Here at Synergy Infosec, we honor women's history month. Women comprise half of all STEM workers in the United States overall, but this seemingly equal number hides an important disparity.
March 1, 2021
Here at Synergy Infosec, we honor women's history month. According to Wired Magazine, "Women comprise half of all STEM workers in the United States overall, but this seemingly equal number hides an important disparity." Wired points out that the disparities are noticeable as women comprise approximately 75 percent of healthcare positions and only around 15 percent in fields like engineering. Additionally, Wired notes that "… women comprise only 24 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce, in spite of making up 39 percent of the global labor force and 46 percent of the US labor force." Drawing the natural conclusion to these statistics, how can equality and representation be fostered further in the STEM field?
The Girl Scouts of America offer an answer to this question, stating that, "In 2017 we pledged to add 2.5 million girls to the STEM workforce by 2025. The following year, we collaborated with Palo Alto Networks to introduce cybersecurity badges to girls in grades K–12, and in 2019 we collaborated with Raytheon Technologies to host the first Cyber Challenge for middle and high school girls—a program that continues today." These efforts have paid off in an astonishing amount of cybersecurity badges earned. Girl Scouts of America states that "To date, more than 150,000 cybersecurity badges and over 1 million STEM badges have been earned by girls across the country." The Girl Scouts of America offer education on the cybersecurity field to help bridge the gap in representation for our youth.
The United States Department of Defense also found discrepancies of female filled positions stating that "Women and minorities are underrepresented in the cybersecurity workforce, according to a panel of women cyber leaders participating in a virtual panel discussion on women in cyber leadership." Their efforts to bridge the gap include, "… going out and trying to cultivate really young women into our workforce," she said, adding that DOD is also trying to attract retired women veterans into the cyber world. "These efforts again are trying to bridge the gaps in the representation of women in cybersecurity.
A Kaspersky Lab report found research indicating that "only 11% of young people reported having met a woman working in cybersecurity." Forbes reported on these findings stating that "When young women who have met someone who works in the sector, 63% reported thinking more positively about a cybersecurity career. Similar findings from Microsoft showed that the number of young women interested in STEM nearly doubles when they have a role model to inspire them." Throughout this research, we see that representation and role models play an essential role in women's future in cybersecurity.
Forbes researched this trend as well, finding that "Our survey respondents echoed the importance of role models. Nearly a quarter (23%) of survey respondents said that a lack of women role models was a challenge they faced at the start of their career, and a further 26% said that more diverse role models would encourage more women into cybersecurity roles." They interpret their findings as "The lack of role models perpetuates a lack of clear career development paths for women, particularly at the start of a career. If young women see examples of role models they can relate to, it can make these roles seem more attainable, desirable, and inclusive." Again, we see the idea stressed that representation and role models could make a massive impact on women's future in cybersecurity.
At Synergy Infosec, we are committed to the representation of women in cybersecurity and we celebrate women's history month. Synergy Infosec is here to empower others to take on cybersecurity issues themselves, offering tools and scanners on our easy-to-use dashboard and consulting services to fill any gaps that may be present.
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