Australian Women in Cyber Security: A Case Study

Australian Women in Cyber Security: A Case Study

Cyber security plays an increasingly critical role in government, business and education sectors. A key factor to achieving a thriving, robust cyber security sector includes having a diverse and inclusive workforce, representing a wide range of social, cultural and professional experiences. This is particularly important currently with ongoing skills shortages and high demand in this field.

However, a recent analysis of the 2021 Census indicates only 17% of Australia’s cyber security workforce are women. Until this data was available, no accurate study demonstrating women’s under-representation in the sector had been undertaken.


The Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) is a not-for-profit association and network of people aimed at increasing the number of women in the security community through building connections and providing support.

However, without a full picture of gender representation in the sector – from the types and numbers of roles women hold, to a view of what support women have or the barriers they face in joining the industry – it has been difficult to address imbalances or effectively measure any programs or initiatives aimed at doing so.

AWSN partnered with RMIT University to undertake this sector analysis to develop its baseline knowledge and inform their future activities.

The research

RMIT Centre for Cyber Security Research & Innovation (CCSRI) in partnership with RMIT Centre for Organisations and Social Change (COSC) brought together a multi-disciplinary team of academics with backgrounds in cybersecurity, organisational psychology, economic, management and human resources to examine the multi-dimensional issues of this subject.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Women comprise around 17% of Australian cyber security occupations in 2021
  • Although underrepresented in the sector, the number of women in specialist ICT security roles increased fourfold from 2016 to 2021, compared to a threefold increase for males
  • Women in cyber security come from a wider spectrum of educational backgrounds than their male colleagues
  • About half of female respondents had IT qualifications, compared to two-thirds of their male counterparts
  • Only 27% of women in the sector reported having a role model or mentor of the same gender, compared to over 50% of men who reported having a male equivalent.

Australian Women in Cyber Security - Case Study

Download and read the full case study for this project by clicking the button below.

23 November 2023


23 November 2023


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.