Increasing the Participation of Young Women in Cybersecurity
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The gender disparity that affects cybersecurity is not new, but it is particularly discouraging for women, who represent only 11% of all cybersecurity professionals around the world. It is also reported that very few have leaderships positions. This study has the goal of increasing the participation of young underrepresented groups of women in cybersecurity education and awareness activities, leading the way to increasing their participation in the field. The project was carried out over a period of several months using data from 213 young girls ages 13-18 that were visited at Junior and High Schools in Puerto Rico. Presentations and other activities were given on the topic and data was collected on their knowledge, previous experiences, and interest in the field. The main objective of this study is to promote awareness and increase their interest in cybersecurity related professions before they start college. The author explains what motivated her to initiate this project, the problems that exist, the activities that were developed, results and the proposed solutions. The author also describes the steps and considerations that are currently being taken to contribute to this effort at the local and national level. Key Terms ⎯ Cybersecurity Awareness, Gender Disparity, Research and Education, Women in Cybersecurity.