Working group : WG5: Education, awareness, training, cyber ranges


9 November 2018
ECSO's newest initiative to increase women's participation in the cyber field

European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) is launching its Women4Cyber initiative. Unlike many digital awareness initiatives for women, focusing on a wide-ranging ICT sector, our initiative targets the inherently complex cybersecurity field. Going beyond awareness and networking, we aim to develop a concrete agenda to meet the growing demand for cyber security professionals in Europe.

Rationale behind

ECSO gathers a wide range of stakeholders in order to create a harmonised European cyber ecosystem. This spirit of inclusiveness has driven ECSO to consider the role and participation of women in the cyber security field which is increasingly becoming an important political, economic and societal challenge. Cyber security demands a growing number of leaders and experts able to face today’s challenges. Despite increased interest in the cyber security industry, there is plenty of progress still to be done to attract and retain women in the cyber security profession. Concrete actions are needed to attract women to a career in cyber security and to address the expected skills shortage, both in technical and leadership positions. 

ECSO has mapped a number of pre-existing initiatives and many of them are focused on the broader ICT field rather than on cyber security specifically. With the support of its members and the wider community, ECSO has decided to launch an initiative starting from the top management level – Women4Cyber – to develop solutions and resources for women considering, or re-entering, a career in cyber security.

Official launch of the initiative

We have invited 20 top female leaders from the cyber security field to become the founding members of the initiative, thereby transforming this concept into reality. These women will be invited to frame a set of priorities for concrete actions based on their practical knowledge, to set the strategic guidelines and envisage a sustainable mechanism. The official kick-off meeting of Women4Cyber will take place on 22 January 2019, in Brussels, Belgium. The Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel has expressed her support to the initiative and kindly accepted the invitation to be the patroness of the kick-off meeting. 

"Women’s talent, expertise and potential need to be fully unlocked to shape our Digital Future. The participation and empowerment of women in our Digital Europe, particularly in making it more secure for our citizens, businesses, critical infrastructures and governements, is an objective we must all seek. In this perspective, I welcome and wish success to the ECSO Women4Cyber initiative, and I am honoured to take part in the kick-off meeting in January 2019"  –  says Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital  Economy and Society.  

Future steps

By creating an alliance of key women in cyber, Women4Cyber will provide visibility to the concrete actions and achievements of top women in cyber security. It will also, based on the added value we will gather from them, be the source of many other initiatives aimed at increasing the role and participation of women in cyber. An initial core group of female leaders will exchange information, business intelligence and find networking opportunities. The key focus will be to link the outcomes to the relevant policies and strategies at EU level in order to achieve tangible results for the inclusion and career advancement of women in cyber.

Keep yourself up-to-date

We invite you to follow @ecso_eu or  #Women4Cyber hashtag on Twitter, as well as LinkedIn, to find out who these incredible female leaders are and their insights on why the cyber security field needs more women. Finally, we encourage you to spread the word about the initiative by sharing the social media content within your network. 

Should you have any questions or suggestions, please contact WG5 secretariat via