Breaking Barriers: The Ongoing Struggle for Gender Diversity in Corporate Security

In recent years, women have made significant strides in numerous professional domains, however with only 11% of the corporate security workforce being female (Security Magazine, 2022), the lack of representation of women within the industry remains a pressing issue. Despite the gradual shift towards gender equality in the workplace, the security industry continues to struggle with a gender gap that hinders its potential for innovation, growth, and holistic problem-solving. This gap is often attributed to a variety of factors, including historical biases, stereotypes, and systemic barriers that continue to persist despite societal advancements. 

In this blog, we explore the challenges, implications, and potential solutions surrounding the underrepresentation of women in corporate security. 

Challenges Faced by Women in Corporate Security 

From deeply entrenched stereotypes to institutional barriers, the challenges faced by women in this field are multifaceted. 

Lack of Role Models: The absence of female role models within corporate security can discourage young women from considering it as a viable career option. When aspiring professionals cannot see themselves reflected in leadership positions, it becomes challenging to envision a path to success. 

Stereotypes and Bias: Traditional gender stereotypes paint a picture of security as a male-dominated field, perpetuating the notion that physical strength and assertiveness are prerequisites for success. Such stereotypes can deter women from pursuing careers in security. Lisa Baskott, Founder & CEO at 2nd Line of Defence Ltd is currently campaigning to rebut these stereotypes by recruiting more women into front line security personnel roles across the UK. 

Hostile Work Environments: It has been reported that some women in security encounter hostile work environments that they feel undermines their confidence and creates obstacles to professional growth.  

Implications of Underrepresentation 

The underrepresentation of women within the sector has broader implications, not only for the industry but society as a whole. 

Limited Perspective and Innovation: Diversity is a known facilitator of innovation, bringing together a wide range of perspectives and ideas. The lack of women in security limits this diversity, which can hinder the industry’s ability to adapt to evolving threats and challenges. 

Missed Talent Pool: By not tapping into the talents and skills of half the population, the security industry is missing out on a valuable resource pool. Diverse teams bring diverse skills, and the absence of women deprives the sector of unique talents that could contribute to its growth. 

Inadequate Solutions: Security issues often require a comprehensive understanding of human behaviour and complex social dynamics. Without diverse viewpoints at the decision-making table, the industry may struggle to develop solutions to address certain security threats. 

Steps Towards Inclusivity 

Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of clients strive towards building more inclusive and diverse security teams. Our challenge now is to bring awareness to the importance of breaking down barriers and fostering an environment where women are encouraged to join the field.  

Promoting Representation: Like many of our clients, organisations can actively work to increase the representation of women at all levels of their security teams. This includes recruiting more women into entry-level positions, providing apprenticeship opportunities, and nurturing their career growth.  

Mentorship schemes: Mentors can offer invaluable guidance, insights, and support that enable female security professionals to navigate the field. These schemes provide a safe space for women to share experiences, seek advice, and gain perspectives from those who have successfully maneuvered the complexities of the sector.  

This autumn, enteles will be launching a mentorship scheme with the aim to increase the representation of women in senior security roles. If you’d like to be a part of this initiative, be it as a mentor or mentee, we’d love to hear from you! Simply email bethan@enteles-search.com to register your interest.  

Creating Supportive Environments: Fostering inclusive workplaces where all employees feel safe and respected is essential. There are many ways companies can increase the inclusivity of their workplace, such as implementing anti-discrimination policies, providing diversity training, and addressing any instances of harassment promptly. 

Showcasing Role Models: Highlighting successful women in security leadership positions can inspire young professionals to join or advance within the industry and eliminate the misconception that such roles are unattainable for women. 

Educational Initiatives: Collaborating with educational institutions to encourage more young women to pursue studies related to security can help bridge the gender gap from the ground up. Earlier this month, the Private Security Industry Trailblazer Group announced the approval of a new government-funded Level 2 Professional Security Operative apprenticeship for those wanting to join the private security industry, creating new opportunities for women and beyond who wish to enter the field. 

Conclusion 

The underrepresentation of women within the corporate security industry requires joint efforts from individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. By breaking down stereotypes, addressing biases, and creating inclusive environments, the security industry can create a diverse workforce that benefits all. Embracing gender diversity isn’t just a matter of fairness; it’s a strategic imperative that will enable the industry to evolve, innovate, and effectively safeguard the digital and physical realms in the modern world. 

Sources 

https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/97216-celebrate-women-security-leaders-on-international-womens-day-2022

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