The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced they will collaborate to bring more women into the cybersecurity workforce to bridge the gender gap.

According to a recent report by Women in CyberSecurity and Cybersecurity Ventures (WiCyS), in 2022 women held 25 percent of cybersecurity jobs globally – up from 20 percent in 2019, and around 10 percent in 2013. Yet, women make up 51 percent of the population.

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.

“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,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “CISA and GSUSA share a common goal to close the gender gap in technology and to inspire the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.”

CISA and GSUSA have collaborated in the past to inspire and educate more young women in cybersecurity.

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. Later, in 2021, the Department of Homeland Security and CISA partnered with CYBER.ORG and GSUSA 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.

“[On March 12], 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.

As part of this new collaboration between the two organizations, CISA will participate in the 2023 Girl Scout Convention at Phenom by Girl Scouts this summer.

CISA will also continue to share tips for girls and their families to stay safe online, not only as they navigate our increasingly digital world, but also as they learn entrepreneurship skills when selling their famous Girl Scout Cookies.

CISA said it’s 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.”

Last week, CISA announced another collaboration with WiCyS in a similar strategic effort to close the gender gap in the cybersecurity workforce. CISA is already working with WiCyS to develop a mentorship program that matches women working in cyber with newer women in the field.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.