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A Fathers Perspective On The Gender Gap In Cybersecurity
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nemocraig
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nemocraig,
User Rank: Guru
10/11/2015 | 3:48:47 AM
Re: I don't know anymore
I'm not determined to succeed anymore. I've given up. 

In the words of Walt Disney ""If you can dream it, you can do it."

I can't anymore. I've been on my own since I was 14 and now I am 24 with no formal education. I struggle to make ends meet and I have no support. I have to do everything on my own and I've reached out to so many people to help me but I get turned away.

There is only so many no's/you can't that a kid can deal with and I've reached the end of my rope. I've given up on my career, on my life really. You'll probably read my obituary before you read that I've succeeded in getting into CyberSec
syntax_attack
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syntax_attack,
User Rank: Strategist
10/9/2015 | 1:16:26 PM
Re: No reason to drag feet on gender bias
First of all there is a lot of evidence that the apparent career preferences of the two genders are actually biological in nature.  Studies on children as young as 1 day old have shown that when presented with 2 images, one of a human moving and the other of a mechanical object, males will stare at the mechanical object far longer than female infants will.  Moreover studies conducted on juvenile primates have shown that male primates prefer to play with "traditional male toys" such as toy trucks and female primates prefer to play with "traditionally female toys" such as dolls.  These studies clearly indicate that the perceived "cultural gender norms" are more likely biological in nature.  We know there are differences in the ways that male and female brains function so why would we not expect these differences to manifest themselves in our career choices.  It quite probable that male preferences for STEM fields and female "aversion" to them is a consequence of biological underpinnings. 

 

Secondly why is a dearth of females in STEM fields even considered a "problem" to begin with?  The "gender gap" in STEM fields is no more a problem then the gender gap in nursing or education where women hold the majority of positions.  Nor is it any more of a problem then the lack of women in professions such as sanitation, auto mechanics, coal miners, ect.  We don't "need" more female STEM majors any more than we "need" more female coal miners or male nurses.  The only thing society needs is enough individuals to fill the required number of positions that are competent at their jobs.  Indeed pressuring females into fields where they may be less naturally inclined to excel in or be less content it could in fact be harmful to society as a whole as it would waste resources training somebody who will eventually drop out of the field or be less effective then another individual who would have otherwise received the position.  
bpaddock
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bpaddock,
User Rank: Strategist
10/5/2015 | 11:21:47 AM
STEM has little to do with gender bias

"Author Robert Charette quotes CEO after CEO claiming an engineering shortage, all the way back to 1934. ... " :
www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/rowe-s-and-columns/4424012/STEM--Too-Much-or-Not-Enough-

The real problem is that those jobs don't pay enough or are in constant danger of being outsourced to places or people with cheaper labor rates.  If the shortage was real wages in those jobs would rise which is not happening and qualified people would not have given up looking for tech jobs they they kept getting passed over for.

Children are not stupid. They don't get to see one of their parents for 60 to 100 hours a week while they listen to the complaints about being paid for 40 in those few moments of time they do get to see their tired worn-out parent. Why would they want to do the same?

See the 400+ comments on "The STEM Crisis Is a Myth" on the ture problems:

spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

Bottom line is that the people that do the hiring only want fresh young *exploitable* labor...

 

 

 
ShaneP530
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ShaneP530,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/5/2015 | 10:08:29 AM
Re: Inherent Value in Diversity? Really?
I'm more inclinded to think the real issue has more to do with popular culture and perception, as the author put it: "It was no longer "cool" due to the social attitudes communicated to her peer group before she was even a teen."


Look at how society portrays people involved in this field in pop culture. The "STEM" guys and gals are almost always overly nerdy, uncool, quirty and have terrible fashion sense! Of course very few women are attracted to it! To be attracted to STEM is to be "unattractive" by the standard of Hollywood and pop culture.
jn94583
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jn94583,
User Rank: Strategist
10/2/2015 | 7:41:10 PM
The Why of Gender Bias
This is actually a topic I can speak to with the authority of actual research (all my generalizations can be supported by real numbers). My Thesis topic in grad school asked if there was an inherent gender bias in SW design (and yes, there is but that's another post).

