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Jobs in cybersecurity are exploding. Why aren’t women in the picture?

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In an effort to reach more girls for the Girls Go game at Red Bank, for example, Galante recruited girls from nontech classes, including a dozen from a creative writing class. “We want to get the girls who never even thought of doing this,” she said.

For women, barriers to entry into cybersecurity, and the tech field in general, begin long before high school, said Nicole Smith, a research professor and chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “Our parents make decisions early on about what boys and girls should be doing,” she said. “The social conditioning starts really early.”

Especially once girls reach middle and high school.

“The elephant in the room is that girls ‘can’t do math good,’” Smith said. “But when you look at standardized tests and SAT scores, girls are scoring just as well as boys in math and science. In some cases, they are actually doing better. The question isn’t about competence — it’s an issue of decision-making about what to pursue. When a preponderance of women are making decisions that will affect their lifelong earnings potential, we need to ask why, and what is it about our culture that is telling women: ‘This is where you belong’?”

If we block entry for women, we’re blocking 50 to 70 percent of the talent. … When I walk into a high school Cisco Networking class, I’ll see 30 boys and one girl. Girls are being told loudly: ‘You are not invited.’

If we block entry for women, we’re blocking 50 to 70 percent of the talent. … When I walk into a high school Cisco Networking class, I’ll see 30 boys and one girl. Girls are being told loudly: ‘You are not invited.’

In a report she recently co-wrote on the gender wage gap, Smith found that although women are now graduating from college in greater numbers than men, and are pursuing STEM degrees more than ever before, they still earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by men when wages are averaged across job sectors. She also found that when women choose majors in well-paying sectors, they tend to then select the least lucrative submajors. For example, 54 percent of women majoring in STEM fields concentrate in biological and life sciences, which are among the majors with the lowest-paying career prospects, but only 17 percent select majors in the more lucrative field of engineering.

The Girls Go challenge is an effort to equalize the cybersecurity playing field, or at least to plant a seed of interest in cybersecurity at the high school level. This past winter, in its first year, 6,654 girls across 16 states and the territory of American Samoa participated. In order for schools to access the game, the SANS Institute asked governors’ offices nationwide to partner in its promotion. Winners each receive a $100 gift certificate and an all-expense-paid trip to a conference in Chicago for women in cybersecurity. The winning team’s host school receives a $1,000 award.

Melissa Vuong, 15, is a sophomore at Red Bank and a member of team Throckmorton. With zero coding experience, she was primarily drawn to the opportunity to collaborate with her team. “It’s super fun working together,” she said. “And it’s my first time playing a game like this, so it’s a challenge, but I like it.”

Girls Go is not the first online challenge designed to attract young people to cybersecurity, though it is the only game specifically for girls. The Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot online competition and GenCyber camp, funded by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, are aimed at attracting high schoolers to the cybersecurity field, though they do tend to appeal primarily to boys. While some girls do participate, Galante noted that they rarely make it to the leaderboards and thus fail to garner attention and awards, which among competitors creates a deeper interest and connection to the field.

“We’ve learned over the years that winning shiny stuff, and having people make a big deal out of you, helps young people believe in themselves and be attracted to something,” Galante said. “But even though girls were participating — in small numbers — in challenges like CyberPatriot, this recognition wasn’t happening for them. The boys, who have so much more experience in gaming, were the ones being recognized.”

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In spite of increasing numbers of women pursuing STEM degrees, only 26 percent of computing jobs in the U.S. are filled by women. Like cybersecurity, the broader field of jobs related to computing faces a labor shortage with 1.1 million job openings projected by 2024.

When women do opt to major in STEM fields such as cybersecurity, they frequently leave the field after a brief tenure, according to a 2011 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “Even when women do well and excel in college in technology, they divert into teaching math or science, or into fields like biology or pharmaceuticals — fields that are predominantly female and pay lower wages,” said Smith, the Georgetown economist. This may be due in part to priorities. When considering a new job, men value salary above other factors, the Georgetown report found. Women, on the other hand, prioritize proximity to home; the working environment and workplace communication; and prospects for upward mobility.

