Closing the Gender and Diversity Gap

Challenges & Objectives

With regards to the demand of building a secure cyberspace to ensure security, peace and prosperity, diversity is key. Different understandings of the world and different ways of approaching problems, when coordinated, bring a competitive advantage that can effectively respond to the cybersecurity challenges brought by globalization. SPARTA Communication and Dissemination work package is leading two actions to address this challenge:

  1. Closing the Gender & Diversity Gap
  2. Engagement with the Outermost Regions of Europe

Action & Impacts

1. Closing the Gender & Diversity Gap – The Women in SPARTA campaign

SPARTA has been researching the issues at the backbone of the gender gap faced in the cybersecurity field, striving to understand what could enhance the inclusion and attraction of women into the cybersecurity workforce.
The lack of role models in the industry, related to the lack of visibility of women working in cybersecurity is a real problem. The industry often fails to retain women in cybersecurity workplaces due to its male-dominated environment that is neither inclusive nor attractive for women.
Furthermore, cybersecurity can be viewed as being incredibly technical, leading to a lack of interest. Yet it’s actually very interdisciplinary and diverse and it needs to be communicated as such.

The Women in SPARTA campaign aims at breaking down these stereotypes and make the cybersecurity environment more welcoming and attractive to women. In that sense, SPARTA gathered some of the best-practices you can adopt to attract and retain women in cybersecurity teams in a short guide: Best practices guide - Women in Cybersecurity.
At the same time, the campaign aspires at building a strong community among women in cybersecurity by presenting the ones currently working in SPARTA, their work and what are their thoughts on the current gender gap issue, and how to tackle them. Meet the women in SPARTA:

Maryline Laurent is professor at Telecom SudParis, currently working on the SPARTA Roadmap.

Estibaliz Amparan is a researcher at Tecnalia, currently working on the SPARTA Program CAPE.

Sara Ricci is working as a post-doctoral researcher on Brno University of Technology currently working on SPARTA’s Training and Awareness work package.

Luana Fabrete is an industrial engineer working as a project manager at Technikon. She is supporting the creation of the deliverables, risk mitigation and business plan at the SPARTA Management work package.

Aleksandra Pawlicka is Research and Development Specialist at ITTI. Her tasks in SPARTA focus on research of AI explainability and Fairness and on the ethical and human aspects of AI.

2. Engagement with the Outermost Regions of Europe - Go Cyber with SPARTA campaign

The Go Cyber with SPARTA campaign is a coordinated action to raise cybersecurity awareness in three of Europe’s Outermost Regions (ORs). The campaign has been designed to contribute to the EU strategy for the ORs on digital accessibility and ICT use and to help to create a diverse workforce in cybersecurity. These actions will be possible through the synergy between the local stakeholders and SPARTA partners. SPARTA is committed to involve the ORs of Europe in the project, aiming to forge a win-win collaboration where diversity is at the foreground, ensuring growth at the cybersecurity level. At the moment, two main actions are being developed:

Stimulate students at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to undertake studies within the area of cybersecurity.

SPARTA Cybersecurity Training and Awareness Program is greatly involved in this activity to define the essentials of computer security that should be present in all computer science curricula and to design new and improve existing curricula for bachelor degrees in computer security based on the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria needs. An awareness campaign to stimulate students to undertake studies in the cybersecurity field, taking into account the student's characteristics and necessities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, will also be implemented.

Bring to Office de L’eau, La Réunion’s Water Critical Infrastructure, the latest state-of-the-art cybersecurity technology.

With the cooperation of SMILE and BUT (responsible for SPARTA Exploitation and Cybersecurity Training and Awareness Program), an action has been set up to identify solutions for specific problems using the knowledge developed within SPARTA, namely within the JCCI. It also aims to implement an awareness campaign to encourage employees to adopt cybersecurity measures, and a training workshop for non-cybersecurity professionals.