Code of Conduct


WiCyS Code of Conduct

Who is our Code of Conduct for?

The WiCyS Code of Conduct applies to all events, platforms or WiCyS program attendees, speakers, sponsors, partners, vendors, facilities staff, volunteers, committee members, WiCyS members, and WiCyS board members. Should you have questions, concerns, or doubts about whether an action would be in violation of the WiCyS Code of Conduct, please contact us at [email protected].


WiCyS helps build a strong cybersecurity workforce with gender equality by facilitating recruitment, retention, and advancement for women in the field.

 WiCyS events and initiatives promote opportunities to learn, share knowledge, and network. It is the intention of WiCyS to create a safe, enjoyable, and inclusive space for all people, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, religion, disability, socioeconomic background, experience, size, or shape. WiCyS deems unacceptable and will address all reports of code of conduct violations including but not limited to: harassment, bullying, abuse, retaliation for reporting, alcohol and/or substance use, and unauthorized photo, video, and recording. WiCyS will, when possible, address the behavior directly. This may include immediate specific sanctions, removal from an event, platform or program and prohibition from attending future events, and engagement on platforms or in programs. WiCyS Code of Conduct outlines unacceptable behaviors, reporting options for anyone subjected to or the witness of such behavior, reporting anonymously, the investigation process, and zero tolerance for retaliation. 

Why do we need a Code of Conduct?

Our values of compassion, commitment, and community include racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are against any form of discrimination or exclusion based on race, gender, sexual orientation or identity, ageism, or ableism. If our attempt to be inclusive is excluding you, please let us know. We are continuing to listen and learn.

Unfortunately, unacceptable behavior occurs at cybersecurity events worldwide. When the IN Security Movement surveyed over 2,000 women in 2018, they found that one in four women experienced sexual harassment and over 40% were on the receiving end of inappropriate behavior. Reportedly, this has further increased dissatisfaction amongst women as many feel disenfranchised and threatened.  It has also resulted in event non-attendance.

How WiCyS Defines Acceptable and Unacceptable Behavior

People’s interpretation of acceptable or unacceptable behavior is subjective and influenced by personal experience, religion, and cultural background. That is why we believe it is important to define what we mean by both.

So please do read the Code and follow it in spirit and letter, always bearing in mind that each of us has a personal responsibility to incorporate, and to encourage others to incorporate, the principles of the Code and our values into our work. And if you have a question or ever think that one of your fellow community members may be falling short of our commitment, don’t be silent. We want – and need – to hear from you.

Acceptable Behavior

At WiCyS, we expect everyone to be professional and respectful to others at all times. We are all responsible for our own actions. Everyone should be aware of the impact their behavior can have on others. We ask that you:

  • Respect the venue, the staff, and any equipment you may be allowed to use.
  • Respect each other and our environment. 
  • Care for yourself and others around you.
  • Be courteous and well-mannered when speaking to someone or engaging with them.
  • Listen & pay attention to others.
  • Respect someone’s personal space and body – when someone says no it is no, not maybe.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior is offensive in nature and can be either online or offline – it disturbs, upsets, or threatens. It lowers self-esteem or causes overwhelming torment. It is characteristically and can take the following forms (including but not limited to):  

  • Derogatory, inflammatory, or discriminatory language, comments, or conduct.
  • No use of profanity, offensive language or name-calling.
  • Engineered episodes of intimidation, aggressive actions, or repeated gestures.
  • Repetitive heckling and disruption of talks.
  • Presenting staff or volunteers in inappropriate attire (e.g., sexualized clothing).
  • Referencing or using any sexual objects (digital or physical) in public spaces
  • Inappropriate photography or recordings (where inappropriate or is defined as used later in a sexual, derogatory, defamatory manner, or for exploitation).
  • Stalking or following.
  • Persistent and unwanted sexual advances.
  • Unwanted physical contact.
  • Any action that makes someone feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or afraid.
  • Encouraging others to engage in any of the above behaviors.
  • Retaliation for reporting unacceptable behavior.

