International Women's Day 2021: Lynda Grindstaff, McAfee
This is part of a running series for #IWD2021. We sat down with women leaders across the industry for a Q&A to get their insights on the state of women in cybersecurity. Recognize Women Leaders in the 2021 Tech Ascension Awards.
Lynda Grindstaff, VP of Engineering at McAfee:
How has the women workforce in cybersecurity evolved over recent years? Where is it heading?
The women workforce in cybersecurity has evolved in many ways. While we still have an overall skills shortage, we are seeing more women enter and remain in the field. In 2013, Frost and Sullivan published a report that said women make up only 11% of the global cybersecurity workforce. In 2019, (ISC)2 published a report that said women now represent 24% of the workforce. While 24% is still low, it is great to see the results of the work of so many to continue to educate women on the benefits and opportunities of the cybersecurity field. We are also seeing more women move up the ladder and be in positions of power in major cybersecurity companies. I expect the number of women in the workforce will continue to grow and the opportunities will continue to grow.
What advice would you give to young women looking to enter into cybersecurity?
I would tell young women to jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride! The cybersecurity field is full of endless challenges, opportunities, and problems to solve. The adversaries are continually innovating as are the cybersecurity companies. We need smart minds to address the challenges of tomorrow.
How can we get more women in cybersecurity?
We can get more women in cybersecurity by continuing to educate both men and women through STEM programs that this is an excellent field for all. There are still many who think of it as the “hacker in the basement” or because they aren’t a programmer this isn’t a field for them. We need people from all backgrounds and interests to bring their unique talents to help solve these complex problems we are facing and will continue to face in the future as we work to stay ahead of the adversaries.