DIVERSITY IN THE SECURITY INDUSTRY
Do an image search using the terms “security manager,” “security director,” or “security professional,” and the results will be fairly predictable. With its roots in law enforcement especially in my mother country Kenya, the security industry has long been dominated by men, whether in management, sales, or technical positions.
In recent years, however, this has begun to change. First making inroads in traditionally female roles like marketing and human resources, now more women are making their mark in leadership and other types of roles across the security industry. In fact, the last 10 years has demonstrated to professionals across all industries that business growth is best achieved by eliminating limitations based on gender. Yes Diversity is looking good. While the proportion of women to men continues to lag behind that reality, the balance is shifting and becoming more visible in the security industry as well. Can you argue about that?
A few pioneers have paved the way over the years and present a more balanced model of what a security professional might look like. Let’s make our company the case study Senaca EA. As one of the earliest women in a top management position in the company since inception, CEO Naomi Kipkorir co-founded the company in 2002 and built it over the next few years into being awarded as the most innovative security company in 2019 at the Real Estate Excellence Awards. How amazing is this.
Home grown security officer Eunice Ndeto has risen through the ranks to become an expert in matters of the Control Room and Operational Excellence. Mercy Bonareri a Human Resource practitioner has continued to provide guidance to strengthen security operation for our organization in the highly labor intensive field. Annette Kimitei who has vastly grown in the industry, regardless of her not being a conventional security expert has helped shape the National conversation about the role of women and the diversity of security in current Information age, she was a moderator at the 2020 Women In Safety Excellence Official Global Launch. Main topic of discussion being “The Call for Diversity in Security”
There is good reason to applaud the growing presence of women in every type of security role. In a leadership effectiveness study conducted recently via HR World. Women were rated higher than men in twelve of the fifteen functions listed. The roles included sales, operations, finance, management, engineering and other positions traditionally held by men. Women were rated as excelling in – among other things – taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results and displaying high integrity and honesty. Are you shocked yet? In fact, they were thought to be more effective in 84 percent of the capabilities that we most frequently measure to differentiate excellent leaders, according to a Harvard Business Review article. It is also worth noting that women have traditionally been, and are often still, described as being stronger in the areas of compassion and empathy and as being able to work out compromises.Today, a fast-growing number of organizations within the security industry are hiring and promoting women in a wider range of roles. This is even evident in our country where we have women sitting in the National Security Table like Honorable Raychelle Omamo. Have you not seen women taking positions in the cyber-security field? You may have. We foresee a future where women will be taking their place as thought leaders, technology experts and accomplished specialists in this field.
A number of industry groups have been created to offer community, education and networking opportunities for women. ASIS International created the Global ASIS Women in Security Council to provide resources and assistance to women in the security industry, as well as to inspire those interested in entering the security industry. Have you heard about it? The council offers mentoring, volunteering and other support opportunities for its members. The growing presence of women in the security industry is without question a positive trend. As more young women enter the field, they will continue to bring with them the benefits of a more balanced workplace and a wider point of view, which is definitely something to celebrate.
We encourage both men and women to join this conversation.
The Call for Diversity in Security.