Addressing Diversity at RSA Conference and in the Cybersecurity Industry

Posted on by Sandra Toms

We’ve been listening closely to the recent discussions surrounding the lack of female keynote speakers at RSA Conference, and we want to address it head on. We hear you. We understand. The Conference leadership team is made up of women, like myself, and we’re very much aware of the importance and value of bringing more women’s voices, perspectives and experiences to the forefront of conversations in all industries, not least of all our own. 

Invitations were extended to many potential female guest keynote speakers over the past seven months. While the vast majority declined due to scheduling issues, the RSA Conference keynote line-up is not yet final. Overall this year, RSA Conference will feature more than 130 female speakers, on both the main stage, Industry Experts stage and in a variety of other sessions and labs, tackling topics from data integrity to hybrid clouds and application security, among others. And while 20% of our speakers at this year's conference are women, we fully recognize there is still work to be done. 

One way we’re doing this is by offering programs at each Conference to encourage change, by giving attendees access to information, mentors and diverse perspectives. To that end, RSA Conference launched the RSAC Security Scholar Program in 2016 and the RSAC College Day program last year, both of which prepare future cybersecurity leaders by connecting them to experts and peers. In this year’s program, 25% of security scholars and 38% of College Day registrants are women. In 2017, we created a Securing Diversity half day seminar, which is a curated forum to share ideas in cyber security and world trends and celebrates differences in society – people whose diversity is represented in thought, gender, religion or background.

Diversity is about valuing perspectives, insights and expertise from all genders, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and more, and bringing those to bear as we confront today’s security challenges. We support and respect our colleagues and peers working in this space, and want to make RSA Conference a welcoming, inclusive, diverse, engaging and vibrant environment for everyone.

Sandra Toms

Vice President and Curator, RSA Conference

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