The women on Brigham Young University's cybersecurity team made up more than half of the female representation at the 2016 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Championship, the "Olympics of college-level cyber defense."
Fortune reports that BYU's four women, seniors Sarah Cunha, Laura Wilkinson and Whitney Winder, and junior Cara Cornel, were four of the seven women participating as a members of the 10 eight-person teams.
BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Those numbers aren't unusual in the industry: women make up 10 percent of information security professionals, Fortune sites through the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium.
The lack of women specializing in cybersecurity is dangerous to the field, Jack Harrington, Raytheon vice president of special missions and cybersecurity at Raytheon, told Fortune.
"It’s a national security imperative that we find and train women," Harrington said in the Fortune article. "We've got to tap into this talent pool that's 50% of the population."
Last fall, the Deseret News delved into online studies that said Utah was the "worst state for gender inequality."
Pam Perlich, who is head of demographic research at the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, spoke with the Deseret News about the inequality in the workforce between women and men.
"What is it that leads to there being more male engineers than female engineers? There's a whole set of reasons why that can go all the way back to how little girls are treated in math classes in third grade," Perlich, who founded the Utah Women and Leadership Project, said. "The whole culture around women and math and science and engineering — there's been changes, but Utah is just trending behind the nation in the speed of changes in gender equity in pay and employment."
Susan Madsen, who founded the Utah Women and Leadership Project, said women in Utah women often choose to work in female-dominated fields such as teaching and nursing.
She clarified that she did not object to women these careers, but, as a business professor at Utah Valley University, would like to see women to try their hand at business-related fields, and stay in school.
"We need to talk to girls, especially in my religion, about the importance of family, but also about the importance of education and the importance of being engaged in our communities," Madsen, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in the article. "There's space in life to really focus on your kids but to do other things as well."
Fortune reports that because the cyber defense industry is experiencing a talent crisis, "Raytheon and other defense contractors have launched aggressive recruitment initiatives," which includes the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Championship.
Cunha, who majored in Information Technology, said her involvement in the field was surprising to her classmates.
“I've gotten a lot of 'Oh, I didn't picture you doing that.' People see it as a good thing, but it's still kind of surprising. Maybe slightly intimidating," she told Fortune.