While women are just making their way into cybersecurity, there are still women who refrain from entering the field. Some might not be aware of how interesting cybersecurity is, while others are afraid to work in tech because of discrimination. But there are several benefits. Here’s why we should empower women to work in cybersecurity.
Internet security has long been deemed a job for men, even if no research shows that men naturally are more interested in cybersecurity. Even though more women are working in the tech industry than before, there still is a long way for greater representation. In 2017, only 14 percent of women in the United States worked in the cybersecurity field. Outside of the U.S., the numbers are even lower.
The question of equality is heated, but there is a good reason why women shouldn’t be overlooked in this context. Many women who work in information security also have degrees in social sciences for example. Therefore, they can give a new perspective and prioritize other important areas that their colleagues might overlook.
Help their peers
While the younger generation grew up with the internet, there is an older generation, who got introduced to computers and smartphones in the later years. Therefore, many of them are not even aware of the topic of cybersecurity. And unfortunately, hackers often target that group, as they are more technologically vulnerable.
By getting into cybersecurity, women can teach others why it is important to keep your computer secure. They can also help their peers and family members who aren’t that tech savvy. For example, women in tech can help by redirecting them to a password generator, which can help them create safe passwords. Having a safe password is the first step in keeping your personal information more secure.
The risk of cyber violence
An increasing threat on the internet is cyber violence, which impacts more women and girls than men. It is estimated that one in ten women has experienced some form of cyber violence since the age of 15. This includes cyber-stalking through unwanted e-mails or text messages and sexual harassment either from a partner or others. Cyberviolence is a traumatic experience, which can affect the lives of the victims.
There still needs to be more awareness on the subject, as it is treated differently from country to country. It is obviously a question of structural changes in society, where violence towards women needs to be reduced. But educating more women and girls on cybersecurity can be preventative, as it can help women and girls feel safer on the internet.
Getting more women in the field
These days, we see more successful women in cybersecurity, who are perceived as good role models for young girls wishing to enter the field. There are also initiatives working towards learning high school girls IT and how they can develop skills. For those already interested, there are several training programs, where they get help from some of the best female mentors in the industry. Getting more women in cybersecurity, requires an effort from governments, NGOs as well as society to change the norms on who can work in the field.