This year’s theme of the United Nations’ International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
“From the earliest days of computing to the present age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, women have made untold contributions to the digital world in which we increasingly live,” the U.N. says. “Their accomplishments have been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.”
Women made up less than 30 percent of the workforce in cybersecurity, according to an (ISC)2 cybersecurity workforce report, released in 2022. Thirty percent of the cybersecurity workforce under age 30 are women, but that number falls as the ages of workers go up, with only 12 percent of women making up cybersecurity workers ages 50 to 59.
All that said, many women have made–and continue to make–their mark in the cybersecurity industry. On this International Women's Day, we'd like to recognize a few women in the field who we’ve long followed and admired, for their significant contributions to the industry, their outspokenness, and for breaking glass ceilings. This list highlights just a small number of the many women we admire who are making a huge impact in the cybersecurity industry.
Marene Allison recently retired as CISO at Johnson and Johnson. She’s a former FBI special agent and a graduate of the West Point Military Academy. She posts regularly on LinkedIn about cybersecurity topics and work issues. We salute Marene for her service and significant accomplishments.
Beth-Anne Bygum is senior vice president, chief security and compliance officer at Acxiom and former senior director of information security strategy and portfolio management at McKesson, a health IT and pharmaceutical company. She’s active on LinkedIn.
Leslie Carhart, who uses they/them as personal pronouns, is director of incident response at cybersecurity company Dragos and a retired member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. They post on Mastodon at @email@example.com, with a focus on infosec.
Emily Crose is principal industrial pentester at Dragos and a former U.S. intelligence officer. You can find her at @hexadecim8 on Twitter. She’s been tweeting recently about her new comic book series, “Our Lady Maven,” politics, and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. She also shares knowledgeable tweets about information security.
Deneen DeFiore is vice president and CISO at United Airlines and former senior vice president and global chief information and product security officer at GE Aviation. She’s active on LinkedIn and also on Twitter at @deneendefiore. She tweets about United Airlines, cybersecurity, women in cybersecurity, and the Santa Fe Saints college baseball team.
Jen Easterly is director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and former head of firm resilience and the Fusion Resilience Center at Morgan Stanley. She’s also worked in the White House and at the National Security Agency. She’s active on LinkedIn and tweets at @CISAJen, where she gives advice on ways people and organizations can protect themselves against cybercriminals.
Renee Guttman is founder and principal of cybersecurity consulting firm Cisohive. She’s also former CISO at Campbell Soup Company, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Optive, and Coca-Cola, and Time Warner. She’s active on LinkedIn and in the industry, where she frequently comments on cybersecurity topics.
Jadee Hanson is CISO and CIO at cybersecurity provider Code 42. She has also served as senior director of information security at Target and as manager of enterprise risk services at Deloitte. She’s active on LinkedIn, where she often posts encouraging comments about the achievements of other people working in cybersecurity.
Meredith Harper is senior vice president and CISO at financial services company Synchrony and a member of the board of directors at Berry Global Group. She previously served as vice president and CISO at Eli Lilly and Company and is passionate about increasing the numbers of women and minorities in tech and infosec. Listen to the Resilient podcast she did with Deborah Golden, Principal and U.S. Cyber and Strategic Risk Leader at Deloitte.
Siobhan MacDermott is a partner at The Consello Group, a financial services advisory and strategic investing platform. She’s also served as CISO at Utilidata, an energy equipment and digital solutions company, and as global cyber public policy executive at Bank of America. She’s at @GlobalSiobhan on Twitter, where she talks about news and cultural issues, as well as cybersecurity.
Katie Moussouris is founder and CEO of security company Luta Security and a creator of the bug bounty program at Microsoft. She also helped create the bug bounty program at the U.S. Department of Defense. She tweets at @k8em0, where she posts about cybersecurity (not surprisingly), women’s issues, and the intersection of the two, along with a host of other fascinating topics. She’s an advocate for pay equity and has been using her Twitter account this month to draw attention to women’s contributions to business, technology, law, politics and other disciplines. She’s also active on Mastodon. If you’re not following her, you need to.
Wendy Nather serves as Head of Advisory CISOs at Cisco and previously held a similar position with Duo Security, which was acquired by Cisco in 2018. She worked for many years in the financial services industry as an information security director, and is known for coining the term “security poverty line” while serving as a research director with 451 Research.
Vanessa Pegueros is on the boards of Forterra, the Northwest chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Presidio, LivePerson and Boeing Employee Federal Credit Union (BECU). She previously served on the board of directors for Carbon Black and served as chief trust and security officer at OneLogin. Like Meredith Harper, Vanessa was also a guest on the Deloitte Resilient podcast, talking about mental health and burnout in cybersecurity.