“Cybersecurity is a global problem that necessitates wide ranging dialogues with experts of all backgrounds, nationalities, and career paths.”

Cybersecurity Coalition Pledge: “Making Space”

The modern field of cybersecurity would not exist without the work of women, people of color, and other thought leaders from underrepresented communities. Many of our nation’s first computer programmers were women, working as “code girls” in WW2, including women of color. Alan Turing famously contributed to breaking the Nazis’ cryptography before being prosecuted for his homosexuality. In short, since the early 1940s, a diverse group of people helped build the computer systems and networks that are the cornerstone of today’s society.

However, these historic contributions from underrepresented communities aren’t evident if you look at many of the events and panels on cybersecurity policy in Washington D.C. and beyond. These debates are critical to shaping policy, but also in determining what issues are and are not discussed. This lack of diversity hinders our nation’s political discourse, by limiting the number and types of voices shaping policy, and hampers our nation’s security as a result.

Cybersecurity is a global problem that necessitates wide ranging dialogues with experts of all backgrounds, nationalities, and career paths. Our field, and the representation of it in public events, needs to be as diverse as the problems we are trying to solve. Building on the great work of others in this space, we are urging concrete action to step away from the staid policy debates of the past and move deliberately into the future.

With history as background, we, the undersigned, pledge that we will increase the diversity of speakers and experts at events within and/or funded by our programs and organizations. For panels consisting of three or more speakers, inclusive of moderators, we pledge to recruit and include at least one woman or member of an underrepresented community (e.g. LGTBQIA, BIPOC, LatinX, Hispanic, people with disabilities) to add value to our learning and viewpoints that are not adequately represented within the cybersecurity field. For our conference partners, we pledge to consider both the representation at the individual panel level as well as the conference speakers and keynote speakers as a whole, to create a holistically representative atmosphere at our events.

Diversity is security. In support of #ShareTheMicInCyber’s movement to eradicate systemic racism in the cyber industry we pledge to make that a reality with this actionable step. While ensuring diversity on our panels and at our conferences is a small step, it will hopefully contribute to a broader recognition that diversity, equity, and inclusion, are critical to society’s broader economic development, well-being and security.

This pledge is just the first step in the ongoing dialogue necessary to create a culture that seeks to nurture talent, elevate a diversity of ideas and individuals, and enhance the scholarship within the cybersecurity policy space.  Including a broader array of voices in these discussions will not only improve the debate, but also encourage a diverse pool of people to join cybersecurity and help ensure cybersecurity policy accurately reflects the perspectives and concerns of society at large.

Coalition partners:


  1. American University Washington College of Law, Tech Law & Security Program
  2. The Aspen Institute Aspen Digital Program
  3. Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
  4. Auburn University McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security
  5. UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity
  6. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Cyber Policy Initiative
  7. Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS)
  8. Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy at the University of Cincinnati
  9. Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  10. Craig Newmark Philanthropies
  11. Cybercrime Support Network (CSN)  
  12. CyberPeace Institute
  13. Cybereason
  14. Drift
  15. Global Cyber Alliance
  16. Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
  17. Ford Foundation
  18. Girl Security 
  19. Hathaway Global Strategies LLC
  20. Hewlett Foundation Cyber Initiative
  21. ICS Village
  22. Indiana University Bloomington
  23. Inkstick
  24. The Institute for Security and Technology
  25. Lawfare
  26. MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative 
  27. R Street Institute, Cybersecurity & Emerging Threats
  28. Rapid7
  29. SimplySecure
  30. Stanford University Cyber Policy Center
  31. TechCongress
  32. Third Way
  33. Tufts University Cyber Security and Policy Program
  34. Twitter


  1. Ben Buchanan, Director of Cybersecurity and AI project at Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET)
  2. Suzanne E. Spaulding, Senior Advisor of Homeland Security and Director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at International Security Program (ISP), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  3. Camille Stewart, Co-founder of #sharethemicincyber
  4. Lauren Zabierek, Co-founder of #sharethemicincyber, and Executive Director of the Cyber project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
  5. Maitreyi Sistla, Deputy Director of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub
  6. Lauren Buitta, Founder & CEO of Girl Security
  7. Laicie Heeley, Editor in Chief of Inkstick
  8. Nina A. Kollars, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Strategic and Operational Research Department at U.S. Naval War College
  9. Stéphane Duguin, CEO of CyberPeace Institute
  10. Duncan Hollis, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law
  11. Kathleen M. Carley, Professor of Computer Science at College of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), Carnegie Mellon University
  12. Melissa Hathaway, President at Hathaway Global Strategies LLC
  13. Richard J. Harknett, Professor & Chair at Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy at the University of Cincinnati  
  14. Rob Duhart, Head of Federated Security at Google

We welcome and encourage other organizations to sign onto this pledge. We will be updating the list of signatories again in January 2021.

Sign the pledge.

Press release: R Street Institute helps organize coalition pledging ‘equal space’ for women and minorities in cybersecurity

R Street Institute Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats webpage.

Last updated: January 21, 2021