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first_imgHello, and thank you for having me here today. In the four years since it was created, theWomen in Security Network has provided a crucial forum for women and underrepresentedgroups to gain skills and connections to help them get ahead in their careers.We all agree that the national security profession should reflect those it works to protect. So Iam delighted to speak today about some of the work this Government is undertaking throughthe National Cyber Security Strategy to ensure a vibrant and representative cyber securityprofession.Of course, women have served in security and technology throughout history – and haveoften been pioneers in computing and codebreaking. I’ve attended briefings in the LovelaceRoom, right here in the National Cyber Security Centre. Each briefing in that room is anexcellent reminder how women such as Ada Lovelace, Joan Clark, and Mavis Batey havebeen trailblazers in this field. But women need to be the rule and not the exception –especially when it comes to cyber security.Today, cyber security is among the most important aspects of our national defence as wework to protect the UK and the British people.The National Cyber Security Strategy has revolutionised the UK’s fight against cyber threatsas an ambitious, deliberately interventionist programme of action. During the last threeyears, we have put in place many of the building blocks to strengthen our cyber security andresilience, backed by an investment of £1.9 billion pounds.In 2016, we set up the world-leading National Cyber Security Centre to act as our singleauthority on cyber security. We’ve invested in cutting-edge cyber capabilities across all tiersof UK Law Enforcement. And we’re protecting UK internet users from lower-sophistication,high-volume attacks that have an impact on people’s everyday lives, that compromise theiridentities and undermine the individual security of their bank accounts.More than halfway into the Strategy, we’re seeing behavioural changes, too – and not justfrom our warnings to an estimated 23 million account holders that 123456 isn’t a suitablepassword! In Government and in the private sector, we’re also seeing Boards integrate cybersecurity into the core functions of their organisations. The results of DCMS’s Cyber SecurityBreaches Survey 2019 make clear that cyber security is increasingly a key issue fororganisations, with three quarters of business and charities now rating it as a high priority.So we’ve made considerable progress in Government, and with industry. And the people inthis building have been a crucial part of that success.But, we also recognise that there is much more work to be done.The government, and indeed, the national security profession – must reflect those that itseeks to represent and protect. Yet, national security has the lowest representation ofwomen than any other profession in Government, at 15.7 percent. And the National SecurityCouncil Officials board has the lowest proportion of female officials than any other CivilService board.The British government isn’t alone. There remains a severe lack of diversity andrepresentation in the cyber security industry. According to a report from the GlobalInformation Security Workforce, only 11% of the global workforce is made up of women –this falls to a mere 7% elsewhere in Europe.And we’ve seen the risks in other sectors when technology doesn’t get diversity right. A NewYork Times piece published yesterday outlined how human biases in artificial intelligencetechnology have led to minorities and underrepresented groups being turned down for jobopportunities, denied bank loans and even misidentified as criminals. Because when thefaces who create AI systems are all male, or white, the algorithms are unable to recogniseother groups as easily.At the same time, we’ve seen ample research on how more diverse organisations do betterat meeting their objectives. McKinsey studies of the British private sector show that greatergender diversity at the senior level corresponds to higher performance. So there is abusiness imperative, as well as a moral one.There are lots of ways to address the issue of diversity. But today, I’m going to focus on theurgency of addressing the skills gap in cyber security, and the importance of cultivating theright workplace environment.Cyber security is a nascent profession, which provides us with a narrow opportunity to shapeits future. We need to be inspiring the next generation to think about a career in this field.There is a wealth of talented young people across the UK who could have successfulcareers in cyber security. Teenagers who are livestreamers with their own gaming vlogs.Students who consider Twitter their second language. They do not need to be fluent inJavascript to be the future of the industry.Many of you in this room have been involved in valuable efforts to engage younger people –especially young girls — in cyber security. In 2015, GCHQ launched the CyberFirstprogramme to give talented young people the support, skills, experience and exposure theyneed to become ‘cyberists’ of the future.This year, nearly 12,000 talented 12-13 year-old female students from over 800 schoolsacross the UK took part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition. Last year, 44% of CyberFirstattendees were female. And in the Cyber Skills programme, female participation is at 23%,with the aim of achieving gender balance.At the same time, we also recognise that financial barriers can prevent very capable peoplefrom pursuing their chosen path. So the CyberFirst University Bursary aims to remove thesebarriers and give young people access to the training and skills they need to succeed,regardless of background. These are vital steps in unlocking and opening up the professionto young people, and I commend them wholeheartedly.However, it is important that senior leaders recognise that an emphasis on skills-buildingisn’t the only piece of the puzzle. There needs to be a cultural shift in the way we think aboutgender equality and diversity. We need to ensure that we don’t treat this as a tick-boxexercise, thinking that the job is done once the recruitment process has been finalised.Instead, we all need to be thinking about the broader, collective environment we create fornew recruits. That means replicating opportunities for mentorship, like the network that youhave so successfully built here. But it also means encouraging more senior male leaders tomentor women and improve the underlying culture, as recommended by Harvard BusinessReview.Of course, a commitment to diversity is something even more rudimentary than skills,initiatives, or pathways. It means empowering staff to pursue their careers, building theconfidence to constructively challenge their environments, and ensuring that they canconstruct opportunities for their colleagues in the future. This is the sort of power thatdiversity can bring to a profession as young and as pioneering as cyber security, and Ichallenge you all to embed this across your teams.When a young Ada Lovelace began her mathematical studies, her tutor fretted that “the verygreat tension of mind [that mathematics] require is beyond the strength of a woman’sphysical power of application.” Ada, of course, went on to become a visionary of computerprogramming. And we can now laugh at this outdated thinking.But subtler societal perceptions persist. We can, and must, do more to encourage that amore diverse body of talent is represented at every level of government, business andbeyond. Because as we chart the course for cyber security, we must ensure that our aimsfor the future of this profession remain as ambitious as our algorithms.And now, your questions.[Checked against delivery].last_img read more

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: Red CrossWASHGINTON – In response to an urgent need for blood donors, the Food and Drug Administration is changing donation guidelines effective immediately.The changes should make it possible for many more people to give blood than before.The FDA is loosening guidelines put in place during the h-i-v epidemic that prevented many gay men from donating blood.Until now, male donors would have been deferred to wait for a year after having sex with another man. Now there is only a three-month waiting period. The same shorter period applies to donors who have had tattoos or piercings.It also applies for people who have traveled to countries where there is exposure to malaria, the waiting period has also been reduced.Until now people who spent time in European countries or military bases where there was a risk mad cow disease had to wait.Now, the waiting period for those potential blood donors has been eliminated.The American Red Cross says they have imposed safety practices to protect donors when they give blood.The FDA says Coronavirus is a respiratory illness and it is not believed to be transmitted by blood.last_img read more