#BSidesSF2019: We Must Question Unintentional Biases to Fix the Cybersecurity Diversity Gap

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Speaking at BSidesSF Chloé Messdaghi, security researcher advocate/PM, Bugcrowd, discussed the diversity gap in cybersecurity and explored strategies that could help address the issue.

Messdaghi pointed out that women make up just 11% of the information security industry and that minorities account for less than 12% of the industry. “Clearly we have a diversity and inclusion problem here,” she said.

Messdaghi argued that diversity imbalance issues could exist because of “unconscious beliefs that we have that are socially constructed,” and that companies looking to improve their workforce diversity “should examine and question their own assumptions and unintentional biases in their hiring process.

“If we don’t question our biases then situations can occur that can directly [negatively] impact another individual.”

For individuals struggling to get into or advance careers in information security, and for those looking to aid them, Messdaghi had the following advice:

  • Volunteer: Promote the field, because when we do, good things happen
  • Network: Form support groups in/out of the office and speak up together
  • Attend conferences: Attend conferences that empower underrepresented persons and push for a diverse CFP review board
  • Change your own beliefs

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