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What do the '90s hold for women in security?

THIS PART FALL I attended a number of ASIS-sponsored conferences and workshops as well as other professional activities. I took particular notice of the number of women that attended the functions. I was curious to find out if these women were career security professionals, representatives from other corporate departments, or attending because other colleagues could not.

I asked many of the women what security disciplines they found most challenging, if they considered themselves decision makers, and were they certified protection professionals (CPPs).

I was surprised by certain responses, delighted with some, and discouraged by others. Most women I spoke with are conscious of working in a male-dominated profession. That fact was recognized and reconciled in the same breath.

Women in security know that new ground cannot be broken until the field is prepared, the remaining trees of prejudice pruned, the boulders of bigotry removed, and discrimination destroyed. It is time for new ground to be broken.

How do security professionals prepare for the escalating security challenges? We must continue developing those core attributes and abilities such as education, motivation, and dedication. We must look for ways to economize and stretch every security dollar. We must analyze and resolve security concerns and issues in our environment. Finally, we must continue to be dynamos of strength and steadfast in making the correct, moral, professional, ethical, and environmentally safe decisions for all people involved.

Women security professionals of the '90s are goal-oriented, have plans, and are committed to being the best at what they do. These women are involved in their communities and professions, have vision, and are not willing to settle for status quo.

These women are continually fine-tuning their tools, plowing and pruning the risk areas in their field, and cultivating their coworkers to produce a better security-oriented product.

To my surprise, however, only 6.1 percent of ASIS's membership is comprised of women, and many women do not know about the CPP program sponsored by the Society.

Also, less than 10 percent of the members of the association who take the CPP exam are women. For example, of the candidates who took the exam in 1990, 10.2 percent were women, and in 1991, 5.3 percent of the candidates were women. In 1991, there were only a total of nine women who achieved CPP certification while 137 men were certified.

Other comparisons among CPP examinees such as age, ethnic background, education, and motivation for taking the CPP exam are about equal. However, in the areas of "years in security/experience" and "corporate management positions," the percentages are much higher for men. The CPP designation is important; after education and experience, professional certification is the next logical step for all professionals.

As security professionals--male and female--we know many challenges await us in the coming decade. The security professional of the '90s must be statute, proficient, perceptive, adaptable, dedicated, and above all multidisciplined to manage effectively.

While we are going to do more with less or less with less depending on individual or corporate circumstances, one factor is certain: We all will make decisions in the workplace that are based on criteria vastly different from that of 10 or even two years ago.

I believe the '90s offer women the opportunity and the challenges to expand their horizons and to experience the exhilaration of a field that is ready to receive and respond to women security professionals. Catherine I. Allen, CPP, is corporate director of security for RECON/OPTICAL INC. She is a member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Government Security.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Viewpoint
Author:Allen, Catherine I.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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