Cyber and Tech

Female hackers launch new Gloucestershire society

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 07 August 2020 7:55

Female hackers launch new Gloucestershire society

Last night marked another milestone in Gloucestershire’s journey deeper into the world of cyber, with the launch of the Cheltenham-based chapter of the UK Ladies Hacking Society. 

The Ladies of Cheltenham Hacking Society may all sound terribly English and rather quaint, but judging by the Twitter banter that surrounds the nationwide organisation and the inclusive agenda it is anything but. 

As Cheltenham moves towards the £400 million Golden Valley Cyber Park development adjacent to a certain GCHQ, and with cyber-related town-centre workspace Hub8 already well established, it seems only natural – if not a little tardy - for a branch of the hacking society to emerge in the town.

This is the fourth chapter in the on-going spread of the group.

The London chapter’s Twitter account describes itself as “offensive and defensive technical security meetup for women. Ethos is women centric not women exclusive. Focus is building technical knowledge & skills in Cyber Sec”.

"The event last night was a success. We were joined by nearly 40 women from Cheltenham and around the UK to hear a presentation on the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain®.

"We also held a networking session and cocktail party to celebrate two years since the launch of the Ladies of London Hacking Society; the first UK Ladies Hacking Society (LHS) Chapter.

"The creator of the best cocktail won a Security Analyst training course provided by th4ts3cur1ty.company."

On the Ladies Hacking Society’s website it describes itself as "a new organisation dedicated to promoting technical women in cyber security,” said Nathalie Cole, chapter lead of Ladies Hacking Society – Cheltenham.

As a sector the battle to recruit more women and celebrate the deeds of woman in the field through the years is ongoing. 

“The consensus currently is that the situation seems to improving, but very slowly to date. Schemes such as CyberFirst are proving successful, but as they support young women and girls there is a lag between participating in these schemes and joining the workforce.

“Data on this subject is relatively minimal, and different study results vary slightly depending on methods and whether they are local or international, but the trends seem to be minor improvements only over the last, say five to 10 years," said Dr Cole. 

“Women are known to be a minority in the Cyber industry. In a study published earlier this year by DCMS (Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market) women were found to make up only 15 per cent of the UK cybersecurity workforce, despite making up approximately 50 per cent of the general population, and around 28 per cent of the general UK digital sector. 

“We want to help change this. Meetups such as LCHS will support women who are part of and joining the industry (including through initiatives for young women such as the NCSC's CyberFirst scheme), but also women such as myself who are experienced professionals from other industries changing careers into cybersecurity.” 

“We also aim to make the training we run accessible to everyone, and are in the process of seeking corporate sponsorship to fund things such as a podcast and a laptop pool meaning women who may not have access to high spec (or any) technical equipment can still participate in sessions such as hacking labs.”

To find out more visit LinkedIn, Twitter (@LHS_Chelt) and visit the Ladies Hacking Society website.