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Literature review

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) has conducted exploratory research into women’s low representation in the cyber security industry, and found that marketing, role models, and hiring practices are barriers to attracting women into the industry. Further, these initial findings also include that workplace culture, a lack of flexible working arrangements, and persistent discrimination impede women’s retention in the industry (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2017).

This report examines the existing limited research on women in the cyber security industry, and women in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) and information and communication technology (ICT) to identify barriers to women’s labour market participation. Overall, PM&C’s initial findings hold. While limited research exists on women’s participation in cyber security, findings from the burgeoning and ever-increasing STEM and ICT literature provide useful indicators of barriers to women in cyber security, revealing a complex and multi-layered picture, replete with persistent and enduring barriers. Barriers to girls and women commence early – from primary school – and continue throughout women’s careers to the executive levels. Barriers also exist at all stages of the employment life cycle, from recruitment to career development and performance management, culminating in women leaving the industry.

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