Microsoft pushes for more women in cybersecurity

Microsoft pushes for more women in cybersecurity

May 10, 2023

Gender inequality has plagued many professions in the world, and the cybersecurity workforce is no exception. Historically women were at the forefront of software development, but their numbers started declining in the 1980s till now, with the cybersecurity workforce statistics published in 2021 recording only 25% of women in the workspace. The 25% was believed to be less paid and less promoted when compared with their male counterpart, which could be one of the reasons for women's less participation in cybersecurity.

Kate Behncken, Microsoft corporate vice president, announced their partnership with some renowned women-inclined development groups, intending to close the security skill gap and have more women trained to participate in cybersecurity. She pointed out that the reason cyber threat actors seem to be causing more havoc in the cyber world is because of a low supply of cybersecurity personnel, majorly caused by women's exclusion in the field. She announced Microsoft's partnership with:

1. WOMCY, a nonprofit focused on growing infosec opportunities for women in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean
2. Women4Cyber, a nonprofit working to increase women in cybersecurity jobs in Europe
3. the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, supporting its women in cyber mentorship program with an emphasis on the Middle East, Africa, and Asia
4. WiCyS, a global organisation that seeks to facilitate recruitment, retention, and advancement for women in the field.

The partnership is aimed at creating a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for women, which is achievable if the process is anchored by skilled women trainers.

She revealed that they are equally partnering at the country and local level to grow the number of women in the field and also working with organisations like Kosciuszko Institute in Poland,  a skilling and internship program for women, and more than 20 other nonprofit organisations that are similarly focused on training women learners toward employment opportunities.

Globally, Microsoft has trained more than 400,000 people through a variety of channels, including Microsoft Learn, where people have earned valuable security training certificates, and through LinkedIn Learning courses, including system administration, network security, and more. Microsoft calls for collaborations with governments, private sectors, and educational sectors to mitigate the low participation rate of women in some professions, especially cybersecurity.