sectors?
NH: In addition to more traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) we need also other skills like behavioral and social scientists. Also most in the cyber security did not start their career here (neither did I), and we need to encourage women and train and educate them to consider cyber security as a next career move.
Cyber security is a crucial part of digitalization. We need a wide representation and understanding of society and different sectors. We have more women working in social and health sector. I cannot think more sensitive data than health data, hence it is important that women working in the health sector understand the importance of securing patients data, and what it takes.
About The Author:
This Interview and article was done by Vanessa Perumal, a journalist by profession and editor for #ECAfrica and JT Comms. Vanessa was invited to Finland to report on the 2019 Cyber Security Nordic.
Vanessa Perumal is an award winning Social Entrepreneur, Connector, Lobbyist, Disruptor, Activist, Innovator, Visionary, Media and Marketing strategist and thought leader. She’s the brains behind #Entrepreneur Connect Africa (#ECAfrica) a digital networking platform connecting Entrepreneur with the aim to drive empowering opportunities and collaborations.
Perumal is a savvy Journalist and writer, #PublicityConnector and on a journey to use digital to disrupt and transform how we can harness and share an #AfricanNarrative
Issued by JT Communication Solutions – www.jtcomms.co.za