Microsoft pushes for more women in cybersecurity

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Microsoft has collaborated pinch organizations astir nan globe to bring much women into infosec roles, though nan devil is successful nan details.

The move intends to thief adjacent nan security skills gap, arsenic nan request for group to take sides against cyberattacks continues to outpace nan proviso of trained professionals. And it besides addresses nan industry's deficiency of inclusion, particularly erstwhile it comes to hiring women, according to Microsoft Corporate VP Kate Behncken. 

"We must create much inclusive and supportive learning environments, and we spot greater occurrence successful building assurance and soft skills among women pinch cohorts that are mostly women," Behncken said successful a blog station announcing nan caller partnerships.

Specifically, nan caller Redmond partners include:

  • WOMCY, a nonprofit focused connected increasing infosec opportunities for women successful nan US, Latin America and nan Caribbean.
  • Women4Cyber, a nonprofit moving to summation women successful cybersecurity jobs successful Europe.
  • The UN's International Telecommunications Union, supporting its Women successful Cyber Mentorship Program pinch an accent connected nan Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
  • WiCyS, a world statement that seeks to facilitate recruitment, retention and advancement for women successful nan field.

Additionally, Microsoft says it's partnering astatine nan state and section level pinch organizations for illustration nan Kosciuszko Institute successful Poland, which offers a skills and internship programme for women, including Ukrainian refugees. The tech elephantine counts this, and "more than 20" different likewise focused nonprofit organizations among its partners, according to Behncken.

Whether these efforts will activity to put a dent successful nan gender inequality that, arsenic we've pointed retired before, has agelong plagued nan manufacture remains to beryllium seen. We sincerely dream it's much than slick trading efforts coming retired of Redmond, but only clip will tell. 

"When I sued Microsoft for gender favoritism successful salary and promotions, it was because women are historically hired astatine little levels and salaries than men and are promoted astatine a overmuch slower rate," Luta Security laminitis and CEO Katie Moussouris told The Register.

"Our careers languish contempt amended education, experience, and capacity compared to our antheral peers. This is still existent crossed each industry."

Moussouris ended her suit aft failing to get people action position for nan suit.

That said

Historically women were astatine nan forefront of package development, but since nan 1980s astatine slightest information has declined sharply.

The manufacture remains mostly an all-boys club, pinch women making up conscionable a 4th of nan cybersecurity workforce arsenic of 2021, and those who are successful nan 25 percent get paid and promoted less, and time off nan workforce faster than their antheral counterparts. 

(ISC)2's 2022 cybersecurity workforce investigation recovered these numbers are somewhat amended among nan under-30 crowd, wherever women relationship for 30 percent of nan workforce [PDF]. 

But sadly that number drops to 24 percent betwixt nan ages of 30 and 38, past down to 13 percent among 39 to 49-year-olds, 12 percent for 50 to 59-year-olds, and 14 percent for nan over-60s.  

  • CISA joins forces pinch Women successful CyberSecurity to break up nan boy's club
  • Where are nan women successful cyber security? On nan acheronian side, study suggests
  • Google looking extracurricular nan accustomed channels to hole information skills gap
  • Infosec still (mostly) a boys club

Simply hiring much women successful infosec roles — aliases into immoderate fixed manufacture — isn't sufficient, Moussouris said. "That won't lick nan problems of economical injustice. Until we promise salary transparency and progressive correction of salary and promotion inequity, each nan women joining nan workforce will only proceed to stagnate and suffer and struggle."

Moussouris called connected organizations to return nan Pay Equity Now Pledge, and perpetrate to audit for and correct salary and promotion inequity. Additionally, companies tin support Penn State Law School's Manglona Lab, named aft Moussouris' precocious mother, which, among different things, does gender equality ineligible work, she added.

"The gender salary spread isn't projected to adjacent successful our lifetimes, pinch women of colour projected to scope salary parity pinch achromatic men successful complete 200 years," Moussouris said. "We cannot spend to wait. Little girls calved coming will not spot economical justness until we determine arsenic a nine to enforce it."

At Microsoft — 1 of nan largest information vendors globally — women comprised 30.7 percent [PDF] of its halfway workforce worldwide astatine nan extremity of 2022. Redmond's yearly Diversity and Inclusion study didn't specify really that breaks down circumstantial to Microsoft's information biz. We've requested that info, and will update this article erstwhile and if we perceive back.

We'll besides beryllium keeping an oculus connected really this year's layoffs impact its D&I breakdown.

Admittedly, Microsoft is beating nan manufacture mean erstwhile it comes to hiring and retaining women. But arsenic a tech leader, we'd expect it to lead by example, and it's still sewage a ways to spell earlier its worker guidelines — and infosec squad — looks for illustration nan larger organization it serves. ®