Diversity in Cybersecurity for Superior Outcomes

Overview

National Center for Women & Information Technology

America must address the cultural problem of gender bias in IT and computing occupational settings.  Research shows that IT and computing are male-dominant cultures where women feel unwelcome.  Almost half of women in the technology world report that gender biases influence performance evaluations at work, and twenty-five percent believe that they are seen as intrinsically less capable than the men in their companies.  It’s these unconscious and conscious biases that ultimately stand in the way of advancing women’s retention, leadership, and creativity particularly in IT and computing companies.  Anecdotally, I have learned of top intelligence agency officials pursuing short-term, stop gap policies that will exacerbate this problem. I refer to stop gap attempts to fill cybersecurity jobs at intelligence agencies by recruiting students who are proficient in IT and hacking, but focusing mostly on recent high school boy graduates.  The boys are encouraged to skip college and go straight into the workforce.  This so-called “solution” is rooted in unconscious biases about who is “right” for these jobs and related assumptions that boys have “innate” talent, even when sociologists find no scientific basis for that prejudice.  That is a problem.

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