In Uganda, Africa and the world at large, the representation of Women in the Technology space leaves a lot to be desired. Such is the case for Women in Cyber-security. The erroneous perception is that Cyber Security, like most tech fields, is a man’s world, and yet this could not be farther from the truth.
The representation of women in Cyber Space is therefore an aspect that we at Digital Literacy Africa will passionately pursue to bridge that gap. What inspires this program is, the fact that the low representation of Women in Cyber Security in Uganda means, the sphere lack diverse perspectives if the majority are male. Experts say, 90% of Uganda is cyber insecure with Cyber emerging security threats like Denial-of-service attacks, Data espionage, Natural threats, Sabotage, Frauds, Malicious attacks, Message falsification, Vandalism, Copyright Violations, cyber stalking etc. We believe women can be a part of this solution.
“There is at least a perception that the industry is “techie” and therefore more suited to men than women. This is a societal issue. STEM fields, in general, have become associated with men.” – Susan Morrow
The representation of women creates a balance that is much-needed. That said, the core aim of this program is to bring Women In Cyber Security (in Uganda) together for purposes of sharing their experiences – especially; the challenges they face as women in this field and how to navigate them, share experiences during learning and at work that others can learn from, network to broaden their human capital and find and connect aspiring women in cyber security by connecting them to mentors.
Overall, women need to support each other and, how can they do this if they are not holding each other’s hands. A great amount of our focus is aimed at inspiring Women to not shy away from pursuing a career in Cyber Security. We understand that, for this to happen, we would have to start really early. Here is where our work in schools, and higher institutions of learning comes into play.
When Women are presented with Cyber Security as a field they can specialize in through mentors and role models, it will be easier for their representation in the field to improve. Some of the ideas we intend to explore include, identifying girls who have a keen interest in technology and Cyber Security, offering them mentorship and organizing competitions for them with winners being highly rewarded. We hope to do this during the school-term and in a manner that evokes curiosity among their peers.
Beyond having higher representation of Women In Cyber Security, a key aspect to deal with is addressing the Gender Bias that exists in the employment-sector. Through targeted campaigns online (through New Media) and Traditional Media, as well as engaging the various stakeholders, DLI will fight to have employers use gender-neutral languages when advertising jobs.
We intend to challenge some Tech Companies within Uganda to increase on the representation of Women, in not just their Cyber Security department but in their Technology departments as a whole.
Are you a Woman in the cyber Security field? We leave you with these words,
“For any woman entering cyber, be fearless. Take the initiative to learn and grow. People are going to challenge you. Never give up.” – Mari Gallaway