By Samuel Ouma
The government of Kenya through the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has encouraged young women and girls to venture into careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and ICT sectors, specifically in the cybersecurity division.
Speaking during a Girls in ICT webinar on cyber security, the Chief Administrative Secretary for ICT and Broadcasting Maureen Mbaka noted that there is a drastic rise in Cyber-attacks worldwide with cyber criminals getting bolder and more creative leading to a great global demand for cyber security skills that far exceeds the current supply.
“We need more girls to join the profession. It is vital for the young girls to know that women can be part of those providing solutions that help address threats to cybersecurity.” Said CAS Mbaka.
The CAS stated that the ICT Ministry was working to ensure that Kenya continues to align itself as a preferred Science, Technology and Innovation destination in the region noting that Kenya’s digital economy is expected to add 1.4 trillion Kenya shillings which also translates to 9.24 per cent of the GDP to Kenya’s economy by 2025. This demonstrates the need to continue to build capacity for young women and girls to take up more opportunities in the STEM and ICT sector.
CAS Mbaka affirmed that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields are key drivers of economic growth and are also crucial for the achievement of national and global goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development blueprint, the Big 4 Agenda.
“The Girls in ICT initiative will augment other ongoing digital literacy projects that the Government is implementing through the ICT Ministry including the Presidential Digital Talent Program, Digital Literacy Program, the Ajira Digital Program and the Huduma Whitebox” said CAS Mbaka.
The theme of the webinar was ‘Addressing the Cyber Security Skills Gap through Bridging the Gender Divide’ and it aimed to encourage girls and young women to take up Cybersecurity as a career choice through highlighting the market opportunities available for uptake.
Various women leaders in the ICT sector took part in a panel discussion speaking on topics such as the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape of 2022 and IT Security by Design focusing on the vulnerability of Systems and Applications.
They also spoke on Cloud Security Emerging Issues and Controls, Information Security and how to protect Organization and Personal Data while exploring the various opportunities in cybersecurity.
The webinar was part of the Girls in ICT Initiative’s activities run monthly creating awareness on ICT among girls and young women and will culminate during the global Girls in ICT Day on the 25th of April 2022.