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IWD 2024: Championing female talent in cybersecurity & information technology
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

In the male-dominated sectors of technology and cybersecurity, the dialogue around women's underrepresentation is urgent and ongoing. Siroui Mushegian, CIO at Barracuda Networks, offers a deep dive into the root causes of this gap and the measures that can foster a more inclusive environment for women in these industries.

Mushegian points out that the scarcity of women in tech and cybersecurity originates from the longstanding tradition of these fields being predominantly male. However, there's a silver lining as she notes, "the number of women in technology and cybersecurity is growing by the day." This growth is attributed to the increased focus on STEM education and the expanding array of career opportunities within the sector. Mushegian emphasizes the importance of introducing cyber and tech to children of all genders from a young age, suggesting that early exposure can nurture interest and cultivate a diverse talent pool enriched with qualified female leaders.

Mentorship emerges as a cornerstone in Mushegian's narrative, highlighted by her own experiences with mentors who significantly influenced her career trajectory and leadership style. She reminisces about a mentor who exemplified servant leadership and taught her the value of providing "caring, candid, constructive feedback." Another mentor encouraged her to embrace challenges beyond her comfort zone, a practice that Mushegian credits with substantial personal and professional growth. These experiences underline the transformative impact of mentorship on career development, particularly for women navigating their paths in tech and cybersecurity.

For women aiming for executive roles within these fields, Mushegian's advice is clear and empowering: "You can do whatever you put your mind to." She advocates for seizing learning opportunities, seeking mentorship, and embracing responsibilities that offer visibility to executive leadership. Mushegian's counsel is not just about ambition and hard work; it also calls for self-compassion, reminding aspiring leaders that "every day won't be easy" but to remember, "pressure makes diamonds."

As the world celebrates International Women's Day, Mushegian's message to women pursuing careers in technology and cybersecurity is one of excitement and solidarity. She describes the industry as "the most the most pivotal time in history," highlighting the dynamic nature of the field, from developing innovative tools to tackling unprecedented security challenges. Mushegian's parting words are a call to action for women in tech to support each other's journeys, asserting that women "have a place here; we have a voice and a seat at the table."

Mushegian's insights offer a blueprint for closing the gender gap in technology and cybersecurity. Through early exposure to STEM, the power of mentorship, and the courage to step out of one's comfort zone, the path to a more diverse and inclusive tech landscape becomes clearer. Her message is not only a beacon of hope for women in the industry but also a reminder of the collective effort required to foster an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can thrive.