It starts in grammer school, where feelings about STEM are first formed. The testosterone boys typically have at that age makes them aggressive in the classroom; they tend to dominate the teacher's attention and the classroom respources. (i.e. computers)

To compete with this, girls typically memorize subjects (better than boys) to please the teacher. However, by the time they get to college, this game has lost its charm. Consequently, the numbers for women who choose STEM majors are dwarfed by similar choices made by men.

This is because girls don't learn how fun STEM is, they simply learn by rote for approval. Boys learn that STEM is like a toy or game. This preloads their enthusiasm for STEM and the hard work it takes to be good at it. 

We need to provide is the same opportunities for growth to women, and this effort reaches way back to grammer school. Teachers need to (be better paid and) understand the biological classroom dynamic, so they can cultivate the enthusiuasm for STEM and infosec.

Ω

 
geriatric
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geriatric,
User Rank: Moderator
10/1/2015 | 3:45:23 PM
Inherent Value in Diversity? Really?
>> "Women's participation rate in STEM is a problem because research suggests, and I know from experience, that mixed gender teams outperform uniform gender teams. The long-term implications are especially significant for a cybersecurity industry that is immature and desperately needs every advantage to compete against modern threats."

Using that logic, malicious actors have learned to employ mixed gender teams to achieve their present position of far outpacing the cybersecurity defense industry. What other explanation could there be?

It's religious-type uninformed statements like the above that obfuscate the reality of this non-issue. Has anyone considered the possibility that more women don't get involved in these careers for one simple reason - they don't want to - and there may be nothing at all wrong about that?

Let's also chuck the myth that there is inherent value in gender diversity. If that were true, that would mean that a relationship between a male and a female is inherently more valuable than a same-gender relationship.

See where you wind up when you leave the path of common sense?
levigundert
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levigundert,
User Rank: Guru
10/1/2015 | 2:35:16 PM
Re: No reason to drag feet on gender bias
Mwalker871, thanks for commenting. This article was focusing on the dearth of information security career awareness in our education system, but I agree that there are multiple issues affecting the female participation rate in information security (and STEM more generally). Conscious and unconscious gender bias is certainly a core issue and personal responsibility for bias identification and removal is something that we should all be advocating. 

 
levigundert
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levigundert,
User Rank: Guru
10/1/2015 | 2:23:00 PM
Re: The gender gap in infosec
Rookiewilliams99, I completely agree that we shouldn't be forcing our daughters into STEM paths in order to achieve gender parity. You're absolutely correct that children should pursue their inherent academic interests.

I think the problem that needs solving is increasing awareness about information security careers at an earlier age. Obviously your children are well aware of the possibilities and career path, but generally I believe there is a shortage of information in schools about information security. Given the higher female collegiate graduation rates, if as an industry we can raise awareness, perhaps more women will naturally choose INFOSEC careers.

Thank you for commenting.
levigundert
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levigundert,
User Rank: Guru
10/1/2015 | 2:06:26 PM
Re: Gradual Change will come if meritted
Broadway0474, thanks for the feedback. Related to your question, everyone's experience is different and it's difficult to make broad generalizations about sexism in the industry. In my experience, the male dominated technology industry has produced regrettable bits of culture (as mentioned in the article) that are counterproductive to increasing the perception that information security is a desirable venue for women.
levigundert
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levigundert,
User Rank: Guru
10/1/2015 | 1:57:30 PM
Re: I don't know anymore
Nemocraig, I'm sorry to hear that people are providing such negative feedback. I don't think you should let the dream go. In the words of Walt Disney ""If you can dream it, you can do it."

I don't know your exact situation, but I do know that there are a lot of employers who need qualified candidates with a strong portfolio of work. Forget about the classes and certifications and focus on building your skills. If you're determined to succeed here are two suggestions:

1. Start a blog and regularly chronicle your journey which will help publicly demonstrate your security knowledge and skills. For inspiration and a testament to the power of patience and persistence check out the Year of Python project.

2. Network within open security communities. Start with your local OWASP chapter. These types of forums are invaluable resources to meet like minded people who share your passion across the full spectrum of skill levels.

Thank you for your comment.
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