The Things Women Do
by Eliza May Austin
In 2017, after a “small” glass of Rioja, I penned the article “patronizing penetration for women“. It was somewhat controversial, but it gained unprecedented support. This is sort of a part 2, an update if you will. I talked back then about starting the Ladies of London Hacking Society. It took some time to get off the ground, and after a few closed doors I got frustrated. One day on my tube journey on my way to work, coffee in one hand, phone in the other, Whitesnake in my ears, and an armpit in my face. I decided it would be a great idea to launch a meetup page and announce it on LinkedIn. It has been a whirlwind of positivity since that day. Thank you.
What is LLHS (Ladies of London Hacking Society)?
We are at the forefront of creating and advocating for women in cyber. We support a growing community through events, social media, mentoring, awards, online community, publications, opportunities, offensive & defensive technical CTFs, and much much more.
We focus first on building technical skills in a no pressure environment and live by the ethos that “There’s no such thing as a stupid question, stupid people don’t ask questions”.
Unlike other such initiatives, our focus is on realistic knowledge and skill sharing between women in the security field, rather than purely social networking. We heavily incorporate technical engagment, although we do embrace our none technical members who add value to our society in so many ways. We believe that creating a stronger InfoSec structure not only benefits women, it benefits the security of the nation and the infrastructure that resides within it.
We have just started our LNHS – Ladies of Norwich Hacking Society, we have a chapter in Bristol opening this year and possibly one in Manchester towards Christmas. Our chapters are spreading, and more and more women are building their cyber career confidence. Our last meetup had a turn-out of 90 women; there is definitely a thirst for this, and we are always looking for companies to support us in catering to that demand.
Our ultimate goal is to have an LxHS (Ladies of x Hacking Society) in every city. We want women to see Cyber Security as accessible, and to do this we have to keep making the noise we are making.
It’s blowing up: why it’s working?
I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, I learned in primary school that this is not only a waste of time but an exhaustion of passion. I’m simply making a statement, an observation, speaking my truth and crossing my fingers that the things we try work. I don’t expect that anyone cares about this more than I do, I don’t feel entitled to your time, nor do I feel entitled to your support, but I hope that you feel inspired enough to give it. Afterall passion is infectious and I’m passionate about passion, passionate about security, passionate about improving the lives, situations and careers of women.
We accept women of all levels of competency- from never having touched a keyboard to ethical hackers and CISOs. The focus is on an interest in cyber as a hobby or career. Our attendees represent a staggering amount of different companies in the UK and internationally.
Our society is free to the women who attend, and it always will be. I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and education is more than a piece of paper. If one woman failed to embark on a career in cyber security because she couldn’t afford to attend LLHS, I’d see that as a reflection on me, my greed and my failure as the leader of this non-profit.
In order to keep going and satisfy the demand that is required of us, we need your help. This is where I shake my tin cup. As you may know we’ve been working very hard the past few months and the interest in our vision and mission has been overwhelming. We have 400 members on our meetup, and a growing list of opportunities to empower women in cyber, opportunities we can’t always take advantage of. So that means we need to setup fast and keep going.
We believe in 100% transparency, we will use any funding received for the growth of our cause. We are making a difference, as we continuously see the evidence of it. We need funds for start-up costs (website, marketing, kit for those who can’t afford it . . . etc).
What has the industry gained from this already?
- Our attendees are increasing their skills in information security, they are taking them back to the office and implementing them in the work place.
- Our supporters are making new hires straight from the society.
- More women are transitioning from related careers to Cyber Security.
- More women are getting interested in Cyber security.
- We are growing a network of women who don’t just want to go in to a business and point out security flaws, but they want to, and are able to, implement the necessary changes to improve security right then and there. Practically and with confidence.
In sponsoring LLHS you are sponsoring something real, something with substance, not just a money drain, a “it looks good on paper” type of agreement. You are making a difference, you are improving the security community and increasing the talent pool which will inevitably benefit you and your company. This is an investment in the future of our industry.
Eliza – Founder and Director
Kate – Director of Development
Stephen – Director of Technical Resources
Lynda – Director of Operations
If you want to be a chapter leader please get in touch via [email protected]
About the author
Eliza May Austin is the founder of LLHS (Ladies Of London Hacking Society), founder of TFTCyber (Tech For Troops Cyber),and BCS (British Computer Society) award winner in 2016.
The article was originally published at the author’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/things-women-do-eliza-may-austin-/