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Women4Cyber, a foundation for the inclusion of women in cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become a sector of paramount importance to strengthen our economic and digital sovereignty strategy. In recent years, many initiatives have been launched to boost the ecosystem and increase our competitiveness. However, as in many strategic sectors, the underrepresentation of women—with only 30% of employees in the digital sector, all sectors combined—needs to be addressed. A new generation of women must now emerge to take up the positions of tomorrow: this is the raison d’être of the Women4Cyber fondation.

Women4Cyber France

Women4Cyber France is an association that represents the European Foundation Women4Cyber, based in Brussels.

Created in 2021, the association has two objectives:
- to promote women in the cyber world
- to promote cyber to women.

The cyber environment is currently too exclusive for men, which is a problem for our skills and is detrimental to our economy and our sovereignty.
Faced with the shortage of talent in this field of the future, Women4Cyber France wants to bring together all the women and men involved in the challenge of cyber skills and create a network in the heart of the territories.
Women4Cyber wishes to contribute to the collective effort by raising awareness and communicating on the cyber professions.

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Let’s be clear: women have always been notable pioneers in the history of digital progress. For instance, Ada Lovelace, who created the first computer program in history in 1843. Or Grace Hopper, who in 1952 imagined the notion of the “compiler” and developed the first computer model. Despite this major weight in history, women have never been sufficiently represented in the digital sector, and the gap has continued to widen to the benefit of male staff.

We are therefore responding to this growing need by encouraging all women who would like to get involved in the cyber sector. The Women4Cyber association—with its board of directors representing a wide range of profiles and professions in the cybersecurity sector—is convinced that the inclusion of women will eventually strengthen the teams of experts. These women will increase the pool of skills and the relevance of our cyber solutions, which will ultimately lead to the growth of French companies.

In this regard, we intend to develop direct partnerships with digital companies to support them in developing an effective inclusion strategy. Women4Cyber also intends to organise events, release an annual book listing the ‘100 women to watch’ in the cyber field, and become a real token of value by setting up an award for companies that have made real efforts in the field of inclusion.

A real paradigm shift must take place. According to a survey conducted in 2021 by Ipsos and the computer science school Epitech—which analyses the career choices of young people according to their gender—parental stereotypes keep girls away from digital professions. Indeed, in France, where parents are the main decision-makers in terms of career guidance, only 33% of girls are encouraged by their parents to go into the digital professions, compared to 61% of boys. The same survey shows that 37% of female high school students plan to go to a computer science or engineering school, compared to 66% of boys. Yet, 56% of female high school students are interested in computer science and digital technology! Women4Cyber intends to fight against this phenomenon and to work with public decision-makers to improve the career guidance process for young girls throughout their school career so that they understand that this environment is open to them and that there are a number of different professions in which they can shine and flourish!

Finally, after having helped women gain access to the cybersecurity environment, we believe it is essential to help them to continue to develop and sustain themselves in these sometimes highly competitive fields. To this end, Women4Cyber will highlight role models and implement its mentoring programme. Women must now drive new dynamics: cybersecurity will either be inclusive or will not be!

 

Signatories of the Opinion Column:

Valéria Faure-Muntian, President of Women4Cyber France

Charlotte Graire, General Secretary of Women4Cyber France

Anne-Laure De La Rivière, Treasurer of Women4Cyber France

Anne-Pierre Guignard, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Justine Ruault, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Joel Courtois, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Virginie Cadieu, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Catherine Teinturier, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Severine Meunier, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Fatiha Zeghoudi, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Hermance Baudry, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Anne Le Hénanff, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Anne Doré, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Kate Pardigon, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

Léna Morozova-Friha, Member of the Management Board, Women4Cyber France

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