'Gender and Cybersecurity' aims to explore the possible reasons for and solutions to address this gender gap. This initiative will organize forums, panel discussions and workshops to discuss good practices for promoting more inclusive career opportunities in cybersecurity, while exploring avenues for making this field attractive to a more diverse group.

Purpose

There is a clear gender gap in the cybersecurity field. Today, only 10% of the global information security workforces are women. There are many different social, institutional and personal barriers that can hinder women’s advancement in the cybersecurity field. For instance, many studies point out that IT continues to be a male-oriented culture, which may be one of the reasons why so few young women pursue a career in digital security. This initiative will therefore explore the possible reasons for and solutions to address this gap. This initiative will also promote policies to counter online abuse and gender-based violence. The Internet has become a tool used by criminals to commit both traditional and new types of crime against women. Furthermore, there seems to be a lack of awareness regarding online gender-based violent behavior, and the potential measures to address and prevent such online abuse. This data reveals the importance of designing cybersecurity awareness-raising messages and campaigns tailored to address gender-specific challenges.

 Initiator: Government of Spain

Co-Sponsor: General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS)

Outputs and activities:

Bearing this in mind, the Government of Spain and OAS/CICTE, through its Cybersecurity Program, will promote information exchange and knowledge development on gender and cybersecurity. This initiative will organize forums, panel discussions and workshops to discuss good practices for promoting more inclusive career opportunities in cybersecurity, while exploring avenues for making this field attractive to a more diverse group. The events organized in the framework of this initiative will also encourage stakeholders to take into account the different impact that cyber threats and cybercrime have on men and women when formulating cybersecurity awareness-raising campaigns and tools.

A first activity on "Gender and Cybersecurity: creating a more inclusive digital world v 1.0" took place from June 5-6, 2017, in Leon, Spain, at Spain’s National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE) headquarters. For more information about the Forum, please visit the forum’s webpage and presentations. The event consisted of panel discussions and workshops focused on good practices for promoting more inclusive career opportunities in cybersecurity, while exploring avenues for making this field attractive to a more diverse group. The event was encouraged stakeholders to take into account the different impact that cyber threats and cybercrime have on men and women when formulating cybersecurity awareness-raising campaigns and tools

A draft report about the main takeaways of this first forum was prepared and shared with the participants of the event for their comments and feedback. The OAS/CICTE Cybersecurity Program and INCIBE also interviewed participants and experts from the region to learn about case studies and good practices from the region on cybersecurity and gender diversity. Other working group discussions will be organized in Latin America and the Caribbean to move forward with this agenda. The GS/OAS has agreed to either host or identify a Member State that could host a follow-up activity on "Gender and Cybersecurity: creating a more inclusive digital world v 2.0."

Expected outcomes

Encouraging gender diversity in the cybersecurity field will not only contribute to developing a cybersecurity workforce that is more qualified, but also one that is better prepared to deliver cybersecurity solutions. This initiative will also help different stakeholders better understand their roles and responsibilities in reducing the gender gap in cybersecurity and to counter online gender-based abuse. It is also expected that Internet end-users, particularly women, will have access to more information and tools to protect themselves from online abuse.

Target beneficiaries

Direct beneficiaries will include government officials with responsibility for the drafting and implementation of digital security policies, law enforcement officers, digital and information security professionals from the public and private sectors, academia, and civil society actors. Indirect beneficiaries will potentially include Internet end-users, including those vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and cybercrime.