Alcohol and Other Substances

The following substance-related conduct is also prohibited:

  • Excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol;
  • Possession, sale, or use of marijuana, any marijuana derivative, or any other illicit or controlled substances other than under the prescription and supervision of a licensed physician (WiCyS prohibits the use of marijuana and derivative products at its events, even when validly prescribed by a licensed state authority. WiCyS may require documentary proof of other prescriptions.);
  • Providing or participating in the service of alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations; and
  • Smoking, except in designated areas.

WiCyS contracted venue providers reserve the right to further prohibit the use or possession of drugs (legal, prescription, or other), tobacco, or other substances on their property, per the terms of the rental contract.

Photo, Video, and Recording Policy

Ensure you have the permission from anyone you photograph or record. This includes those in the background of your shot. “Crowd shots” from the front (facing the crowd) are not allowed.

If you’ve accidentally taken a picture without permission, delete it. If you are asked by a participant to delete/blur a picture they did not give you permission to take, please do so immediately.

Upon a first infraction, you will receive one warning from WiCyS staff. Upon a second infraction you will be asked to give up your device to WiCyS staff for the duration of the event or to leave the event with your device, your choice. You may return to the event once you have deposited your device in a secure location, offsite.

How to Report Unacceptable Behavior

Anyone can report unacceptable behavior. 

Option 1: If you feel unsafe, speak up. See it, say it, sort it.

If you are subjected to disrespect, or witness to said unacceptable behavior, engage politely with the person involved, if you feel able to, and let them know that you find their behavior unacceptable and offensive. Sometimes the best way to change unacceptable behavior is by bringing it to the perpetrator’s attention and giving them an opportunity to acknowledge this and apologize.

Option 2: Report it to WiCyS staff via any of the following ways:

  • Inform a member of our staff.
  • Email us at [email protected].
  • If at an event, complete our event feedback form (this can be done anonymously), which will be sent out to all attendees after the event concludes.

When reporting, please provide as much detail as possible, preferably:

  • Your name and contact details (email, cell/mobile phone, and address).
  • The time it occurred.
  • The place it occurred.
  • The names and contact details of any witnesses.
  • The outcome you are expecting (e.g., letter of apology, steps taken to prevent a similar instance from occurring, etc.)

Reporting Anonymously

Note: you can remain anonymous if you so wish and providing any of the above information is optional.  Anyone can report harassment. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please report the situation to us as indicated above.  We don’t have a time limit for reporting unacceptable behavior, although we encourage you to do it as quickly as possible, as it can be difficult to obtain accurate witness statements the longer time passes. If you report unacceptable behavior more than 3-months after an incident, you should explain why as it may impact the ability to respond accordingly. We will consider your explanation and then endeavor to deal with your report.

Investigation Process For How we Handle Unacceptable Behavior

We are committed to ensuring that you experience a positive, enjoyable and inclusive experience. We strive for customer service excellence when reporting unacceptable behavior. That is why, for the duration of any in-person  event, we will have a number of reporting mechanisms available (e.g., suitable informed event staff, event feedback forms, etc.). When you report unacceptable behavior to [email protected], WiCyS will respond promptly and with care, consideration, and respect. Our process does not replace nor remove the formal mechanisms available to you as an individual to report inappropriate or offensive behavior such as making a police report. Our process is as follows:

  • We will acknowledge your report and reply via email (if an email was sent) as soon as is practical.
  • We will perform a thorough investigation starting immediately. We will not comment on your experience or perception of it. We will keep it wholly professional and confidential. We will treat all of the people involved fairly and objectively, irrespective of what our relationship with them is.
  • We will apply the appropriate sanctions / remediation (e.g., warnings, direction to learning resources on the topic of harassment, bullying or anti-social behavior, temporary or permanent suspensions, and if necessary, reporting them to the police). We will take into consideration your wishes in any enforcement.
  • We will suggest measures we can take to ensure incidents of this nature do not recur at future events, programs or on platforms..
  • We reserve the right to remove people from the event/platform or prevent people from joining.
  • We will not name and shame individuals, but we will analyze our progress with regards to unacceptable behavior and publish our findings annually on our website.


WiCyS thanks Jane Frankland, the IN Security Movement, and its supporters for the development of the IN Security Code of Conduct, which this WiCyS Code of Conduct is based on.