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IWD 2024: Cybersecurity leaders urge for gender diversity across the sector
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

In light of the upcoming International Women's Day, comments from key figures in the cybersecurity industry highlight the imperative for increased diversity and gender parity. Charly Davis, CCO at Sapphire and Nina Gouas, EMEA Channel Sales Director at Claroty, share their insights and experiences on the role of women in cybersecurity.

Charly Davis of Sapphire believes that the cybersecurity industry is leading the way with its recruitment of neurodiverse, female and multicultural talent, asserting that, "more than any other profession I know it recognises the intrinsic value of diversity to the effectiveness of the business." However, she acknowledges that much remains to be done in terms of equity and fostering diversity. Such efforts involve providing accessible entry points and career pathways as well as flexibility for those with caring responsibilities.

Having herself followed an indirect path through university while raising her daughter as a single parent, Davis expresses pride in her career progression in sales and cybersecurity. These sectors offered her opportunities without the usual career barriers present in high-earning roles. Her role as CCO at Sapphire heavily involves ensuring people are seen, included and empowered to pursue their preferred career choices. She adds, "Women, and in particular women from minority backgrounds deserve to have their circumstances understood and in turn be afforded the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome to their male counterparts."

Frequently speaking to younger generations, Davis notes a positive shift towards greater understanding and enthusiasm for cybersecurity as a career path. However, she warns against complacency, observing that while improvements are being made in the traditionally male-dominated industry, there is still a long way to go. "It is important for all of us within the sector to play our part in this and help to lift women up in a bid to boost their successes," she says.

On a similar note, Nina Gouas of Claroty speaks passionately about the need to empower women in the cybersecurity community. With vast experience meeting talented women climbing the career ladder, Gouas sees the role of mentorship as crucial. As an international channel and alliances director at Claroty, she has engaged in several organisations promoting women in IT, participated in working groups and mentoring programs, and served on an executive committee board advocating for gender parity in cybersecurity.

Despite these strides, Gouas understands that joining the IT industry as a woman still comes with significant challenges. She shares, "Given the barriers to entry that still exist, I’ve had to conduct extensive networking and work much harder than others to convince people that I had the skills and knowledge to add value to the business and the wider cyber industry."

From her experience, she acknowledges the lack of female role models in the industry as a deterrent for women to join. However, she encourages women interested in the field to persist, stating, "Women can create their own limits if they believe in themselves."