Following weekend celebrations around the world of International Women’s Day, women from across Defence participated in a day of cyber-centric activities as part of an initiative to encourage women to consider a career in cyber.
The Women in Cyber: Find Your Path event introduced women to the possibility of a cyber or cyber-related role within Defence.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said gender diversity was critical to building a robust and sophisticated cyber capability.
“With cyber now recognised as a warfighting domain, the demand for highly skilled cyber specialists will only increase,” Minister Reynolds said.
“We need diverse teams to defend and protect our networks and missions systems against a diverse range of threats.
“Women are under-represented within the global cyber security workforce, and Defence is no different.
“I applaud any opportunity to change this trend and encourage women to expand their potential into technical or cyber-enabling roles.”
The Women in Cyber event included an introduction to cyber from Navy, Army, Air Force and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Participants took part in a hands-on ‘Capture the Flag’ activity and engaged in a panel discussion about women finding their pathway into cyber.
Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force, Major General Marcus Thompson, said Defence is committed to increasing the number of women in cyber roles.
“Women make up around 15 per cent of the Defence cyber workforce – this is far too low,” Major General Thompson said.
“We know that diversity strengthens teams and encourages innovation, and we recognise the risk of group-think and want greater diversity in our cyber capability.”
Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate, Ms Rachel Noble PSM, said the fact that women have been traditionally underrepresented in science and technology fields, such as cyber security, needs to change.
“It is paramount that we achieve gender balance if we are to have the best workforce to achieve our mission of revealing their secrets and protecting our own,” Ms Noble said.
“That is why the Australian Signals Directorate supports a range of programs to encourage women to pursue careers in science and technology, including cyber security, and to develop our next generation of leaders.”
The panel discussion, held at Adams Auditorium, included:
- MAJGEN Natasha Fox, Head of People Capability – Department of Defence
- Narelle Devine, National Manager Cyber Security – Department of Human Services
- Kylie McDevitt, Technical Director Emerging Tech and Engineering – Australian Signals Directorate
- PO Talei Stoll, Watch Team Lead, Defence Strategic Operations Centre – Department of Defence.