This year’s Women’s History Month is here and, once again, the Making Space initiative is spotlighting women in cybersecurity who have been nominated by our coalition partners. Given the rise of local, national and global threat actors, it is important to highlight the contributions that women make in defending organizations and the nation against daily cyber-attacks.

According to TechJury, in 2022, the average cost of data breaches was estimated to be over $3.80 trillion. Given such costly risks and rising insurance premiums, it is imperative that the cyber workforce has the skilled, diverse talent needed to guard against cyber threats. Women have contributed significantly to the cybersecurity industry, and we should take the time to spotlight some of them.

For the 2023 campaign series, we asked each nominee, “Why do we need more women in cybersecurity?” Below are the Women in Cybersecurity You Need to Know this year along with their responses.

  1. Aderonke Adeniji, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. House of Representatives

“The value that women bring to the cybersecurity field is immeasurable. Our perspective on problem-solving helps to provide an organization with holistic solutions that not only solve technical challenges but also bring a human element to the table.”

  1. Amena Jamali, Conference Co-Lead and Author, Cyberjutsu

“Women have a protective instinct that propels them to take responsibility and to truly care about the security of the assets and data under their protection—as well as the people whose lives are linked to those assets and data. That protective instinct, that drive to go above and beyond, renders women the cyber guardians we need most.”

  1. Cathy Hubbs, Chief Information Security Officer, American University

“Moving to a diverse cybersecurity workforce increases broader thinking as different perspectives are represented. Studies have shown this leads to creative and more effective solutions. When I see a conference marketing with all males pictured versus one that features a number of women, I am more interested in attending the latter. A diverse cybersecurity force passionately contributing and succeeding is the formula we need for future growth.”

  1. Celeste Chamberlain, PhD, Cybersecurity Governance, Risk and Compliance SME, SAP

“At its core cybersecurity is about protecting data and access to data; this impacts EVERYONE! A problem that affects a diverse population deserves a diverse perspective on the solution.”

  1. Delisha Hodo, Assistant Director of Advising and Chair, SANS Technology Institute and SANS HBCU

“It is critical for the future of cybersecurity to include women. I believe that young girls and women deserve to see themselves and witness those who look like them be celebrated. A diversity of thought, experience and skills are needed to push cybersecurity forward and it all starts with investing, supporting and uplifting women.”

“We need more women in cybersecurity because cybersecurity is everyone’s business—it affects every person and every organization. Consequently, to improve cybersecurity as a whole, the workforce needs to represent society as a whole.”

  1. Leisel Bogan, Director of Senate Modernization Project, Tech Congress

“Complex problems, like those found in cybersecurity, often require creative and innovative solutions to manage and address them, and yet many cybersecurity teams are fairly uniform. Research suggests that diversity in teams enhances creativity and innovation, and so we need more women (and others who have different perspectives) to cybersecurity teams to make better decisions, design better systems and find innovative solutions to challenges in the field.”

  1. Lynn Dohm, Executive Director, WiCys

“To solve challenges that have never previously existed, we need to bring a variety of perspectives to the table. Teams that are inclusive and well-rounded—composed of different genders, races, identities, cultures and backgrounds—break up the group mindset. And for WiCyS, bringing women to the table is what we do best!”

  1. Manju Mude, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, Oportun

“The demand for cybersecurity talent is ever increasing in a complex interconnected world. Having a diversity of talent with women and underrepresented groups being a large part of the talent equation, helps lessen the gap, and helps businesses think broader about threats, risks and business resilience. Overall, women in security is just smart for business.”

  1. Mansi Thakar, Senior Information Security Analyst and Director, VMware & PlayCyber Global League

“Why do we need more women in cybersecurity? In a world where cyber threats are on the rise, we need more women in cybersecurity to level up our defense game. Let’s break down the digital divide and connect women from around the world to create an unbreakable firewall against cyber-attacks.”

  1. Monica Ruiz, Program Manager, Senior Government Affairs Manager, Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft

“Cybersecurity is better served by broad gender representation given that it would lead to building policies and technical solutions that secure systems and effectively serve people. Moreover, a representative cybersecurity field allows us to harness the collective intellect and experiences of the entire population, helping us better determine how technology will move through society and identify ways to protect it.”

  1. Tennisha Martin, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Black Girls Hack

“We need more women in cybersecurity because women bring a diversity of thought, of approaches to problem-solving, and a different perspective to the field. More women are needed in cybersecurity because cybersecurity has a diversity problem and it’s going to need to become a more welcoming space to make room for a more equitable industry.”

  1. Tracy Maleeff, Principal, Sherpa Intelligence LLC

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women comprise 50.5 percent of the population but yet in Cybersecurity women only number around 25 percent. As consumers of security, women have unique needs as well as insights to provide therefore more women in Cybersecurity will help improve the industry for everyone.”

The other women in cybersecurity nominees include:

  1. Juliet U. Okafor, JD, Co-Manager and STMIC “Careers in Cyber,” Revolutionary Cyber and #SharetheMicinCyber
  1. Katya Sedova, Senior Analytical Coordinator, United States Department of State
  1. Kylie Wright Ford, Chief Executive Officer, RSA Conference

Thank you to all of the amazing women in cybersecurity who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to keep organizations and their data, safe and secure.


Written by

Jumoke Dada

Project Manager, Making Space Initiative

R Street Institute

Read Origional Blog Post HERE