A new study has revealed that only 3.7 per cent of schools in Africa offer cybersecurity as a subject.
The report, ‘2021 Tomorrow’s Cyber Heroines Study’, was undertaken by CyberHeroines, KnowBe4 Africa and Infosphere Limited.
In a statement on Saturday, KnowBe4 said the survey, which had over 445 teachers across 14 African countries as respondents, was used to unpack the complexities that face African girls in the technology landscape.
“With Africa’s future reliant on its ability to adapt to digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, levelling the playing field for women has become critical. It has never been more important to change the cybersecurity workforce gender statistics than it is today,” KnowBe4 stated.
“We have to give girls more opportunities, inspire them to get involved in technology and the cybersecurity field, and to remove the preconceived and socialised ideas that prevent women from pursuing careers in technology,” SVP of Content Strategy and Evangelist, KnowBe4 Africa, Anna Collard, added. “The world is digitising rapidly and women are at risk of being left behind. We have to change the dialogue around technology and make it more inclusive for women and girls.”
Managing Director of InfoSphere, Aprielle Oichoe, said, “We want African women to participate in the digital age. We must empower girls to go into technology, and this starts at a young age. We need to make a conscious decision to change the way we treat young girls. The dialogue needs to focus on making technology interesting for girls, not just something that they should leave to their brother.
“There is no such thing as a female role, not anymore. Now, there is just opportunity. We just have to make sure that this opportunity is given to everyone.”
According to the statement, the study disclosed that “the key factors inhibiting women’s entry to the worlds of technology and cybersecurity include: negative stereotypes, lack of role models or mentors, low self-confidence, and competing in a male-dominated industry.
Women are generally discouraged from careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics and steered towards traditionally female roles instead, the study noted.
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