WASHINGTON – The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) today that formalizes the collaboration between the two organizations in their pursuit to bridge the gender gap in cybersecurity.
Only about 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce is currently comprised of women. Yet, women make up 51% of the population. Without women pursuing careers in cybersecurity, the industry is missing out on a huge portion of the population’s talent pool. To close this gap, it is critical foster an interest in cybersecurity in young girls - even as early as grade school.
“Yesterday, 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,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “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. 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 already have a history of working together. In 2017, CISA provided thought collaboration and helped steer the creation of GSUSA’s 18 cybersecurity badges. In less than five years, more than 315,00 cybersecurity badges have been earned by Girl Scouts. Additionally, 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 our nation’s cybersecurity resilience.
Looking ahead, in July 2023, the agency will participate in the 2023 Girl Scout Convention at Phenom by Girl Scouts. 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®.
This MOU builds on CISA’s work to ensure the field of cybersecurity reflects the diversity of America because such diversity translates into diversity of thought, enabling better problem-solving. Closing the gender gap in cybersecurity can ease the cyber workforce shortage, which in turn will make the nation more ready and prepared to take on the threats of today and those of tomorrow.
Last week, CISA announced an MOU with WiCyS and is already working to participate in their mentoring program which matches women working in cyber with newer women in the field.
As the nation’s cyber defense agency and national coordinator for critical infrastructure security, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency leads the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to the digital and physical infrastructure Americans rely on every hour of every day.