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IWD 2022: Security Centric Queen Aigbefo on breaking the bias

Tue, 8th Mar 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The #ChoosetoChallenge theme from last year's International Women's Day sparked a remarkable change and saw more diversity in the IT and security industry.

Thinking about the 2022 International Women's Day, #BreakTheBias applies to everyone. We all need to ask ourselves: What are the biases that frame my everyday interactions with friends, colleagues, and those around me?

A sincere answer to this question will reshape our approaches towards attracting more women and talent into the IT and security industry.

The government can play a vital role in #BreakTheBias by encouraging more females to study STEM discipline very early. There have been some initiatives in this area; however, these often target high school, college, and undergraduate students. Many students have already decided on a non-STEM career path at this stage.

At an interview for a non-technical role, I asked the interviewer what the ratio of female to male was for the advertised position. All the applicants were females. Due to my bias, I may be drawn to non-technical roles to work with fellow females because I generally lean favourably towards my biases. #BreakTheBias must come from within us.

The Australia Women in Security Network (AWSN) is a wonderful initiative bringing together a network of women interested and working in security to support each other. Seeing other women in these IT and security roles from junior to Board level, I now have role models and mentors to look up to for support within the ASWN.

Mentoring initiatives and workshops to share experiences will help #BreakTheBias and encourage more women interested in IT and security to step into the industry.

For students interested in a career in technology, I would say it is a broad field, and all is welcome. Connect with people on LinkedIn who work in the areas you aspire to work.

Find free seminars and workshops to gain a diverse perspective on the tech roles. Take the leap, and you will learn to fly.

I have had the chance to work with great minds who teach and mentor me in my IT and security career so far. The security community has been kind to me, and being part of the AWSN has been an added blessing.

It is appalling to see that in 2022 the gender pay gap is still very much visible. This is not an easy nut to crack. Still, when we step outside our individual and collective biases as an industry, perhaps we can start to close the gender pay gap.

Article by Security Centric cyber security analyst, Queen Aigbefo.

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