Closing the Gap: A DoD Conference on Re-entry for Women Veterans into Cybersecurity Careers addressed two crucial needs: To fill the exponentially growing cybersecurity talent gap in the U.S., and to harness the potential of female U.S. veterans to fill the gap. The Department of Defense awarded a grant to The George Washington University Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute (CSPRI) and the Center for Women in Engineering (WiE), in order to address these challenges.
The conference was specifically targeted to researchers, educators and decision-makers from academia, government and industry, focusing on issues and practices for smoothing the reentry for women veterans into the workforce, specifically in cybersecurity careers. Women veterans were also encouraged to participate.
As we brought together a diversity of knowledgeable advisors on these issues, we highlighted the critical topics and challenges that must be addressed, along with a compilation of resources. The challenges are many and varied, from difficulties in filling cybersecurity jobs, to gender pay disparities, to why women veterans may struggle in transitioning to a civilian environment, as well as seeking and finding meaningful employment.
The aim of the conference was to help women veterans:
- Leverage prior knowledge in order to enter or return to cybersecurity fields
- Move from the military to non-military environments, including addressing issues of gender inequality and sexism in the workplace
- Fit into White Collar, Blue Collar, or New Collar jobs (new work paradigms that are changing models of the workplace)
In addition to the one-day working conference, Closing the Gap includes a robust set of resources:
- Assembled experts in the field, focusing on their personal assessment of why the gap still exists, and what they might do differently hearing from other experts in the room
- The explicit inclusion of gender-based approaches to both establish a network of professionals and academics, and to hone specific strategies for implementation of a reentry plan for women veterans
- A post-conference Summary, to include resources, references, findings, recommendations and action steps
- Accessible website repository of resources and materials
View the conference resources here.