Security has always been a male-dominated field. Not only security guards but also managers, salespeople and techies in the industry all tend to be men. But now this is changing. Having gained a foothold in traditionally feminine roles like marketing and HR, women are advancing to other roles – including leadership.
The first pioneers to blaze the leadership trail included Cyndi Freschi, founder of integration company North American Video; Patricia Fischer, Executive Director of Surveillance at Wynn Resorts; and cybersecurity guru Keren Elazari.
Now more and more organisations are promoting and hiring women into leadership roles, such as Valerie Anderson, President and MD of Boon Edam USA; Wendy Gattis, COO of DITEK; and Eddie Reynolds (yes, Eddie’s a woman), President and CEO of Illuminar.
Industry groups are being created to provide education, community and networking opportunities for talented women in security. One such is the Global ASIS Women in Security Council, which not only provides mentoring and resources for women in the industry but also works to inspire more women to enter the field.
And there’s good reason to celebrate this development. A leadership effectiveness study by HR consultants Zenger Folkman found women scored higher than men in twelve out of fifteen functions. Jobs studied included management, sales, finance, operations, engineering, and other traditionally male roles. Among other qualities, women were found to excel in initiative, resilience, self-development, integrity, honesty and drive for results.
And the Harvard Business Review found women to be more effective in 84 percent of the most commonly measured leadership qualities – though according to the Pew Research Center, men still come top in risk-taking.