Initiative aims to plug the industry’s talent gap, spur female participation in cybersecurity, and transform the role women play in Singapore’s cyber-defense.

The Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) has launched a Singapore-first mentorship programme that will groom female cybersecurity professionals in the republic. This move will boost the number and skill sets of female cybersecurity talent, address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals needed to tackle escalating online threats, and enable women to play a bigger role in the nation’s defense.

As the country continues to roll out Smart Nation initiatives and build up its digital economy, the strengthening of cybersecurity capabilities and fostering a resilient and trusted cyber environment will be an immediate priority.

However, according to the (ISC) Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there is a shortage of 4 million cybersecurity professionals globally.

At the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) event in October 2019, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sim Ann said: “Given the high demand for cybersecurity talent, it would be a pity to draw from only half the population.”

Sim’s call for more women to join the industry came after a warning by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) in July 2019 that the industry faces a potential shortage of up to 3,400 professionals by 2020.

She believes that effective cyber-defense strategies “must integrate the perspectives of all people – both men and women – so that the technologies deployed and the process implemented are practical and inclusive.”

AiSP’s Ladies in Cyber Mentorship program gives mentors the opportunity to share their life lessons and work experience with interested students from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) in Singapore over one year, while providing them with guidance to enter and advance in the cyber workforce.

Besides grooming the next generation of cybersecurity talents, this programme also boosts the participants’ cybersecurity literacy, allowing them to develop the competencies to play a bigger part in everyday digital defense.