Workplace environment is clearly a factor, especially in cybersecurity where teams tend to be small and therefore perhaps more intense. Marian Merritt, the industry engagement lead for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, points to the hyper-competitive, noncollaborative, war-terminology-oriented nature of cybersecurity as a major concern for women. The initiative, a unit within the U.S. Department of Commerce, aims to alleviate the cybersecurity workforce shortage.

Currently, there are 285,681 unfilled jobs available in cybersecurity. Research indicates there will be a global shortage of 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals by 2022.

“Anecdotally, we know that there’s an emphasis in cybersecurity on being self-taught, self-driven and adversarial,” Merritt said. “I think it’s time to figure out if this is just growing pains within a relatively new field — cybersecurity is maybe 10 years old as a subspecialty — because there are a lot of things happening in cybersecurity that are of big concern.”

When the Girl Scouts Research Institute, a unit connected to the Girls Scouts, surveyed its membership for its own STEM study, it found that 74 percent of the girls expressed interest in science, technology, engineering and math — yet only 13 percent said those fields would be their first choice for a career. Fifty-seven percent said that if they did enter a STEM field, they would have to work harder than a man just to be taken seriously.

At Red Bank Regional, after the weeklong Girls Go challenge, neither Team Throckmorton nor The Team That Must Not Be Named scored sufficient points to win at the national or state level. On the final scoreboard for New Jersey, Team Throckmorton placed 73rd out of 168 teams in the state, while The Team That Must Not Be Named placed 97th. Still, after playing Girls Go this winter, 70 percent of the players nationwide said they were now interested in a cybersecurity career, compared with 36 percent prior to playing the game, according to a survey by the SANS Institute.

One of those newly cyber-enthused students was Brigid Clanton-Calnan, a junior at Red Bank. “Right now, I’d say I’ve gone from pretty much zero interest in cybersecurity to really being pulled in that direction,” she said. “And I’d love to play the game again, if it happens again next year.”

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German election: ‘Boring’ Olaf Scholz may be just the ticket amid uncertainty about life after ‘Mummy’ Merkel | World News

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Germany is about to lose its political mother and an air of uncertainty clouds the current election to replace her.

They call Angela Merkel “Mutti”, or Mummy, because of her calm reassuring style of rule in crisis after crisis.

For young Germans, she is the only leader they have ever known.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a news conference, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany March 19, 2021. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS
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Germans call Angela Merkel ‘Mutti’ or Mummy because of her reassuring leadership style

We joined a posse of young leafleteers from Ms Merkel’s rivals’ party, the Social Democratic Party.

Emma Otto, freshly back from au pairing in Dulwich, told us losing Mutti will be weird.

“She’s been the only chancellor I’ve known,” she said. “I can’t remember a time before her so I think it’s going to be a really big change.”

They are missing her already.

We spoke to volunteers heading to help victims of July’s devastating floods.

A huge voluntary effort has sprung up in the absence of official help.

Chairwoman of Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen Annalena Baerbock, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Armin Laschet and German Finance Minister and Social Democratic Party candidate Olaf Scholz are pictured before a televised debate of the candidates to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor in Berlin, Germany, September 12, 2021. Michael Kappeler/Pool via REUTERS
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(L-R) Social Democratic Party leader Olaf Scholz, Alliance 90/The Greens leader Annalena Baerbock and Christian Democratic Union leader Armin Laschet are the election’s top contenders

In its camp, many sounded disillusioned with politics in general.

“It’s a difficult election,” one volunteer told us. “I think none of the candidates is fully convincing.

“Someone was joking if Angela Merkel was still up for election she’d probably win because people would say we’ve seen the alternatives, we’d better stay with what we have.”

Another young voter out handing out leaflets was welcoming change.

Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends a news conference after Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers reached an agreement with the regions most affected by the planned brown coal exit, in Berlin, Germany, January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
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Candidate Olaf Schulz has been described as ‘boring’

“Sixteen years of chancellorship is too much I’d say,” Alicem Polat told Sky News.

“We have our candidate, Olaf Scholz, so we definitely say there is someone to replace her.”

“People say he’s boring,” I interject.

“He is, I admit, but maybe that’s the German way of politics.”

Alicem Polat said Angela Merkel has been chancellor for too long
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Alicem Polat said Angela Merkel has been chancellor for too long

And there’s the rub. The likely next chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany’s current finance minister, has no political pizzazz or charisma.

But that may be a good thing to voters.

Unsettled by the loss of Ms Merkel and the pandemic, Germans will take quiet, boring competence over excitement.

He is also the last person standing for now at least in the polls.

Ms Merkel’s heir apparent should have been Armin Laschet.

Election posters of Germany's top candidates for chancellor, Armin Laschet, North Rhine-Westphalia's State Premier and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, Olaf Scholz, German Minister of Finance of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of Germany's Green party and Christian Lindner, leader of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) are pictured, in Berlin, Germany, September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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(L-R) Election posters of Armin Laschet, Olaf Scholz, Annalena Baerbock and Christian Lindner

But the new Christian Democratic Union leader has slipped on a banana skin thrown up by recent disastrous floods.

In the background, while dignitaries made speeches honouring the floods’ victims, Mr Laschet was caught on camera sniggering.

His standing took a beating in the polls.

So much for the CDU.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet holds a news conference in Berlin, Germany, September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
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CDU candidate Armin Laschet was caught on camera laughing while dignitaries made speeches about flooding victims. File pic

The floods should have been a godsend for the Greens, clear evidence of the dangers of climate change.

And yet Annalena Baerbock, their leader, has been unable to sustain an early lead in the polls.

Accused of plagiarism and lack of experience, she has floundered ever since.

So for now Mr Scholz remains the favourite to win the lion’s share of the vote, giving him the chance to build a coalition.

Max Meyer, political scientist at Bonn University, told Sky News his alleged lack of personality may be just what Germany needs.

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July: Angela Merkel meets the Queen during her visit to the UK

“That makes him probably a better leader,” he said.

“Because it’s more pragmatic and it’s not the theatrics or the big flashiness of charisma, but it’s more policy issues and it’s more policy-driven.”

He may be what Germany wants after Ms Merkel, but the shoes he has to fill are enormous if he wins.

Max Meyer said Olaf Schulz's lack of personality may be just what Germany needs
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Max Meyer said Olaf Schulz’s lack of personality may be just what Germany needs

Ms Merkel rode out the euro crisis, the migrants crisis, the financial crisis and handled autocrats and allies with a firm fairness that soothed tensions and protected German interests.

“I think Germany is going to be very soon nostalgic,” said Mr Meyer, “and probably most will look back with very positive feelings because she was capable of managing crisis and of portraying the country still as stable.”

Germans are going to miss their Mutti.

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Piers Morgan joining new channel talkTV where he will present ‘global show’ | Ents & Arts News

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Piers Morgan has revealed his next presenting job will be for new television channel talkTV – which is being set up by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The company, which will launch its new service next year, said Morgan’s nightly show will be broadcast in the UK, the US and Australia.

He left Good Morning Britain earlier in the year, after criticising Harry and Meghan’s comments in an interview they gave with Oprah Winfrey, saying he did not believe some of the things they said, particularly around mental health.

The show was recently cleared by Ofcom, after tens of thousands of complaints were made about it.

Talking about his new role, Morgan said: “I’m thrilled to be returning to News Corp, which is where I began my media career more than 30 years ago.

“Rupert Murdoch has been a constant and fearless champion of free speech and we are going to be building something new and very exciting together.

“I want my global show to be a fearless forum for lively debate and agenda-setting interviews, and a place that celebrates the right of everyone to have an opinion, and for those opinions to be vigorously examined and challenged.

