Breaking the Code: How Women are Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity

Image of a black woman with long curly hair in a white shirt sits at a computer with graphics of locks to signify cybersecurity

In the digital age, cybersecurity stands as a critical frontier in the defense against cyber threats and attacks that can cripple infrastructures, extract sensitive information, and undermine the security of nations and corporations alike.

Historically, the field of cybersecurity has seen a considerable gender gap, with women being significantly underrepresented in both educational pathways and professional roles within this sector.

However, there has been a noteworthy shift as the importance of diversity is being recognized, leading to a deliberate focus on increasing the influence and presence of women in cybersecurity.

This transition not only highlights the contributions of women in shaping the future of cybersecurity but also emphasizes the enhanced outcomes that diverse perspectives bring to tackling complex cyber challenges.

Women in cybersecurity and their contributions

Several pioneering women have made significant impacts in the cybersecurity field through their work, innovations, and leadership. Here are profiles of a few such remarkable individuals:

Dr. Rebecca Wynn

Described as a “Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Visionary and Strategist,” Dr. Wynn has a rich history of contributions in the field.

With roles including Global CISO and Chief Privacy Officer, her expertise has greatly influenced cybersecurity strategies and privacy policies.

Nicole Eagan

As the former CEO and current Chief Strategy Officer & AI Officer of Darktrace, Nicole Eagan has played a pivotal role in leading the security firm’s AI-enhanced strategies, making substantial contributions to the use of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.

Her visionary leadership has not only propelled the company to new heights but also set a precedent for innovation in the industry.

Jaya Baloo

The CISO at Rapid7, Jaya Baloo is celebrated for her brilliant mind and her ability to tackle highly complex cybersecurity challenges with enthusiasm and skill.

Her leadership and innovative approaches have garnered respect industry-wide and a significant online following.

Sri Subramanian

As the former Senior Director of Product Management at Netskope, Sri Subramanian has been instrumental in the development of groundbreaking cybersecurity products, including a secure co-processor for Intel motherboards and the first set of products on Oracle Cloud.

Her innovative strategies and keen insight into the cybersecurity landscape have significantly contributed to advancing the field’s technology and solutions.

Kirsten Davies

With a global experience working on four continents, Kirsten Davies leveraged her extensive information security experience at The Estee Lauder Companies, enhancing their cybersecurity posture. Since then she has become Chief Information Security Officer for Unilever.

Her efforts have not only fortified the company’s defenses, but have also served as a benchmark for industry-best practices in cybersecurity.

Lauren Heyndrickx

The VP & CISO at Ralph Lauren, Lauren Heyndrickx is known for her persistence in solving complex IT security challenges, bringing over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity to the fashion industry.

Her innovative approaches have significantly elevated the security posture of Ralph Lauren, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions with the unique needs of the fashion sector.

The state of women in cybersecurity

Women in the cybersecurity workforce

According to recent reports by, women constitute 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce, a notable increase from previous years yet still far from gender parity.

This representation underscores the growing recognition of the value that diversity brings to the field but also highlights the significant work that remains to be done in achieving equal representation.

The gender gap in cybersecurity

Historically, the gender gap in cybersecurity can be attributed to long-standing stereotypes and societal norms that dissuaded women from pursuing education and careers in STEM fields, of which cybersecurity is a part.

Additionally, the lack of female role models and mentors in the sector has made it difficult for women to envision a career path in cybersecurity.

Despite the hurdles, recent trends have shown a positive trajectory with an increasing number of women participating in cybersecurity roles and leadership positions.

Initiatives aimed at empowering women through education, networking, and mentorship programs in cybersecurity are gaining momentum, further amplifying their impact in the field and are belived to increase the percentage of women in the cybersecurity workforce to 35% by 2031.

Initiatives and programs supporting women in cybersecurity

WiCyS (Women in CyberSecurity)

This global nonprofit membership organization is committed to connecting women in cybersecurity, enabling them to exchange experiences, gain knowledge, and benefit from mentoring and networking opportunities.

