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Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in the IT Security Occupation Field

Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in the IT Security Occupation Field
Information technology (IT) security, also referred to as cyber security, is a highly male domi-nated occupation field. Women only represent 11% of the security professionals worldwide. The gender-segregated occupation also manifests in a significantly higher number of high-level leadership positions held by men and gender pay gaps (Frost/Sullivan 2017). Increasing the number of women in IT security would have enormous economic and societal consequences. For example, the forecasted shortage of 1.8 million security employees by 2022 (Frost/Sullivan 2017) could be reduced. The diverse perspectives and skills, which wom-en contribute, could benefit the creation of innovative products and services to better reflect the diversity of society (Frost/Sullivan 2017, Ashcraft et al. 2016). Equal participation would ensure that women benefit from the attractive occupation field with high salaries and various possibilities to shape the future (Ashcraft et al. 2012). However, social and structural factors often deter girls from choosing the computing field (Ashcraft et al. 2012). These factors comprise an inappropriate design of computing (in)formal education that lacks relevant topics, possibilities for collaboration, and active learning. Fur-thermore, girls receive less support from parents and teachers to pursue an IT occupation and female role models are missing. In addition, inaccurate and stereotypical perceptions of IT occupations and their (male) employees fail to arouse interest. Computer professionals are thought of as geeks with little social interaction, working isolated in a darkened room (Ashcraft et al. 2012). To overcome these social and structural barriers, we will present the first results of the project “Gender-sensitive Study and Vocational Orientation for the Occupation Security Specialist”, started in September 2017 and sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project aims at changing the stereotypical misconception of IT security occupations and at attracting girls to this innovative and future-oriented occupation field by developing, testing, and evaluating four measures. Firstly, we will design a gender-sensitive job profile that high-lights the diversity, versatile tasks, and the meaningful nature of the occupation. Secondly, by talking to women about their experience–enjoyment, challenges, etc.–in IT security, we will prepare portraits of diverse female role models in a book, in posters, and in videos. Thirdly, to get a clear impression of the IT security job, female students from different socioeconomic backgrounds will be invited to experience awareness-raising measures about information security–an important duty in IT security. We will design these game-based learning scenarios so that the scenarios incorporate digital activities of the daily life of girls, enable knowledge sharing, and productive collaboration. During this event students also learn more about the job profile, IT degree programmes and vocational trainings, and meet some of the role models. Fourthly, parents, teachers and other caregivers whose encouragement is important for girls are invited to informative events to learn about the job profile, pilot event and how to use the materials developed through the project. https://www.th-wildau.de/files/Beschaeftigte/Margit_Scholl/180615_GWO_MargitScholl_FraukeFuhrmann_Abstract.pdf https://www.th-wildau.de/files/Beschaeftigte/Margit_Scholl/180609_GWO_ms03.pdf
Publication type:
Conference contribution
Gender, Work & Organisation Conference : 10th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference
Book title:
GWO2018 : Book of Abstracts
Sydney, Australia: Macquarie University, FACULTY OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS
Document status:
Open access
Information security, cyber security professionals, gender-segregated occupation, social and structural factors, inaccurate and stereotypical perceptions, gender-sensitive job profile, portraits of diverse female role models, raising information security awareness, Meeting Abstract
Scholl, M., & Fuhrmann, F. (2018). Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in the IT Security Occupation Field In Alison Pullen, GWO2018 : Book of Abstracts (pp. 165). Sydney, Australia: Macquarie University, FACULTY OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS.
    author           = {Scholl, Margit and Fuhrmann, Frauke},
    title            = {Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in the IT Security Occupation Field},
    editor           = {Alison Pullen},
    year             = {2018},
    month            = {June},
    pages            = {165},
    publisher        = {Macquarie University, FACULTY OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS},
    address          = {Sydney, Australia},
    booktitle        = {GWO2018 : Book of Abstracts},
    url              = {https://www.th-wildau.de/files/Beschaeftigte/Margit_Scholl/GWO_Conference_Program__author_version_.pdf},

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