“I’m also delighted to become a columnist for The Sun and the New York Post, two brilliantly successful and popular newspaper brands.

“I’m going home and we’re going to have some fun.”

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‘A good day for free speech’ – Piers Morgan

Executive chairman of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, added: “Piers is the broadcaster every channel wants but is too afraid to hire. Piers is a brilliant presenter, a talented journalist and says what people are thinking and feeling.”

In the past, Morgan has been hired by ITV, CNN and NBC in various presenting roles.

News Corp said its new channel will “offer a mix of programming from our stable of household brands, proper hourly news bulletins, documentaries, entertainment and more”.

The company already owns established news brands such as The Times and The Sun newspapers, as well as a number of radio stations such as Virgin and talkSport.

News Corp had previously scrapped plans for a linear news channel, and instead decided to focus on streaming its radio brands online, while rival GB News pushed ahead with its launch.

Responding to News Corp’s announcement, GB News tweeted: “Congratulations to Piers Morgan.

“We love competition. Bring it on!”

In the US, Morgan’s show will be carried on Fox Nation, while Sky News Australia will broadcast it down under.



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China says AUKUS submarine deal ‘highly irresponsible’ and ‘intensifies the arms race’ | World News

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A new security deal between the United States, Britain, and Australia in the Indo-Pacific “severely damages regional peace” and “intensifies the arms race”, China has said.

On Wednesday, the three western powers announced they will establish a security partnership that will help Australia acquire US nuclear-powered submarines.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the move and said: “The US, the UK and Australia’s cooperation in nuclear submarines severely damages regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and jeopardises the international efforts in promoting the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

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‘AUKUS alliance will bring us closer than ever’

“The US and UK’s action of exporting highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology once again proves that they are using nuclear exports as a tool for geopolitical games and adapts double standards.

“This is a highly irresponsible act.”

It comes as France accused US President Joe Biden of stabbing it in the back and acting like predecessor Donald Trump after Paris was snubbed from a $40bn (£29bn) defence deal it had signed with Australia.

The deal, dubbed AUKUS, will see Australia scrap its 2016 agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build a new fleet to replace its ageing Collins submarines.

“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on franceinfo radio.

“I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”

“It’s a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken,” he added.

He had previously said in a statement the “choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France” was something the country “can only note and regret”.

London, Canberra and Washington have said they will seek to collaborate in cyber, quantum technologies and artificial intelligence, as well as other underwater capabilities.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News on Thursday: “We have no intention of doing anything to antagonise the French – the French are some of our closest military allies in Europe, we are sizable and comparable forces and we do things together.”

He added: “The French were contracted to deliver diesel submarines and the Australians took a decision they wanted to switch out of that and into nuclear.

“Each country has to make those choices in their own national security interests.”

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Did Biden forget Australian PM’s name?

Nuclear-powered submarines are superior to their diesel counterparts as they can operate more quietly and stay underwater for longer.

How the collaboration will work, what it will cost, how many boats will be built, where and which companies will be involved has not yet been revealed.

However, just two weeks ago the Australian defence and foreign ministers had reconfirmed the deal to their French counterparts.

But the agreement had been beset with issues and delays, due to Canberra’s requirement the majority of manufacturing and components be sourced locally.

Mr Biden said France remained a “key partner in the Indo-Pacific zone”, while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country looked forward to continuing to work “closely and positively” with the French, adding: “France is a key friend and partner to Australia and the Indo-Pacific.”

In a joint statement, the pair along with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The endeavour we launch today will help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“For more than 70 years, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the US have worked together, along with other important allies and partners, to protect our shared values and promote security and prosperity. Today, with the formation of AUKUS, we recommit ourselves to this vision.”

Although the word “China” was not mentioned specifically, the predominant security and defence challenge in the region is the rise of an increasingly assertive, authoritarian Beijing.

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