International Women’s Day: Aspiring women in tech cite a lack of opportunities and male bias as main barriers to entry

8th March 2024

  • 38% of female students looking to enter the tech and cybersecurity sector don’t believe there are enough role models for women
  • A lack of opportunities (46%), male bias (37%) and pay inequality (29%) are the most common barriers to entry
  • Get Safe Online is shining a spotlight on inspirational women in cybersecurity across the world at its keynote webinar this International Women’s Day

More than two thirds (68%) of female students aspiring to enter the tech industry say that role models are important for their career progression, yet of these, 66% believe that the sector is not currently providing them with enough role models to aspire to.

The new research, conducted by Get Safe Online ahead of International Women’s Day 2024, reveals that a lack of visible role models (21%) is one of the key barriers facing female students wanting to enter this space, alongside lack of opportunities (46%) and male bias (37%) against women.

Amongst those surveyed, having an attainable career path (37%), individuals that people can learn from (36%), and someone who has achieved something seemingly unachievable (34%) are the top attributes of a role model.

Global webinar

In support of the belief that ‘seeing is believing’, Get Safe Online is hosting a global keynote webinar on this International Women’s Day (8th March 2024), championing and celebrating women in the cybersecurity sector and highlighting a new era of role models.

One of the exemplary women being showcased as part of Get Safe Online’s campaign is Roxanne Anderson-Linton, Communications and Public Education Officer at the Broadcasting Commission in Jamaica. She comments: “Providing accessible training is key to attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talent into cybersecurity, alongside public education that can change attitudes towards women in the sector, fostering a more inclusive environment. Cybersecurity is an exciting sector with so much flexibility, and I want to see more women thriving in the industry.”

The hour-long virtual event, hosted by former Women and Equalities Minister, Rt Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan, will serve as a platform to showcase women working in cyber from across the globe. A selection of insightful panellists participating in the event will bring together their perspectives on the topic, highlighting lived experiences across the Commonwealth.

Get Safe Online CEO Tony Neate comments: “Creating and showcasing attainable pathways into the cybersecurity sector is vital for encouraging and retaining women within our industry and keeping all of us safe in the digital world. Opportunities like this provide key touchpoints for more to hear about the work being done across the globe and how we can come together to make further progress in supporting women achieve their goals in the industry.”

Since 2018, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has funded, via the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), Get Safe Online’s work with partners across the globe to help millions use the internet safely, securely and with confidence.

“Effective cybersecurity has never been as important to governments, businesses, communities and individuals,” comments Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office. “This year, on International Women’s Day, I am very pleased to be joining Get Safe Online in shining a spotlight on the women who have made their mark in the sector and are helping to build a safe digital future for us all. I am determined to inspire young women and girls to embark in a career in cyber security.”

Muriana McPherson, Director – Cybersecurity, NDMA (National Data Management Authority), Guyana, and a panellist at the event, comments, “Similar to our counterparts in the Commonwealth, Guyana’s tech industry faces a significant underrepresentation of women. It is estimated that 70% of the government of Guyana’s Cybersecurity professionals are male while only 30% are females. Current enrolment statistics in Information Technology programmes at the tertiary level reveal a gender gap, with males outnumbering females by a ratio of 3 to 1. While progress has been made over the years, there remains a pressing need to further encourage women and girls in Guyana to pursue careers in technology, especially in the dynamic field of Cybersecurity. This effort is crucial in narrowing the gender gap and fostering inclusivity within the tech sector.

British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Judith Slater adds: “The UK is committed to tackling gender inequality around the world and has placed empowering women and girls at centre of its international work. In March 2023 the UK launched the first FCDO International Women and Girls Strategy, which seeks to achieve our goal using all our diplomatic and development levers. I am delighted to be supporting International Women’s Day and to be able to recognise today the valuable contributions made by women in the field of cybersecurity.”

The panellists participating in Get Safe Online’s ‘Celebrating and Championing Women in Cybersecurity’ webinar for International Women’s Day are:

  • Eleanor Rees, Acting Head of Cyber, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UK
  • Muriana McPherson, Director, NDMA (National Data Management Authority), Guyana
  • Sametria McKinney, Director, CIRT (Cybersecurity Incident Response Team), The Bahamas
  • Natacha Umutoni, Director, Women at Web, Rwanda
  • Shaden Alnasser, Distinguished Fellow of the UK-Gulf Women in Cybersecurity Fellowship, Saudi Arabia
  • Sarah Sawrey-Cookson, Communications Director, Get Safe Online

For more information about the event, and to register, please visit here.


Written by

Tim Mitchell

In partnership with