If the longest journey begins with a single step, then women have made some strides in what can only be described as an expedition toward greater equality in the security industry and beyond. Consider all the milestones just in the past couple of years.
While the U.S. may have missed an opportunity to elect the first female president in 2016, the blue wave that swept in during the 2018 midterm elections was propelled mainly by women and, in fact, more women are seated in Congress than ever before. Former CIA spy Valerie Plame is running for a Senate seat in New Mexico. For the first time in National Guard history a state guard – in Maryland – is commanded by women. #MeToo has dragged harassment into the sunlight and taken some of the sting of reporting it out of the workplace. And, in security, the familiar 11 percent figure that has long marked the number of women in the information security workforce has, by some estimates, more than doubled.
But still, there’s work to be done.
To show how far women have come, Tricia Phillips, senior vice president of product and strategy at Kount, recounts a conference call with a bank to discuss security issues while in a previous role. “There were five of us on the call, mostly vice president level, and all five were women,” she says. “That’s progress.”
Indeed, Forrester predicts that women CISOs at Fortune 500 companies will increase their ranks to 20 percent this year – that’s up from 13 percent in 2017 – which tracks with Boardroom Insiders research that finds women hold 20 percent of the Fortune 500 global CIO positions.