Empowering Women in Cyber Security: Insights from our Pioneers


Throughout history, women have played pivotal roles in shaping the landscape of technology. From the pioneering endeavours of Ada Lovelace, widely regarded as the first computer programmer, to Hedy Lamarr, fondly known as ‘the mother of Wifi’, women have been instrumental in laying the groundwork for much of the technology we take for granted today.

However, despite their significant contributions, the representation of women in the technology sector remains notably deficient. According to research by Gartner, only 31% of IT employees are women, and even more worryingly, at the current pace of change, it will take a whopping 132 years to close the economic gender gap!

At the same time, the tech industry is grappling with a substantial talent deficit. In cyber security alone, there are nearly half a million job vacancies, presenting a prime opportunity for women seeking employment in information technology.

We took this opportunity to speak to NormCyber’s CMO, Kate Chappelle, and Cyber Security Engineer, Amy Dumond, to discuss their experiences and why they believe women should pursue careers in technology.

Kate Chappelle:  I left university with a Marketing and Communications degree, not really knowing what I wanted to do next. I applied for a job at a local IT firm, with my only goal being to save money to go travelling. That was 20 years ago, and I’ve been in tech ever since. Over time I worked my way up, primarily working for Managed Services and Cloud-based organisations where cyber security was a byline. I joined NormCyber in October 2023 as CMO.

Amy Dumond: I began my career journey in Payroll, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t the right fit for me. Determined to make a change, I made the decision to pursue a degree in Network Security Management at university. During my studies, I discovered my passion for security testing, particularly penetration testing.

Following graduation, I enjoyed a role as a Network Security Analyst. However, with the arrival of my daughter, I realised the need for a more flexible work arrangement. Coincidentally, a part-time opportunity arose as a Penetration Tester at norm., aligning perfectly with my needs.

Balancing the demands of parenthood with my professional ambitions, I embraced the chance to delve deeper into penetration testing, a field I had been eager to explore since my university days. Now, having spent just over a year in this role, I can honestly say that my passion for it remains as strong as ever.

Kate Chappelle:  First and foremost, cyber security is at the forefront of the digital age’s most pressing challenges. With increasing sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks, comes rapid technological evolution and innovation. As such, my work is fast paced, and lends itself to a culture of continuous learning and professional development, which I love.

As a marketeer, promoting cyber security awareness and advocating for robust cyber security measures contributes to the broader goal of creating a more secure digital environment for both individuals and businesses. I like that the work I’m doing is having a positive societal impact.

Amy Dumond: What attracted me to cyber security, particularly penetration testing, was its novelty and emergence as a profession. The dynamic and evolving nature of this role fascinated me, and I relish the opportunity to continually expand my knowledge. In cyber security, staying ahead of the curve is a constant endeavour; there’s always something new to learn. The field offers a variety of opportunities, and while many still perceive it as niche, the reality is far more expansive. Until you’re immersed in the world of cyber security, it’s hard to grasp the breadth of opportunities it offers, making it an incredibly rewarding path to pursue.

Kate Chappelle: When I reflect on my career, it is startling to realise I have spent over two decades in the technology industry and in that time, I have never reported to a woman.

My experience, I’m sure mirrors many other females in tech; I was often the only female on the team, and one of only a handful of women at conferences, meetings, and events. I’ve experienced the extra work required of women to “prove” our skill sets and to be taken seriously. I think self-belief and a stubborn streak helped carry me through, particularly in my first few years.

Throughout my career I have been lucky to have been mentored by great leaders who focused solely on my capabilities and potential, challenging me at every step with no second thought to gender or stereotypes. Now, I’m able to pay it forward by supporting and empowering other women.

I’m dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusivity within norm., and we are currently actively working to bring in talented individuals from all backgrounds.

Amy Dumond: I was the only female in my class at university, highlighting the ongoing issue of underrepresentation of women in this field. Despite this, being the sole female participant from the outset of my journey has fuelled my determination to succeed. While some may view this as a potential setback, I perceive it as an opportunity to stand out and drive success. I firmly believe that diverse perspectives, stemming from individuals with varied backgrounds, are invaluable assets to teams and organisations. I take pride in offering a unique viewpoint that contributes to diverse and well-rounded decision-making processes.

Kate Chappelle:  Imposter syndrome and stereotypes are a thing, but don’t let them hold you back. Trust in your skills and expertise, and let your voice be heard whether that be in blogging, podcasts, or around a board table.

Look for organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion and offer supportive work environments for women in cyber security. Consider factors such as company culture, policies on work-life balance, and opportunities for career advancement – you will quickly get a feel if a company is right for you or not.

And lastly, we all have a responsibility to level the playing field. To create a future where everyone feels comfortable, we need more women and underrepresented groups to participate in the development of technology. Advocate for diversity and inclusion through recruitment efforts, mentorship programs and initiatives. 

Amy Dumond: Absolutely go for it! Ever since I made the decision to switch careers, I’ve never looked back. However, I must say there are still companies out there clinging to old-fashioned, male-dominated practices that may not fully appreciate a female perspective. Nonetheless, with initiatives like International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month gaining traction, there’s a growing number of organisations within the industry, like norm, that prioritise, respect, and actively seek out female representation. Don’t let outdated practices hold you back!