Attracting and retaining more women in cybersecurity


Despite increased interest in the cybersecurity field, there is still a lot to be done to attract and retain women in the cybersecurity profession. High-level speakers explored what lies behind this gender gap, underlining the key role of diversity in cybersecurity for mitigating risks, and presenting the tremendous opportunity for women who want to pursue a professional career in this field. Watch the recording and learn how to tackle the cybersecurity gender gap in Europe.

Moderator: Despina Spanou, Director for Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Despina Spanou is leading since 2017 the European Commission team responsible for the EU's policies and research activities in cybersecurity, digital privacy, eHealth, smart mobility, smart cities and egovernment. She is a member of the management board of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, ENISA and the Steering board of CERT EU.

Previously she was Director for Consumer Affairs at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers. Mrs. Spanou has also served as Principal Adviser in the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioners for Health and Consumers, Mr. Kyprianou, and, Mrs. Vassiliou. 

Despina Spanou started her career at the European Commission at the Directorate General for Competition in 2003. Before joining the European Commission she was practising law for a US law firm. She is a qualified lawyer and holds a Ph.D. in European law from the University of Cambridge.


  • Jane Frankland, CEO of Cyber Security Capital, Founder of the IN Security Movement

Title of the presentation: Women in Security: A strategy for safety

Jane Frankland is working to better the world by training and educating businesses on cybersecurity. She focuses specifically on gender inclusion in science through the IN Security Movement, which she founded to connect, inspire and empower cybersecurity professionals. She believes “a more gender balanced workforce will enable greater security, innovations and all-round happiness.”

  • Anett Madi-Nator, Cyber Services, VP, Strategic Business Development and Operations

Title of the presentation: Women4Cyber

Anett Mádi-Nátor has more than a decade of experience in strategic and administrative layers of information security, cyber security, and cyber defence both as a private sector subject matter expert and as a government representative. Her recent appointments include Hungarian MilCIRC Head of Coordination, Administrative Head of Hungarian government cyber security centre (Cyber Defence Management Authority within the National Security Authority), NATO Cyber Coalition Exercises Core Strategic and Administrative Planner, and Lead to NATO Cyber Defence Capability Team. Up to the summer of 2015 Anett was the appointed primary policy and administrative contact point for Hungary in the Memorandum of Understanding in Cyber Defence between NATO and Hungary. Anett received a ministerial award for excelling public service in 2013.

  • Patrick Wheeler, Advisor on cybersecurity, BNP Paribas Fortis and co-founder of Cyberwayfinder 

Title of the presentation: Cyber Skills Shortage and Gender Re-Balancing 

Patrick Wheeler is a BNPP Advisor on cybersecurity, co-founder of Cyberwayfinder and a European cyber practitioner originating from California’s Silicon Valley and San Francisco who focuses on programs securing the global financial sector. With a P.E., BSEE, MBA and operational titles such as Security Architect, Director Internal Systems, VP Ops, Chief Security Officer, and etc he targets the cyber skills shortage, builds diverse next-generation cyber workforces and leads executive ‘cyber-uplift’ masterclasses.