Insider Intelligence: Helping to Further Women in Security

Oct. 12, 2022
Adopting these concepts in an organization will go a long way to addressing the challenges women face in security workplaces

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

PSA recently launched a women’s committee to bring female employees of PSA integrators together to discuss challenges facing women in the security industry, solutions and how we can attract more women to the industry.

The early discussions in the group have spanned topics of being called a less than flattering five-letter word when a man would simply be called direct, finding role models who are like us, how women treat each other in professional settings, and how we attract other women to the industry.

The future of our industry depends on our ability to attract and retain diverse talent, including women. So how do we support the women at our organizations, and will that ultimately drive other females to join the industry? Here are some topics that have come out of our meetings so far:

Create settings for camaraderie and mentorship:

Just like our PSA women’s committee or the Security Industry Association’s Women in Security Forum, creating allyship for women is tremendously beneficial. Whether directly in your organization or through harnessing industry resources, encourage your female employees to participate in these opportunities. Likewise, ensure you are mentoring your female employees and developing them as professionals.

Recognition and pay equality:

Last year at a PSA event, one of our integrators explained that as they acquired other integrators, they reviewed pay across the organization to ensure women were being paid equally with men. They discovered that, in fact, there were many instances where females in the exact same job functions were making less than male counterparts. This integrator raised pay in these instances for the employees impacted.

Similarly, make sure both formal and informal recognition programs are highlighting the accomplishments of the women at your organization. A simple call out in a meeting about the great work someone did goes a long way or telling someone in passing how much you appreciate them or their work. Our CEO, Matt Barnette, is well known for handwritten notes of appreciation or kudos.

Call out sexist behavior when you see it:

In our meeting, we all admitted to laughing off comments or behaviors that are sexist – such as coworkers telling females they should smile more on Zoom calls or regularly being interrupted or talked over by male coworkers. While you don’t have to be confrontational or rude, pulling aside another coworker who partakes in this behavior helps address the issue.

Performance reviews and coaching:

We know statistically that women stall on the track for promotion before men do. Having yearly performance reviews with regular check ins about performance is a great way to keep the conversation open with female employees and encourage their development. Likewise, ensure your organization offers training for managers to help them with conscious and unconscious bias, how to conduct performance reviews, etc.

Offer flexibility:

A good friend of mine is a young, female leader. I see her regularly juggle being a mother and climbing the corporate ladder, and I sympathize with the journey. She recently said to me, “I can’t help but feel that if I didn’t have children, I’d be further along in my career.” The reality is, sometimes I must unplug from an important project or meeting when my child is sick. Often my laptop is out at my daughter’s cheer practice while I wrap up my work for the day. If I had no flexibility to do these things, I wouldn’t be where I am, and my organization would miss out on what I bring to the table.

Addressing these issues not just ensures our organizations are equitable places to work, but it also helps attract more women to security. An organization’s best advertisement is a happy, engaged employee. Likewise, people need to see role models who look like them in positions of power to understand it is possible for them as well.

Candice Aragon is VP of Marketing and Education for PSA Security Network. Request more info about PSA at