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January 17, 2019

GCHQ sets up all-female cyber-training classes to address gender imbalance

GCHQ sets up all-female cyber-training classes to address gender imbalance

In her article, Women’s labor force participation, IZA World of Labor author Anne E. Winkler says that: "While women’s labor force participation rates have risen in many countries, rates remain quite low in some countries and regions. In some countries, […], after a steady rise, rates have plateaued since 1990."

Due to warnings of serious skills shortages, the security services are worried about women’s representation. In an attempt to diversify recruits, all-female classes in cyber-skills are being set up. According to GCHQ's cyber-defence arm, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), almost 90% of the cyber-skills workforce worldwide is male. Chris Ensor from NCSC commented that there is a need to "address the imbalance."

The four-day courses will take place in Nottingham, Lancaster, Wrexham, Edinburgh, and Oxfordshire, and there will be 600 free all-female places. All-female classes are typically used in some schools as a way of building female confidence. Aisling Brown, curriculum leader at the Stephen Perse Foundation school said: "Girls are sometimes more reflective and take time to volunteer answers, while boys can tend to rush."

According to the NCSC, the lack of women in cyber-security is part of the bigger picture of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths. In his article, Female labor force participation and development, IZA World of Labor author Sher Verick says that: "[…] labor force participation rates paint only a partial picture of women’s work. More important is understanding the quality of women’s employment."

Read more about Female labor force participation, and What is the gender divide?