Research Shows Women in Cybersecurity Face Under-representation, Discrimination and Stagnating Careers

by Mary Wei

The 2017 Women in Cybersecurity Report underscores the value of engaging, developing and advancing women leaders.

Key takeaways from the Women in Cybersecurity report include: FS_WP_WomenInfoSec-06Mar17 (2) (1) landing page_Page_01

Women represent only 11% of the cybersecurity workforce, which is much lower than the overall female representation in the global workforce at 43%.

– Women have higher levels of education than men, with 51 percent holding a master’s degree or higher, compared to 45 percent of men.

– Women in cybersecurity earned less than men at every level, and the wage gap shows very little signs of improvement.

– Men are 4 times more likely to hold C and executive level positions, and 9 times more likely to hold managerial positions than women, globally.

– 51% of women report one or more forms of discrimination in the cybersecurity workforce. In the Western hemisphere, discrimination becomes far more prevalent the higher a woman rises in an organization.

– Women who feel valued in the workplace have also benefited from leadership development programs in greater numbers than women who feel undervalued.

“The under-representation and under-utilization of female talent is both a critical business issue and a hindrance to the development of world class cybersecurity organizations and resilient companies, as well as the overall safety and protection of our country,” said Lynn Terwoerds, Executive Director of the EWF. “It is for that reason we partnered with (ISC) ² to create a report which specifically highlights the state of women in cybersecurity today, and why we work tirelessly to improve the representation and advancement of women in our field. Perhaps most importantly, this report confirms the measurable value that EWF programs, events and initiatives have been delivering to our community over the past 15 years.”

“As cybersecurity executives enter the C suite and impact businesses’ bottom line, the diverse skills and perspectives that women bring to cybersecurity teams is invaluable,” noted Joyce Brocaglia, Founder of the EWF and CEO of Alta Associates. “These findings underscore just how important it is to ensure a diverse slate of candidates is considered for every cybersecurity hire – and why I am proud to note that last year, Alta Associates filled 40% of its executive search assignments with women.”

The 2017 Women in Cybersecurity report can be downloaded here: Learn more about The Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy at


About the Center for Cyber Safety and Education’s Global Information Security Workforce Study
The Women in Cybersecurity report is the second release of data from the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study. The first data set, released in February 2017, was the Millennials – the Next Generation of Information Security Workers. This is a new format for the bi-annual study, and The Center will release several additional reports throughout the year with new, previously unpublished information and insights about the global information security workforce.

About the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy
Founded in 2002, the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy (EWF) is the largest member organization dedicated to engaging, advancing and developing women leaders in Cybersecurity, IT Risk Management, Governance Risk & Compliance and Privacy. The EWF serves emerging leaders as well as the most prominent and influential women in our field by facilitating programs and events throughout the year including a National Conference, regional meetings, leadership development and mentorship programs as well as interaction with global thought leaders through an online community. For more information visit,

About Alta Associates, Inc.
Alta Associates is the most prominent executive search firm specializing in Cybersecurity and IT Risk Management. Alta, ranked one of the top 40 executive search firms in the US, has an unprecedented track record of placing CISO’s and building world class Cybersecurity, Information Security and IT Risk organizations. Alta Associates is a certified woman owned business, with a seasoned team of specialized recruiters who have trusted relationships with the most sought after cybersecurity experts in the US. Most importantly Alta is committed to providing its clients with executives representing diversity of thought. For more information visit, or call 908-806-8442.

About (ISC)²
(ISC)² is an international nonprofit membership association focused on inspiring a safe and secure cyber world. Best known for the acclaimed Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) certification, (ISC)2 offers a portfolio of credentials that are part of a holistic, programmatic approach to security. Our membership, over 123,000 strong, is made up of certified cyber, information, software and infrastructure security professionals who are making a difference and helping to advance the industry. Our vision is supported by our commitment to educate and reach the general public through our charitable foundation – The Center for Cyber Safety and EducationTM. For more information on (ISC)², visit, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook.

© 2017 (ISC)² Inc., (ISC)², CISSP, SSCP, CCSP, CAP, CSSLP, HCISPP, CCFP, ISSAP, ISSEP, ISSMP and CBK are registered marks, of (ISC)², Inc.

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