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An Open Letter to the Cybersecurity Industry on International Women’s Day

Mar 07, 2019 | by Holly Rollo, CMO |

An Open Letter to the Cybersecurity Industry on International Women’s Day,

Coming off an inspiring week at RSA Conference, I felt compelled to write this letter to my fellow colleagues in the cybersecurity industry.

If community events like RSA Conference tell us anything, it’s that when we come together, we have the power to do remarkable things that have a significant positive impact across the globe. In our mission to help our customers and communities thrive in today’s high-risk world, it means making sure we are looking at problems from new perspectives. We are the ones enabling humans to trust technology to do amazing things for the world. And we are the ones that protect people as technology becomes more and more ubiquitous in our human lives.

The gravity of what we do and the potential repercussions on the future must not be underestimated. Whether you are a parent or not, you understand that what we put in place today will affect many generations to come. We’ve all made sacrifices in our personal lives to make this world safer. But have we done enough to make our community more diverse, more equal and more balanced?

Ask yourselves this: What kind of world do you want for your daughters? For your sons? For your communities? And ask yourselves an equally important question: What can you do today? Through the power of this community, we can do more, but sometimes it’s hard to know what that is. Men often tell me they are confused about what their role is, they want to do something, and many have, but have also admitted feeling awkward or sometimes guilty – which isn’t what we need. I don’t believe we are at the point where we need to convince people that diversity is a good thing. I believe it’s just hard to know what exactly people can do right now today.

I believe there are three simple things that each of us can do today:

1.   Compensation reviews are done on a regular basis, likely every year. It’s important for every manager to look at compensation planning and specifically ask themselves if a meaningful wage gap exists for anyone on their team and advocate for this change specifically. A lot of progress has been made on this, but I personally believe the gender pay gap in general could be solved within a few short years if we all continued to make the effort. This is easy for us all to solve right now.

2.   Gentlemen, continue to be gentlemen. Yes, we want to earn our seat and we want it to be merit based, but sometimes we need you to open a [professional] door, save a seat, provide an introduction or allow us to go first. We aren’t asking for you to sacrifice your own best interest, we are asking to join you in our shared mission by doing for us what others have done for you.

3.   Women, be specific about where you need help and ask for it. We hate asking for help because we feel it accentuates an attribute we run from our whole careers – vulnerability. The problem is, other people can’t read our minds. It’s not about being bossy or forceful, it’s about being specific. What do you need to be successful achieving your goals and who can you ask for help?

As a parent, as a woman, and as a member of the security and digital risk community, I commit to doing my part and supporting those who are willing to take these three simple steps on International Women’s Day and every day. Will you join me?


Holly Rollo
CMO and SVP of Marketing, RSA

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To learn more about International Women's Day at Dell EMC and RSA Conference, check out Let's All Help Create a #Balanceforbetter by Karen Quintos, and International Women's Day, A Time to Reflect Back and Peer Forward by Sandra Toms.