Women in IT: Power of Equality

Gender imbalance in the IT industry: causes and challenges

There is a major gender imbalance in the IT industry, which has considerably more male specialists than female ones. This phenomenon is due to a number of factors, ranging from cultural biases to social stereotypes. Computer technology was initially associated with male interests and hobbies, fostering a distinct culture that excluded women. Over time, this stereotype took hold and became part of the professional identity of the IT sector. In addition, this imbalance is exacerbated by the problem of inequality that women face in every industry, including IT. Not all companies provide the same conditions for their employees, and this hinders the attraction and retention of talented women. According to the Russian Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, there was a 28 percent disparity between the salaries of men and women in Russia at the beginning of 2023 in favor of the former, although this gap is narrowing each year. Women’s careers advance at a slower pace than that of their male counterparts. One of the reasons for this is parental leave, which mothers usually prefer to take, although Kaspersky also provides such leave to fathers if they wish to take it.

Nevertheless, the number of women in the IT industry is gradually increasing. At the beginning of 2023, the share of women working in the tech industry worldwide was 25 percent, an increase of 6.9 p.p. over the past four years. At Kaspersky, women make up 25 percent of the workforce, including 16 percent of the Company’s department heads and major managers, and 34 percent of technical specialists.

25 %
female IT specialists worldwide in 2022
Women made up
25 %
of Kaspersky’s employees in 2023

Our approach to supporting women

We are also committed to ensuring equal pay for every Kaspersky employee. Our approach to remuneration considers each employee’s position and qualifications, regardless of gender. To this end, we use an estimate of the market compensation level for each position. Based on this assessment, we decided to increase the salaries of Kaspersky’s employees by an average of 20 percent in 2022 in Russia. The Company was able to invest twice as much in salaries and bonuses compared with 2021. In 2023, remuneration for Kaspersky’s employees in Russia increased by around 19 percent.

We also provide our employees with additional support and benefits during maternity leave, as well as educational opportunities in their field of work, and help advance their careers through individual development plans.

We are also implementing various projects externally to attract more women to the IT industry. In particular, we cooperate with educational institutions around the world and organize educational events, master classes and internship programs. On social media, we have created the Women in CyberSecurity community – a space where women can seek support and mentorship on their path to success in the cybersecurity sector. This community already has more than 30,000 members.

To inspire as many girls as possible to pursue a career in IT and cybersecurity, Kaspersky has also launched another online project – the Empower Women website. Our Company’s female employees share their personal journeys in cybersecurity and IT. They discuss their educational paths, career development, participate in podcasts, and provide valuable insights and advice.

Increasing the number of women in IT development

Boosting women’s involvement in the IT industry and supporting them is an integral part of Kaspersky’s corporate culture, which is shaped by the board of directors and senior management. We strive to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding in all units, in which each woman can realize her potential and become successful in the IT sector. In addition, women who have already achieved success at various levels actively take part in support programs, communicate with their colleagues and subordinates, share their experience and inspire aspiring IT specialists with their example.

Kaspersky strives to be as honest and open as possible in order to prevent gender discrimination. When selecting new employees for our team, we only care about their abilities and skills, regardless of whether they are women or men. What’s important is that whoever they are, they have the necessary expertise and the contribution they can make to our Company.

Company employees by gender and category
Ratio of basic wages (salary) and remunerationSalary and benefits depending on category, length of employment and other factors. for women and menData given as of December 31, 2023.%

Social support for women and parenthood

  • Parental leave, which can be taken by any parent, regardless of whether the child is their own, adopted or under their care
  • We match 100 percent of the government’s maternity benefit, so that total remuneration is equal to a full salary for employees who have worked at the Company for at least one year
  • A pregnancy and childbirth program as part of voluntary health insurance

Uniting women in online cybersecurity communities

The Company is currently implementing two major online projects for women in IT. We are committed to supporting women in the IT industry, helping them overcome barriers and achieving their goals. Our goal is to share information about career opportunities in the industry and inspire our members with stories of successful female professionals to create new role models.

In 2021, we launched the Empower Women project with a focus on women’s activities in cybersecurity. The project includes research about women in the IT industry in various regions, interesting news, as well as the inspiring Women in IT podcast, where Kaspersky’s employees share their professional and personal experiences. During the reporting period, 11 new stories about our colleagues from different regions of the world were posted on the website, where women share stories about their professional and personal development. We aim to showcase the wide range of career opportunities in the IT industry – many of our female employees do not have a technical education, but managed to achieve impressive results in their professional fields within an IT company, be it sales, educational projects or communications.

Another Kaspersky project that addresses female leadership in IT is the Fast Forward podcast. It features guests from all over the world who work at the forefront of our latest technologies. The first season of Fast Forward, which included episodes that focused on the supermarket of the future and the new space race, received the prestigious 2022 Webby Honoree Award for Best Branded Podcast and a Silver Award for Branded Podcast from the Content Marketing Association. In its second season, “Fast Forward” covers such issues as the metaverse, virtual fashion, technology in family life, digital health and so‑called augmented humans. This season, the podcast focuses heavily on how women are changing the way they think about technology, and starting to lead the way. The two episodes focus on women and girls in gaming and career opportunities for women in STEM.

Our Women in CyberSecurity community, which we created on social media five years ago at the initiative of one of our employees, has also been a huge success. Today, it is an active and rapidly developing community that brings together cybersecurity professionals and other areas of the IT industry. Women use it every day to discuss topical issues, share their professional experiences and exchange advice on career growth, training and choosing a specialization in the field of cybersecurity. Women in CyberSecurity currently has more than 30,000 members, which makes it one of the largest and most popular online communities on this subject. More than 20 posts are published in the community each month.

In November 2023, Kaspersky sponsored the annual Female in IT (FIT) congress of the Vogel IT Academy in Germany. The congress brings together women who work in IT so that they can support each other in business, exchange experience and promote young talent. The slogan for 2023 was “Women, get ready for the next generation of business!”. The Congress impressed its participants with a first‑class program of interesting presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

  • Excellent Woman ICT Leadership Award: Genie received this award in Delhi as part of International Girls in ICT Day 2023, which is celebrated to draw attention to the need to increase the number of girls and women in the information and communications technology sector. The event was jointly organized by the Geneva‑based United Nations International Telecommunication Union and the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India. Genie was the sole recipient in the cybersecurity sector.
“As the only recipient of the award for the cybersecurity sector, this recognition isn’t just a personal achievement, but an endorsement of Kaspersky, which has been nothing but enabling and supportive of my work endeavors, and is committed to creating a more diverse, more secure industry and championing women in cybersecurity.”

Genie said in comments about her award.

Genie was appointed vice‑chairperson of the IWEF, which emphasizes the multidimensional development of women, including their social, economic, financial, and political empowerment. Genie is the only non‑Indian to serve on the IWEF board of directors.

Genie was a finalist in Singapore’s The Cybersecurity Awards (Professional Category). She received the award, which is organized by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) and supported by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, in recognition of the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to local and regional cybersecurity ecosystems.

Genie was named one of the Top 25 Cybersecurity Stars of 2023, an award presented by DIGITALCONFEX for contributions to intellectual leadership on topics where public policy, technology and law intersect.

Genie received the Top 30 Women in Security ASEAN Region Awards 2023, which is organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and is part of the global Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA) campaign.

What was the result?

By actively promoting IT and supporting other women along this path, Genie has become an inspiring example, showing that anyone can achieve success in the world of technology, regardless of gender. Her story shows that hard work, education, and support can propel women to great results, even in traditionally male‑dominated industries.