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A new professional cyber community designed specifically for people of marginalised genders, including non-binary people, trans and cis women and trans men, among others, has been set up to support the careers of security professionals and aspiring future cyber talent of systematically oppressed genders.
The We Open Tech (WOT) initiative, spearheaded by a number of cyber and tech leaders drawn from communities including WeAreHackerz and Women of Security (WoSEC), is designed to provide opportunities for mentoring, professional development, career opportunities and support via an online community and a number of local chapters across the US and, in Europe, Barcelona and London.
Most importantly, the group said it would provide free-to-access resources, and a safe space set aside from the judgement, criticism and toxic hatred that often pervades both the real world and online spaces.
“We believe that every single person, regardless of their gender and background, should have access to obtain any position and title within security and tech,” said the organisation’s co-founder, Chloé Messdaghi, who in her day job works as chief strategist at Point3 Security, where she is a frequent and well-known commentator on cyber issues.
“We are here to support and empower curious minds and enable anyone in the tech or security space who wants to be authentically who they are and share their knowledge at any experience level, and to improve themselves.”
Co-founder Maria Mora, who is an advocate at hacker rights non-profit Hacking Is Not A Crime, added: “As I learned more about other folks as well as myself, I noticed the lack of recognition or erasure of other marginalised groups. Raising awareness and acceptance of those outside the ‘traditional’ gender binary will get us to a better place for all.
“Collaboration is key. It takes a village to increase awareness and acceptance and we will partner with various organisations in order to educate and raise awareness in the industry, as well as support folks in their careers.”
More details of how to join the community can be found here, and the team is actively looking for more people to establish local events in addition to its virtual programme.
“By starting a local chapter, you can help to break down barriers and build bridges for marginalised genders to thrive in security and tech,” said Messdaghi.
Read more about gender diversity in technology
- International Pronouns Day, which falls on the third Wednesday of October each year, aims to make it an everyday occurrence for people to educate themselves about, and respect, people’s personal pronouns.
- Many IT workers say their companies are working to address gender diversity in their IT departments, according to Computer Weekly’s salary survey.
- IBM’s master inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca gives insight into promoting gender diversity. Learn why both official programmes and informal outreach are so important.