February 11 is an important day that might slip under the radar if you’re not looking. It’s the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021. Supported by UNESCO the day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

It’s a fact that girls and women are particularly under-represented in fields requiring science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) skills and knowledge. This under-representation is significant and detrimental to both individuals and society. In addition to being required for ‘traditional’ and ‘emerging’ occupations, STEM skills and knowledge are essential for our digital age.

It’s not that women don’t want to go into tech. However, they encounter barriers that put them off. In the tech industry young women under the age of 25 earn on average 29 % less than their male counterparts, according to salary database Comparably.

ISACA, the international professional association focused on IT governance, conducted a global survey of women in tech to find out why women remain under represented in tech. The survey revealed that 39% of respondents reported gender bias in the workplace as barriers. Furthermore, 36% cited unequal growth opportunities compared to men. And 35% said unequal pay for the same skills was a barrier.
  • Tech businesses with women in executive positions do incredibly well. Both Facebook and Google have women in prominent positions on their boards. In fact, female executives make up nearly half of Google’s management team.
The success of these companies isn’t a coincidence. Numerous studies have revealed the economic benefits of diversity. According to a McKinsey study, Why Diversity Matters, companies in the top quarter for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have better financial returns.
  • Diversity brings different perspectives, insight and understanding which in turn brings different ways of doing and seeing things, often leading to new initiatives, new business and more success.
Cyber security

Cyber security is an incredibly interesting and challenging area to work in. It’s an area that never stands still and one in which changes happen fast. For every new technology such as AI, machine learning and there Internet of Things there are new cyber security challenges which require STEM skills.
  • Think of electric cars. Behind the scene, current developments are moving towards smart roads, and even smart traffic lights, that will power cars as they drive. Cyber security is an essential component in the success of these advancements.
  • Internet of Things technology is already gathering pace. As 5G networks become ubiquitous more and more devices will be added until we reach a point where billions of devices are connected globally. Cyber security is at the centre of protecting these networks and devices.
  • For years an invisible war has been taking place between hackers, cyber criminals and predators, and those who are charged with protecting individuals, companies and nation states. Cyber security and STEM skills are critical for defence and to defeat the cyber villains.
And people need protecting online too, whether it’s your grandparents, parents, siblings or friends. The estimated global cost of cybercrime has reached over $1 trillion, a staggering amount. And among these losses are countless individuals and families.
  • BullGuard has built its consumer cyber security champion status by putting the customer first and developing cyber security that is one step ahead of cybercrime trends. This includes for instance the introduction of advanced machine learning that identifies and blocks attacks as they are developing.
If you know of women and girls, perhaps still at school, who want to develop STEM skills and enter the exciting field of cyber security check out Women in Cyber Security. This organisation is dedicated to helping women and girls carve out a career in this extremely important industry.

The cyber security industry already has important and influential women in significant positions, but it needs more to successfully meet new challenges. The roles are pioneering and at the cutting edge of tech developments all of which help protect individuals and societies.