The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced a new collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to bring more women into the cybersecurity workforce and work together to bridge the gender gap.
“It will take real collaboration to close the cybersecurity gender gap and I am thrilled to strengthen and solidify an already fantastic collaboration with GSUSA to help us get there,” CISA Director Jen Easterly said in a statement.
“CISA and GSUSA share a common goal to close the gender gap in technology and to inspire the next generation of cybersecurity leaders,” she said.
The cybersecurity industry is missing out on a huge portion of the population’s talent pool if women don’t pursue careers in cybersecurity. To close this gap, “it’s critical we foster an interest in cybersecurity in young girls – even as early as grade school,” CISA said in a press release.
According to a report by Women in CyberSecurity and Cybersecurity Ventures (WiCyS), in 2022 women held 25 percent of cybersecurity jobs globally. Yet, women make up 51 percent of the population.
In 2017, CISA collaborated with GSUSA to create 18 cybersecurity badges, and in less than five years GSUSA has awarded more than 315,00 cybersecurity badges.
A few years later, the Department of Homeland Security and CISA partnered with CYBER.ORG and GSUSA in to launch the 2021 Girl Scout Cyber Awareness Challenge to help develop the next generation of diverse cybersecurity talent and strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity resilience.
As part of this most recent collaboration between the two organizations, CISA will participate in the 2023 Girl Scout Convention at Phenom by Girl Scouts this summer.
“The Girl Scouts celebrated their 111th birthday and as we kick off Girl Scouts Week, I can’t think of a better way to recognize their impact on every community in America than to formalize our relationship so we can continue to work together to train the next generation of cybersecurity talent our nation so badly needs,” Easterly said.
CISA will also continue to share tips for girls and their families to stay safe online, not only as they navigate the increasingly digital world, but also as they learn entrepreneurship skills when selling their famous Girl Scout Cookies.
CISA said its involvement is part of a broader effort “to ensure the field of cybersecurity reflects the diversity of America because such diversity translates into diversity of thought, enabling better problem-solving.”
“Closing the gender gap in cybersecurity can ease the cyber workforce shortage, which in turn will make the nation more ready and prepared to take on the threats of today and those of tomorrow,” the agency said.