“It’s a security risk not to have the diverse perspective that women bring to the table,” says WiCyS’s executive director.


By: Amanda Florian and Billy Hurley, IT Brew


Move over, boys. Here to help women hack the glass ceiling is Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), a nonprofit that aims to support women from all walks of life as they pursue careers in cybersecurity.

Last year’s conference hosted by WiCyS (pronounced wee-sis) brought together almost 2,000 attendees, with 19 countries represented.

“The energy is just extremely different than what I’ve ever experienced anywhere else because it’s this heightened level of fulfillment being there,” Lynn Dohm, the executive director of WiCyS told IT Brew.

The org’s efforts—including opportunities to learn new skills, receive training, and network—aim to address an absence in the tech sector.

A 2024 State of the Tech Workforce study from the industry association CompTIA found that women represented approximately 49% of the US workforce, but only 29% of tech occupations. “This gap signals underrepresentation in the tech workforce,” the report, released in April, read.

“As executive director, my role is to provide more accessibility and opportunities for women not only to get into cybersecurity, but advance into their careers because of it,” Dohm told IT Brew.

The WiCyS leader spoke with IT Brew about how the group provides those opportunities and a welcoming energy for cybersecurity newcomers.


Based on your conversations with women, what factors do you think prevent many women from entering the security IT field?

One: it’s hard to be what you cannot see. And, two: the lack of inclusion. Those are the things that come up time and time again. Is this for me?…Is this a welcoming space? What am I up against? And that’s why we work very hard [to break] those cycles.


So if I was a young person, not in cybersecurity, and I find out about your group for the first time, what’s your pitch about how this group can help me get going in this field?

We’re here for individuals to explore what cybersecurity would [look like] for them… It’s a security risk not to have the diverse perspective that women bring to the table when you have so many studies that show that systemic errors are made by groups that all have the same mindset. The groupthink mindset provides the illusion of invulnerability because [there are] no diverse opinions to make you feel otherwise. Employers being extremely intentional and building up their teams with a diverse perspective that not only all genders, ethnicities, cultures, experiences, abilities, and more is really crucial.


Do you have a favorite example of how the nonprofit has helped someone?

The security-training scholarship is a prime example where we’re intentionally looking for the hidden talent. Cybersecurity has done a great job in making cybersecurity careers very scary and complicated and likely unattainable to many. And so when we’re looking at the need for our community: It’s creating more accessibility to the options of cybersecurity and for people to actually see themselves in cyber.

A common misconception is “Oh, cyber’s not for me, I’m not technical enough,” but when we create accessibility, we’re looking for opportunities for physical therapists, for those in health sciences, for hairdressers, for stay-at-home moms who can say, “Oh, wow, because of the inclusive space that WiCyS has provided, I feel really comfortable testing the waters.”



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