What you need to know:
- Standard Chartered Bank and Strathmore University have launched a mentorship programme for women in cybersecurity.
- Mentorship will help debunk cybersecurity as being a man sitting in a dark room at night with a hood.
- It will enable women in cybersecurity to access support, skills, knowledge, and networks necessary for professional growth.
Standard Chartered Bank and Strathmore University’s @iLabAfrica have launched a mentorship programme for women in cybersecurity.
The initiative, which was unveiled on September 22, targets 100 participants residing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from any field with junior level experience (two to three years) interested in joining the cybersecurity space.
Speaking during the launch at Standard Chartered Bank Headquarters, in Nairobi’s Westlands, CEO Kariuki Ngari noted that women in the field of cybersecurity account for only 24 per cent of the overall workforce, with Africa and Middle East having the lowest representation, at 10 per cent.
“Technology has created a completely new exponential and convergent world, which has resulted in a dramatic increase of cybercriminals whose favourite target is Africa bringing about costly consequences. Cyber security mentorships that build capacity are critical for survival in this new world order,” he said.
He added that through the bank’s Future Makers programme and collaborating with like-minded partners, they would work to ensure a safer planet with women at the fore and well represented.
Also present was Standard Bank board member Catherine Adeya, who encouraged stakeholders to demystify the stereotypes that hinder girls from joining the field.
“Mentorship will help debunk cybersecurity as being a man sitting in a dark room at night with a hood. They will learn that there is the tech side of reverse engineering malware, but there is also the legal work of implementing regulations and litigating cybercrimes as well as the leadership of managing corporate security and risk programme,” stated Dr Adeya.
Director @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University Joseph Sevilla, reiterated that cyber threats were on the increase. He noted that local statistics on national cybersecurity revealed that between October and December 2020, there was a 59.8 per cent increase in threat events compared to the previous period.
“To mitigate these threats, we need to break entry barriers and provide technological and systemic structures that support the growth and competitiveness of cybersecurity professionals; more so for East African women,” he said.
The initiative, he added, would enable women in cybersecurity to access support, skills, knowledge, and networks necessary for professional growth and hopefully result in increased interest and adoption of roles by women.
The programme will be administered virtually using a structured and self-paced learning model with mentorship circles and fireside chats.
Mentors will be assigned to the participating women to guide them. Interested participants can apply online and are required to have a working knowledge of English. They ought to demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. They should also have a computer and stable Internet connection.