Why Our Infosecurity Women in Cybersecurity Networking Event Isn’t About Women in Cybersecurity

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The Infosecurity Magazine team is on its way to San Francisco for its annual dose of what can only be described as RSA Conference mayhem, and I’m busy doing my interview prep, ironing out the fine details of my less than enviable packed schedule and finalizing the details for our fourth women in cybersecurity networking event – the first to be run Stateside.

I had the idea for these events back in 2017. It wasn’t rocket science, but the continued and growing success of these events each year tells me that we did hit the nail on the head. There’s something very special about filling that huge room with more than 200 women – and men – each year, and truly bringing that community together. It amazes me each year just how open and willing our audience is, bravely opening up about personal challenges, concerns and successes.

It’s time to take Infosecurity’s Women in Cybersecurity Stateside, and what better place to do that than San Francisco?

The difference – other than the accents and probably the quality of breakfast (Americans do breakfast so much better than we do) – is that this time we’re not going to talk about women in cybersecurity. I’ll admit, this is a little unorthodox, but it’s also a statement. The brilliantly talented and skilled women in our industry have a lot more to say than just about what it’s like to be a woman in cybersecurity. They want to talk about their actual jobs and their industry – they want to tackle the challenges we are all facing and problem-solve and explore solutions.

So, we have an all-female speaker line-up not talking ABOUT being women, but just talking AS women. The panel will discuss and answer questions on the state of the industry and the skills gap.

When I invited Jennifer Minella to speak at this event and explained the slightly unusual premise to her, she said this: “I definitely prefer panels with a diverse representation but the ability to actually talk about the work/industry versus what it’s like to have lady bits in infosec.” Amen. Sadly, Jennifer won’t be in town for RSA, but her vote of support for my idea was comforting.

One of the main things that Infosecurity prides itself on – at least it has since I took over as editor back in 2008 – is having our readers at the heart of everything we do. We don’t just report on the industry, we are the industry. So, when I decided I wanted to run a Women in Cybersecurity event where we don’t talk about gender diversity, I road-tested it with my network and with a Twitter poll.

The feedback was that yes, women want to get together, they want to get that feeling of community and socialize with other women (because let’s face it, despite all the efforts to the contrary, we are still very much the minority) but they don’t want their voice only to be valid or wanted in discussions about gender diversity. Their voice is worth so much more.

So there you have it: the reason why we’re running a women in cybersecurity event that isn’t about women in cybersecurity. Go figure.

If you’re attending RSA, then please do come and meet our team at the Infosecurity Magazine booth – 4139. We’d love to see you. If you’re not, the amount of event coverage we are set to produce will ensure you don’t feel too left out, so do keep up-to-date with all the news and analysis from RSA on our homepage.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to consume my bodyweight in sourdough and sample some excellent Napa wine.

Registration is now open for Infosecurity Magazine’s Women in Cybersecurity networking event at Infosecurity Europe 2020! Find out more here.

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