Pitching in to elevate women in STEM

Published on July 04, 2024

“Diversity within cybersecurity is crucial because it brings together individuals from various backgrounds”

To help advance equity and encourage women to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), NAIT alumni, friends and industry took part in a crowdfunding campaign in October 2023. Thanks to donors’ support, $8,000 was raised to support student awards for women entering NAIT’s Cybersecurity post-diploma certificate program

Women disproportionately experience barriers to pursing post-secondary education in most STEM fields. Statistics Canada puts the first-year post-secondary participation rate of women in computer and information sciences at  just under 16%. For science and tech in general, only half of women with credentials are working in the industry, compared to the 75% of men with the same credentials. 

Cyber threats are on the rise and becoming increasingly complex. There is a demand from industry to be more inclusive and attract women to jobs in cybersecurity to keep technology, and the people who use them, safe from attacks, including viruses and hacking.   

“Diversity within cybersecurity is crucial because it brings together individuals from various backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, which enhances problem-solving, creativity, and innovation, while also improving the industry's ability to address diverse and evolving cybersecurity threats and challenges effectively,” says John Zabiuk, chair, NAIT Cybersecurity program. 

Crowdfunding campaign supporters helped to fund eight student entrance awards, valued at $1,000 each. In fall 2024, the first 2 of these awards will be disbursed to deserving women to support them in their career advancement. 

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