The organization facilitates learning and career development for women at all stages of their cybersecurity careers and offers a pipeline for employers to access qualified job candidates; it hosts an annual conference and structures membership fees to accommodate students, faculty, government or nonprofit employees, and industry members.

Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC)

Based in the USA, the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women in cybersecurity.

Through a variety of initiatives such as workshops, networking events, job boards, and certification preparation study groups, WSC is committed to providing women with the resources and support necessary to excel in the cybersecurity field.

SANS Women’s Immersion Academy

Part of the SANS Institute, this academy offers an accelerated, intensive training program designed exclusively for women.

It aims to help women quickly launch careers in cybersecurity, addressing the skills gap in the industry.

How women are shaping the future of cybersecurity

Leadership and innovation

Leaders like the global CISO for Unilever have led foundational restructuring of cybersecurity capabilities, prioritizing diversity and inclusion​​.

Similarly, as Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft’s Worldwide Defense & Intelligence division, Kate Maxwell leverages cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high-performance computing to deliver digital transformation to the international defense allied community​​.

AI and ethical hacking

AI integration in ethical hacking enhances cybersecurity practices with automated tools like FireCompass.

These tools use advanced AI for vulnerability detection, pattern recognition, and coding to push the limits of cybersecurity automation.

Women are leading the charge in AI integration and ethical hacking, contributing significantly to the development of these innovative solutions.

Policy and framework shaping

Women are also pivotal in shaping policies and frameworks that guide the development and implementation of secure and ethical digital technologies.

Their roles involve advocating for responsible AI use, pushing for the modernization of IT policies, and leading digital transformation efforts that prioritize security and ethical considerations​​.

This influence extends to setting standards for AI usage in cybersecurity, emphasizing transparency, accountability, and ethical AI deployment to ensure technologies benefit society as a whole​​.

Actionable steps to support women in cybersecurity

Create inclusive hiring practices

To further bridge the gender gap in cybersecurity, organizations need to implement inclusive hiring practices that actively remove biases and barriers that women face.

This can involve creating gender-neutral job descriptions and ensuring diverse hiring panels.

Support mentorship programs

Mentorship programs play a crucial role in empowering women to further their careers in cybersecurity by providing them with guidance, insight, and inspiration from experienced professionals.

These programs help blaze a trail for the next generation of female cybersecurity leaders, fostering a supportive and growth-oriented community.

Foster a supportive workplace culture

Cultivating a workplace environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential in retaining talent and encouraging women to pursue long-term careers in cybersecurity.

Initiatives like flexible working hours, parental leave, and equal pay can make a significant difference in achieving this goal.

The future of women in cybersecurity

The article highlights the significant strides made towards closing the gender gap in cybersecurity, showcasing an uptrend in women’s participation and leadership within the field.

Initiatives like WiCyS, WSC, and the SANS Women’s Immersion Academy play a pivotal role in empowering women through education, mentorship, and networking opportunities, driving positive change and innovation.

Female leaders are not only redefining the landscape of cybersecurity with their contributions to AI, ethical hacking, and policy shaping but are also pushing for a more diverse and inclusive industry.

It underscores the critical need to continue dismantling barriers and fostering a supportive culture that celebrates diversity, ensuring a more secure and equitable digital future for all.

Looking to hire top-tier Tech, Digital Marketing, or Creative Talent? We can help.

Every year, Mondo helps to fill over 2,000 open positions nationwide.

More Reading…

Related Posts

Never Miss an Insight

Subscribe to Our Blog

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Unique Approach to
Staffing that Works

Redefining the way clients find talent and candidates find work. 

We are technologists with the nuanced expertise to do tech, digital marketing, & creative staffing differently. We ignite our passion through our focus on our people and process. Which is the foundation of our collaborative approach that drives meaningful impact in the shortest amount of time.

Staffing tomorrow’s talent today.