IGF 2023 WS #211 African Women inclusion in Global Cybersecurity Discourses

Subtheme

Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Child Online Safety
Cyberattacks, Cyberconflicts and International Security
New Technologies and Risks to Online Security
Online Hate Speech and Rights of Vulnerable People

Organizer 1: Margaret Nyambura Ndung'u, Independent Expert
Organizer 2: Aicha Jeridi, 🔒NAWC
Organizer 3: Towela Nyirenda-Jere, African Union Development Agency
Organizer 4: Jaqueline Pateguana, 🔒
Organizer 5: Balbine MANGA, 🔒

Speaker 1: Margaret Nyambura Ndung'u, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Towela Nyirenda-Jere, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Speaker 3: Aicha Jeridi, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Shifa Sorene Assefa , Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Balbine MANGA, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 6: Folake Olagunju, Government, African Group

Moderator

Aicha Jeridi, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Balbine MANGA, Civil Society, African Group

Rapporteur

Jaqueline Pateguana, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Format

Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Why are women not engaging adequately in Cybersecurity discourses? What can we learn from those who are actively engaging? What training and development opportunities are available to women working in cybersecurity?
3. How can we better support and mentor women on safety, risk and vulnerabilities in the Cyberspace? How can we promote networking and mentoring programs to support women entering or advancing in the cybersecurity field? What form should this mentorship take?
5. How can we ensure equity for women in or aspiring to be in cybersecurity and ensure their inclusion in policy discussions and decisions related to cybersecurity?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This workshop is an opportunity to explore, learn and engage with other women and experts in cybersecurity. We hope to equip participants with practical insights, actionable recommendations and expand their network in the cybersecurity field. By participating in this workshop, participants will be promoting diversity and inclusion in cybersecurity through:
1.Sharing of knowledge and experiences and suggestions of how to include more women to actively and productively engage safely in the digital space
2. Discussions on how to protect children online with emphasis on multistakeholder approaches.
3.An understanding of what women stand to gain through actively participating in the national, regional and global cybersecurity discussions
4. Learning what organisations such as the Network of African Women in Cybersecurity (NAWC) are doing and the benefits of joining/supporting such initiatives

Description:

The discussions will be around Making Global Cybersecurity Discourses Inclusive for African Women. The technology and cybersecurity industries are among the most in-demand, profitable, and critical areas in modern history. Statistics shows that women represent only 2 out of 10 cybersecurity professionals, which translates to only 24% of the cybersecurity workforce despite making up almost half of the global workforce. The situation is even worse in Africa where women continue to be underrepresented in the cybersecurity industry, despite the increasing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Several factors can be attributed to this gap including industry perception and culture, societal and family constraints, barriers to entry due to limited digital and cyber literacy, stereotypes or even outright exclusion of women in cybersecurity discussions even when they are actively playing in this field that leads to being excluded from networking opportunities and ultimately being overlooked for promotions. This can be frustrating and demotivating for female cybersecurity professionals who are trying to advance their careers. Consequently, there are few female role models in cybersecurity, which can make it difficult for women to see a clear path to success.
Under-representation and underutilization of female talent is both a critical business issue and an obstacle to the development of safer and more resilient economies and societies, as well as to security and the general protection of the countries.
The Network of African Women in Cybersecurity (NAWC) will interrogate and ask critical questions regarding women’s online safety for the privileged that are online even as we tackle the pressing issue of access and usage of digital technologies across the continent.
This workshop will explore the challenges that African women face in participating meaningfully in cybersecurity, the need for diversity and inclusion in the sector, and practical strategies for supporting women’s participation and advancement in cybersecurity.

Expected Outcomes

The outcome of this workshop will be to provide actionable insights, best practices and network building opportunities. The following are the expected outcomes from the session.:
1. Knowledge of the root causes of gender gaps in cybersecurity and possible suggestions of how to address them
2. Recommendations on contextualised training and mentorship programs in cybersecurity and related cyberspace issues for African women
3. A policy brief on improving inclusion of African women in the global cybersecurity discourses derived from the discussions.

Hybrid Format: There will be an online and onsite moderator working in alignment. They are both Multi-lingual with combined English, French and Arabic proficiency. They will ensure that adequate time is given for online and onsite interventions. Participants will also be encouraged to type in the chat sessions or in the Q&A session. Effort will also be made to at least have interpretation to one other language (French) to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible. From our contacts, we will use social media to market the session as well as take advantage of physical meetings such as the IGF to create awareness of the session.