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Raising concerns about a short supply of workers to fight cyberattacks, a new report says that women are a hugely untapped source of technical expertise in the field.
The Women in Cybersecurity Report says that women hold only 11 percent of the cybersecurity jobs worldwide, while more than 200,000 cybersecurity spots are vacant in the United States alone. Moreover, the report says, women are generally more qualified than men in the field.
"The under-representation and under-utilization of female talent is both a critical business issue and a hindrance to the development of world-class cybersecurity organizations and resilient companies, as well as the overall safety and protection of our country," said Joyce Brocaglia, founder of the Executive Women's Forum, which presented the report.
The report, co-sponsored by The Center for Cyber Safety and Education, highlights the workforce gap in cybersecurity. Women represent about 45 percent of the global workforce, but only 11 percent of the cyberforce.
They also make less money than men, according to the report, despite having higher levels of education. More than half of the 19,641 female respondents said they experienced various forms of discrimination in the profession.
"Globally men are four times more likely to hold C- and executive-level positions, and nine times more likely to hold managerial positions than women," the report says.
Tech in the USA
North America, which has the highest regional concentration of cyber jobs in the world, is still part of the problem. Women comprise only 14 percent of the cyberforce in the region.
But there are signs of improvement in America and even in tech town. Forbes recently reported that women hold 41 percent of the tech jobs in Washington, D.C. for the third year in a row.
The San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to major tech companies like Google, Yahoo and others, also reports more opportunities for women, including law jobs. Silicon Valley still labors under a reputation of gender bias, but lawsuits are changing that culture.