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The rise of the cyberwomen: improving gender diversity in one of the fastest-growing fields in tech

Named one of 2018’s top 50 women in UK cyber security, Lisa Hamilton is encouraging other women into one of the fastest-growing fields in tech, dispelling myths as she goes.

Faceless hackers or military men at war – neither stereotype reflects life in cyber security here, and misconceptions like these could be one of the reasons why few women choose it as a career.

Lisa, a director in our London-based Cyber Risk practice, is changing that. Four years ago, she set up our UK Women in Cyber (WiC) initiative to increase gender diversity in the field. Now having also taken it to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), she has the rest of the world in her sights.

With a predicted worldwide deficit of 1.8 million cyber security professionals by 2022, WiC is building a network of committed professionals, across our firm and beyond, that could help bridge this gap.

Its mix of events, research, coaching, mentoring and link-ups with clients and communities are inspiring future talent to join a profession they may not otherwise have considered, boosting women’s representation in the process.

Here, Lisa tells us more about why WiC is so important.

Why did you set up WiC when you joined Deloitte?

"There weren’t enough women in cyber security and I wanted to change that. It’s fantastic to get support from other member firms so we can raise the profile of Deloitte as an inclusive employer. Back when it all started, women accounted for 11 per cent of the industry – it’s now about 24 per cent, so we’re moving in the right direction."

How would you describe WiC?

"I have a fantastic team around me who have helped make WiC what it is today. It’s a close community of people with great skills and drive. Women offer a different perspective and one of our objectives is to develop a pipeline of female talent. We’re involved in programmes that highlight positive role models and engage girls while they’re still in education. We want to get to more schools and connect with even more young people."

Do you have a vision for the future?

"I’d love to see more women role models in senior positions. For WiC, the plan is to go global. We’ve received such a positive response and have had great support from our leadership team, so it feels like the next step."

Would you recommend a cyber career to other women?

"Absolutely, I’d encourage them to take a leap of faith and go for it. We’re not just hackers in hoodies, there’s a lot more to it than that. Perceptions are changing but we need to do more."

“Gender diversity is imperative to the success of the cyber security industry. At Deloitte we want to spark change and address the low representation of women in the cyber security workforce.”

Phill Everson, Lead Cyber partner for Deloitte UK and Global Cyber Talent Partner

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