Gender Issues

It all started with a Pillow Fight….

February 9, 2012

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At least the friendships did, and through the conversations over on the BSides threads that have been going on for sometime now, the direction has changed to history. Even though there has been much controversy around BSides, it is time that it moves forward with the ideas and principles that it was set out with. One of the ideas of BSides was being the opportunity to get talks/presentations to the public that the “big-box” conferences would never accept.

In 2009 for DefCon 17 a group of us girls (Ladies, Women, whatever makes you happy to be called… I prefer girls in this context) were planning a “Sec-y Pillowfight” to support EFF. What a mess this became as it brought into question how we view females and especially how females are treated and viewed in the InfoSec field. It was because of the first BSidesLV being planned that the idea of a panel discussion (Feathers will fly Panel! – Professional Image and Gender Issues for Women in Security) about the Pillowfight and the gender issues around it came to be. I knew a few of the people already that were going to be on the panel, like Jennifer Jabbusch @jjx and Stacy Thayer @StacyThayer,  but it was because of the collaboration that I became friends with four other incredible women in information security (Leigh HoneywellLeigh HollowellNicolle Neulist, and Magen Hughes)! The idea sharing and discussions have lasted far past the first panel, and well into today.

This is what SecurityBSides is to me. SecurityBSides is an opportunity to share ideas, have open dialogue with presenters during presentations, bring about new ideas, and foster lifelong friendships (professional and otherwise).

The idea of BSides will live far beyond the brand because the entire community is what creates the heartbeat of BSides. Yet, I would prefer the brand heal, as it is very special to a lot of us.

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