"Societal pressures and expectations turn girls away. STEM classes are not the ones that the cool girls are interested in. We need administrators, counselors, teachers continue to push girls," Whiteside said.
If cyber security is a national problem then the lack of talent and already few minorities and women needs to be a top initiative for the nation, Whiteside said. "If something doesn't happen to create a precipice for change, the numbers are going to get worse," he continued.
For minorities, it's just as bad because a number are coming up in impoverished neighborhoods that don't recognize the value of a STEM-based education. In many cases, Whiteside said, "Minorities don't see education as a way of getting out. They don't see STEM based fields as ones they can be extremely good at. They don't see the applicability of math classes and critical thinking and how they apply to real world jobs."
We need to talk about cyber security as a field and make it attractive. Everyone-from leaders in the industry to the newbies who are still finding their way-needs to create a stronger narrative of what this industry is, what is it about, and how much opportunity there is. A lot of career choices are motivated by money and the type of lifestyle they will be able to lead, and Whiteside said, "This career field is not only interesting but can be lucrative."
It is not secret that cyber is white male dominated field, "But the goal of the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity is not just about blacks. It's about all minorities and women," said Whiteside because diversity and attracting different backgrounds and experiences will allow enterprises to make better and more informed decisions.
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