(ISC)2 hopes to accommodate women at Security Congress

The IT industry has been largely a men's club for decades, and the status quo is probably not likely to experience a dramatic shift in the near future. It hasn't been for lack of discussing the problem, at least in recent years. Across nearly all IT professions, and in many different corners of the world, capturing the interest of women has increasingly become an urgent action item. And though there may not be a gender equity flash point in the immediate future, there certainly seems to be an increasingly widespread determination to get there, one step at a time.


Female executives

The latest organization to step forward is leading IT security industry association (ISC)2, which is in the final stages of preparing for its annual Security Congress convention in Atlanta, Ga., Sep. 29 through Oct. 2. The annual event, which focuses on "current and emerging issues, best practices, and challenges facing cybersecurity leaders," will feature a number of prominent speakers, including former Utah governor and 2012 presidential candidate Jon M. Hunstman Jr., and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Security Congress will also feature more than 80 education sessions, including a special conference track devoted to the topic of Women in Security.


Like a growing number of IT organizations, (ISC)2 has conducted studies about the notable absence of women from IT professions. According to its own recently released report "Agents of Change: Women in the Information Security Profession," only 11 percent of workers in the globabl information secrurity workforce are women. Like all branches of IT, cybersecurity professions are desperately seeking an infusion of new blood, so winning over a portion of the largely untapped pool of potential female IT professionals could make an important difference.


(ISC)2 executive Elise Yacobellis said in a press release announcing the effort to include women in Security Congress that creating a conference track to address the need for female cybersecurity professionals fits well with her group's overall goals. "(ISC)2 has made a concerted effort to raise awareness for the need to bring more women into the information security workforce," Yacobellis said. "Within our organization, we're proud to have female leadership on our Board of Directors, in the C-suite, and at the director level."


The key sessions for the Women in Security track include a seminar, "Leadership and Career Strategies," and a special panel discussion, "Women in Security." The seminar will be presented by Joyce Brocaglia, president and CEO of the executive recruitment firm Alta Associates, and Natalie Runyon, senior director of global security for international news media firm Thomson Reuters.

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