Wednesday, August 9, 2017

We have a date with equality and diversity

Study of the week

"Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and creating good governance." The appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, is related to one of the demands that are most often heard in the technology sector and related: the introduction of the gender perspective, not as a concession of the masculine role to feminine, but as a true equalization of functions.

In our review of the most important study of the week, we can not ignore today the survey conducted and published by the veteran of cybersecurity Caroline Wong, vice president of security strategy at Cobalt and whose curriculum accumulates laurels: Cigital, Symantec, eBay And Zynga. With the title Women in cybersecurity: a progressive movement, Wong has tried to cover two challenges: to make society aware that the presence of women in the sector is much more real than most of the people think, and also to draw attention to the contribution of women in the field of security.

The author began the study on the basis of all the "bad news" she was accustomed to hear about women: under-represented, under-paid and with a stagnation of several years in terms of occupation, which remains at 11% of the total industry. "These depressing stats [about the number of women in security] are very important to show, but the other side of the story is not coming to light" Wong says. "I've met and interacted with tons of women who are thriving in their careers and making a real difference in the world" he adds.

Wong proposes that the inclusion of women is not so much a question of balanced gender distribution, but of the equation of diversity, where women are an indissoluble part. Take this: It is not only more than half of respondents in the industry have remained for more than 5 years, but more than a third have done so for more than 10 years . That is, the entrance barrier is greater, but when they access, they do so to stay.

And what motivates women the most (let's see if the message reaches everyone)? First of all, with almost three-quarters of the answers collected, it is to solve complex problems, followed very closely, with two out of three responses, with the fact that this is a constantly growing field with many opportunities. For half of them, the most exciting thing is the contact with the new technology as well as the future innovation, and for 3 out of 10 what attracts them most are the legal and regulatory aspects. Answers that if we were not told, we would have attributed a male face, right?

Wong's report contains added material such as the interview with Michelle Valdez, senior director of enterprise cyber resilience at Capital One, who leaves some jewelry like this: "So many people naturally go to the threat, think about the threat, want to stop the threat. It's sexy and adrenaline driven. I'm the kind of person that takes a different approach. I prefer to look at a problem — what do we want to prevent, and what is the outcome we want. I work backwards from there."

Eleventh World Bank President Robert Zoellick said, "equality is not just the right thing to do. It's also a smart economy: how can an economy reach its full potential if it ignores, sidelines or fails to invest in Half of its population?" In case he's right, perhaps we should take note of Robert. And Michelle. And Caroline. And millions of men and women who do not understand that there may be differences due to being born with one or other physical attributes.


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