Following recent International Women’s Day celebrations, Defence has organised a day for women across Defence to participate in cyber-centric activities as part of an attempt 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 Linda Reynolds said gender diversity was critical to building a robust and sophisticated cyber capability.
“With cyber now recognised as a war-fighting 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,” MAJGEN 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, 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,” 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 day also featured a panel discussion by Major General Natasha Fox, Head of People Capability for the DoD; Narelle Devine, the National Manager Cyber Security for the DHS; Kylie McDevitt, the Technical Director Emerging Tech and Engineering for the ASD; and Petty Officer Talei Stoll, Watch Team Lead for the Defence Strategic Operations Centre with the DoD.