Time is up for women lagging behind in security

They’ve been leaning in and standing their ground, so is 2018 the year that security will go the way of Hollywood and say #timeisup?

Progressing — whether in our careers or as a society — is not only about how we treat others. According to Adrienne Weissman, chief customer officer of G2 Crowd, how we allow others to treat us is of equal import.

The cybersecurity industry learned many lessons in 2017, and one truth that can no longer be ignored is that we need more women in cybersecurity, according to Deidre Diamond. Words and actions matter as much as technical skills in confronting diversity issues and gender stereotypes in the workplace.

And words, even small ones, like #metoo, have proven powerful in effecting big changes. That’s why I loved the idea of speaking your truth — especially for journalists — in Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe Award speech. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, take a few minutes (9 to be precise).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyBims8OkSY

Yes, I could have included the annotated version, but I didn’t. Why? Because, like her, I believe that time is up for cutting women short. Adrienne Weissman once told me, “There are certainly times when you need to stand firm and fight for what you are passionate about to get your point across.” I stand firm that you must listen to the entire speech.

Why? Because women need to speak our truth and it’s time for men to listen. The looming jobs gap is a national security crisis, yet still women represent only 11% of the cyber workforce. I’ve been in this business for three years, and that statistic hasn’t change. How much more should a female have to take on to prove that she is just as good or better than her male counterpart?

I say, do shouldn’t have to do any more. Rather, stand your ground and say “Time is up!” Before taking on more work, it’s critical to look at whether you are being asked to take on tasks specific to you or that challenge you. Ask yourself: Is this type of work being given to my male counterparts?

“I have bumped up into issues where the demands and expectations of me were very different from my male counterparts. Here I am, a female executive in the tech community, and a mom of three little kids, but many of my peers’ spouses stay home,” said Weissman.

There are issues that are very real in the day-to-day workplace, whether it’s male colleagues responding to emails or subtle comments during a meeting. Weissman said, “I have challenged back and asked, ‘Would you have said that to a male manager, peer or boss?’”

The answer is usually, “I don’t know.” 2017 showed us that they do know. They have known for a long time.

Weissman has known too. And as she has grown in her career, her ideas about gender equality evolved.

“It’s definitely been learned, and it has been growing, revolving, revising and changing with my experiences. As a young professional coming into the work force, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Weissman said.

Unlike many women, though, Weissman has been fortunate in many ways.

“I’ve chosen places that have allowed me to be who I am.” It’s that power of choice that women need to take full responsibility for. Yes, there are consequences to challenging an authority figure who makes sexual advances or otherwise discriminates against you because of your gender. But, if every woman in Hollywood had said no to Harvey Weinstein, he would’ve been desperate enough to put his pants back on and hire women on merit.

That’s not to blame the victims, but it is asking women — myself included — to look at how we allow others to treat us and what we are willing to compromise about ourselves in order to advance our careers.

In an effort to help other women see where they need to firmly stand their ground, Weissman teaches her children and her colleagues to not dismiss it if they sense something or feel they are being treated unfairly.

“Trust your gut. If you are having trouble articulating, do the due diligence to state the facts and provide the data so that the information can tell the story. Standing your ground is about learning to tell the story to make headway and change,” Weissman said.

As the lines between business objectives and the digital world grow more obscured, the soft skills of technology are becoming more important. What we say, how we say it, and to whom it is said can determine the trajectory of your career. Time is up for those who believe women need to sacrifice their integrity and compromise their character in order to have a successful career.