This was the question I tried to answer at the European Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Conference two weeks ago. Summing up a case study where we compare women in cybersecurity with women in other IT disciplines, I talked about which similarities and differences we found between the two groups. The study is based on 24 in-depth interviews with women studying or holding PhD, Postdoc or early research recruitment positions in academia, 12 in cybersecurity and 12 in other IT disciplines in STEM faculties.
Women are a minority in cybersecurity as well as IT in general, however, there has been some overall improvement in women’s participation, but not in cybersecurity. The graphs below visualize the massive male dominance in these disciplines.
Women in Cybersecurity and women in other IT disciplines share some features, like a notable lack of knowledge about IT disciplines when they are in transition between upper secondary/high school and university. The unfortunate result is that stereotypical ideas of IT, with images of male «geeks» and «hooded gamers» who had started programming early, dominate women’s expectations of ICT at university, and they don’t see themselves fit within this image: «I had never programmed before in my life“. The interviews document that there is still a strong association of IT with masculine stereotypes, and more, such ideas about IT becomes a barrier for women to choose any IT disciplines, including cybersecurity.
There are also differences between women in cybersecurity and other IT fields, for instance that cybersecurity was described as open for a more varied set of competences. The women could recognize their own strengths and expertise from otherdisciplines, like arts and social sciences, as relevant in cybersecurity, and this became an important door opener for many of them. We also found that it was easier for women to understand and associate themselves with the goals of cybersecurity rather than with the goals of other IT disciplines. They saw cybersecurity as a field concerning «everybody» and everyday life, thus not only relevant for women but also in need of women.
You can hopefully read more when the paper is published by ACM as: Corneliussen, H. G. (2020). What Brings Women to Cybersecurity? A Qualitative Study of Women’s Pathways to Cybersecurity in Norway, European Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Conference (EICC 2020).
Our new article (with Fay Tveranger) is out, online, open access for anyone to read!
Hilde G. Corneliussen and Fay Tveranger. 2018. Programming in secondary schools in Norway – a wasted opportunity for inclusion. In Proceedings of Gender&IT’18, Heilbronn, Germany, May 2018 (Gender&IT’18), ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3196839.3196867
This paper discusses a pilot introducing programming as anelective in Norwegian secondary schools. Computing is a male dominated field, in Norway as in other European and Western countries. Despite the male dominance in the field, there were no gender inclusion or diversity measures included in the pilot . Theresult is an elective heavily dominated by boys and a wasted chance of attracting girls to computing.
I have not attended this conference before, but it looks interesting also in content:
TALE is the IEEE Education Society’s flagship Asia-Pacific (IEEE Region 10) conference, catering to researchers and practitioners with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education
This year’s theme, Engineering Next-Generation Learning, adopts a future-facing perspective in addressing this dual focus. To this end, papers and other contributions are solicited that relate to two distinct but interconnected and overlapping strands:
Preparing the Next Generation of Engineers and Technologists
Engineering the Next Generation of Learning Technologies, Approaches and Environments
Gender and diversity in STEM is of course on the list!
Option for new authors to submit and receive feedback early. Otherwise deadline in June. See CFP and dates
CFP for the 13th IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computers Conference: “This Changes Everything”, to be held in Poznan, Poland, 19th-21st September 2018
Conference Chairs: David Kreps, Kai Kimppa, Louise Leenen, Charles Ess
Gender is of course a relevant topic in general for a conference like this, but there is also a track on “Gender in ICT” (Track chairs: Sisse Finken, Christina Mörtberg and Johanna Sefyrin), connected to the (sleeping) working group (WG9.8) on Gender, Diversity and ICT.
Send your full paper before January 15, and perhaps we can revive the sleeping WG9.8 together 🙂
This conference will also be part of the 24th IFIP World Computer Congress!
The conference asks for creative formats, but “no reading papers!”
We seek proposals for participant presentations in the following categories:
5-8 minute “soapbox” talks
roundtables (be creative with your format — no reading papers!)
digital and/or print posters
maker sessions or workshops
Media arts (new media, games, and electronic literature)
Interesting conference by Worldwide Universities Network in Hong Kong in April! Lin Prøitz and I were there to present our work on Kids Code from Norway, with a gender perspective on the code clubs asking; what’s at stake, what does coding represent? And are the code clubs gender inclusive?
After the conference we had a workshop with WUN members, and decided to continue the initiative around inclusion/exclusion in digital culture.