Professional risk is a major factor in the decline of women in CISO/CSO roles

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43% of respondents in a new report by Accenture said that professional risk remains a “very” or “most important” factor in the decline in women taking up CISO or CSO positions.

According to the report by the Accenture Cybersecurity Forum Women’s Council, only 17% of CISOs in Fortune 500 companies in 2021 were women. The report found that concerns about professional risk are chiefly responsible for the decision to take up or decline a leadership position.

The role of the CISO is one that comes with so much responsibility. In cases of cyberattacks, they are held accountable, even if they are not responsible for exploited flaws.

The risk factor therefore widens the gap in terms of gender representation. The report finds that 57% of male respondents were more likely to be asked to fill the CISO position in their current company than 40% of female respondents.

To bridge the gap, it is important that women are willing to take risks.

“As a CISO, you’re in the spotlight. You have to be willing to take on high risk and visibility. You have to feel confident in your abilities and your team and be able to stand up in front of your board and speak to the risks and decisions that need to be made. That can be a scary thing to step into for some people,” the report said.

Women also need to be proactive in pursuing their careers.

“Women should feel comfortable being more aggressive in pursuing their career aspirations,” the report says.

Since cybersecurity is a large part of the role of the CISO/CSO, the report recommends that women have mentors in this area.

“Women will need mentors to bounce ideas off of and to provide career development support. Women often don’t want to be in the spotlight, but once they build confidence, the magic happens,” the report says.

The sources for this piece include an article in TechRepublic.

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