I have supported a range of organizations during my 14-year career.
During that time, I have learned that as an underrepresented minority in this space, it is crucial for me to be visible to our community. I think many people from our community, specifically those with intersectional identities are challenged and conflicted about joining a profession where they are almost certainly going to be the only minority in the room. In a majority of the organizations I have worked with, I have seen growth in terms of diversity and inclusion for specific demographics. And don’t get me wrong, the ball is moving closer to the end zone, however, we are just not there yet. In security, we always say humans are the biggest vulnerability. I completely agree with that, however we can also be the solution.
Within a business, culture is contagious. Businesses should make sure they are promoting and demonstrating a culture that does not just tolerate trans and gender non-conforming individuals. First, do the work internally to make sure their culture is conducive to inclusivity. If you do not have the staff or tools already, dedicate resources to identifying that, and prioritize filling those gaps. They should keep in mind that black LGBTQ folks are the sum of their entire selves. Programming that o only addressing one part of the intersectional minorities in your workplaces’ identity once a year is no longer good enough.
At 25 years old, the median household wealth for African Americans in the United States was 13,460 dollars. At the same age, the median household wealth for Whites was 142,180 dollars. No, the two placed after the four in the preceding number is not a typo. The wealth of the average white house hold at 25 years old is 10 times that of African-Americans. With all of the persistent labor market discrimination and segregation cause blacks, African-Americans have been documented for having an intrinsic desire to achieve success in order to give back to their community. The lack of diversity in the cybersecurity field also extends to the the LGBTQ community. Recent studies have demonstrated that approximately 40% of LGBTQ people are not out at work and fear that coming out could be detrimental to their career growth.
My hope is that the cybersecurity community will recognize that diversity is critical to not only information security but also to positively impacting the lives of future marginalized generations. To our potential partners, inclusion of people with intersectional identities in the cyber workforce, our nation and most importantly our loved ones will continue to be vulnerable to cyber threats both foreign and domestic. To accomplish this goal, our program offers more than mentoring services. Instead, we provide support for what we believe are crucially important components to success not only in the cyber field, but in life in general. I firmly believe that it is impossible to truly serve a population that battles severe systemic issues without also addressing their societal and economic well-being.