Global Event Championed and Celebrated Women in Cybersecurity

April 1, 2024

On Saturday, the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a global Women in Cyber webinar that convened nearly 800 people from 34 countries across the United States, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

This webinar aimed to empower the next generation of women in cyber, demonstrating President Biden’s commitment to expanding access to good jobs for all Americans, specifically increasing the representation of women in cybersecurity. Women make up 49% of the United States workforce but only 26% of those in the cyber workforce. ONCD hosted this webinar to address this need by including speakers, panels, and leadership remarks highlighting stories of women from non-traditional backgrounds contributing to the cyber workforce.

Saturday’s event builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments and results in women’s access to good jobs through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and corresponding executive action:

  1. President Biden signed an Executive Order to scale and diversify Registered Apprenticeship programs. This will benefit women and other underrepresented workers by increasing access to high-quality pathways to good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.
  2. The Department of Commerce (DOC) launched the Million Women in Construction initiative, which calls on chip manufacturers, construction companies, and unions to bring one million women into the construction industry over the next decade, roughly doubling women’s representation.
  3. The Department of Labor (DOL)’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs launched the Mega Construction Project Program, which fosters equal opportunity on designated BIL- and CHIPS-funded construction projects through intensive on-the-ground assistance to remove hiring barriers and promote consideration of a diverse pool of qualified workers, including women.
  4. USAID’s Engendering Industries program advances gender equality around the world through a multi-pronged approach with 41 countries that have collectively drafted, implemented, or enhanced policies to advance gender equality in the workplace, and, with the program’s support, companies have hired or promoted more than 4,500 women since 2020.

The webinar opened with inspiring remarks from leaders across the Biden-Harris Administration, beginning with National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr., and then included the following individuals:

  1. Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology;
  2. Sarah Nur, Associate CIO & CISO, U.S. Department of the Treasury;
  3. Jennifer Bachus, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, U.S. Department of State; and
  4. Jen Easterly, Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

 “We need to build the cyber workforce that will keep our systems, our nations, and our way of life safe. Today, women make up only 24% of the cybersecurity workforce globally. But I know there’s so much more talent and potential among you incredible women and girls,” said National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr.

Women leaders from the Biden-Harris Administration, Federal departments and agencies, academia, the private sector, and non-profit organizations participated in panels throughout the day, offering women and girls a roadmap for entering and advancing in the cyber workforce. The panels allowed participants to learn from the experiences of women role models in cyber, explore global needs and opportunities for cyber careers, listen to peers’ pathways to cyber, and engage in interactive career planning sessions.

“The White House recognizes the importance of supporting young women in their pursuit of cyber careers and making it possible for young women to make their fullest contributions to this field. We hope that today, you’ll gather ideas for paving your way in cyber”, continued Director Coker.

Camille Stewart-Gloster, Deputy National Cyber Director (DNCD) for Technology & Ecosystem Security, moderated the first panel, highlighting role models who are leaders in cybersecurity. Panelists included:

  1. Marcela Escobar-Alava, Chief Information Officer at the Social Security Administration;
  2. Emily Heath, General Partner, Venture Capitalist, and Senior Technology & Cyber Security Executive Board Member;
  3. Vanessa Morales, Executive Director of Latinas in Cyber; and
  4. Aastha Sahni, Founder of BBWIC Foundation and Security Analyst II at Microsoft.

The discussion continued with an expansive look at global opportunities for careers in cyber. Moderated by Leticia Gammill, President and Founder of WOMCY, Latam Women in Cybersecurity, this panel included experts in cyber career development and education who shared information about the global trends in technology and the career opportunities they present for women. Important perspectives on cyber needs in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia were offered by the following panelists:

  1. Lynn Dohm, Executive Director of Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS);
  2. Talya Parker, Founder of the BGiC Foundation; and
  3. Confidence Staveley, Founder and Executive Director of CyberSafe Foundation.

The webinar’s final panel gave students a voice—an opportunity to share career insights with their peers from around the world. Current students in undergraduate, graduate, and career development programs shared how their discovery of cyber changed their career trajectories. The founder and CEO of Girl Security, Lauren Bean Buitta, moderated this conversation, which included the following student panelists:

  1. Kyla Guru, Stanford University student and founder of Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity Foundation;
  2. Amulya Panakam, Program Assistant at Girl Security;
  3. Victoria Robinson, Cyber Defense Analyst at Cybervergent; and
  4. Mercedes Subhani, a law student at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law.

To support career development opportunities for women and all jobseekers to participate in the cyber workforce, the White House Office of the National Cyber Director is pleased to highlight commitments from our partners to encourage more women and girls to enter cybersecurity:

Kyndryl Foundation
Kyndryl Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Kyndryl, announced on March 19, 2024, that it selected 11 non-profit organizations in seven countries, including the United States, to receive its inaugural grants. One category of selected grantees addresses the increased demand for trained cybersecurity professionals by providing skills and placement programs for underrepresented learners and job seekers. The other category of awards supports the grantee’s cyber resiliency through education and consulting. The inaugural grantees include U.S.-based non-profits Girl Security, CodePath, and NPower.

Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS)
WiCyS is a non-profit global community of over 9,000 women and allies in cybersecurity with 68 professional affiliates and 270 student chapters. Through its Security Training Scholarship, WiCyS is able to find hidden cybersecurity talent, upskill, and equip women with training and career placement services. WiCyS commits to accepting over 1,300 applicants into the training program in 2024.

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