Sage hacking at gender imbalance in cyber security at Newcastle event for schoolgirls – Chronicle Live




Over 300 Year 8 girls from schools around the North East attended the event at St James’ Park
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St James' Park played host to a cyber security event sponsored by Sage, with the aim of encouraging young girls to get into the industry.
More than 20 different businesses put on activities and workshops engaging with the themes and issues in the cyber security sector on Wednesday.
Sophia Adhami, the director of Cyber Security Awareness and Engagement at Sage, stressed the importance of getting more women into these kinds of roles.
"Cyber security is an extremely male dominated industry, as 85% of people working in the sector globally are men. We have also seen a huge increase in demand from schools for in-person activities so this felt like a great opportunity to inspire girls into future careers in cyber security," she said.
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Some surprising companies took part in the event, with Newcastle Building Society and HM Revenue and Customs representatives appearing alongside North East favourite Greggs. Sophia went on to explain the range of companies involved.
"Every large scale company has a cyber security department. It is a constantly growing industry that needs an influx of new, young talent to further its growth. The sector is far below where it should be with this, so it is important that we support diversity and representation with these kinds of events," she said.
Schools such as Emmanuel College, Haughton Academy and Grace College brought Year 8 female pupils to make the event a huge success, reaching over 300 in number.
Ben Aung, chief risk officer for Sage, originally sanctioned the event to take place, and explained the importance of his decision.
"We have an acute gender imbalance in this industry, and I have seen both at Sage and in previous jobs just how male dominated the sector is. We also have an acute recruitment issue at the moment, so we have been creating jobs and advertising them in a way that will attract women to apply for them.
"This event is part of a shift in our strategy, looking at working from the top of the funnel, inspiring young girls to take up a career in cyber security, and more immediately to study computer science at GCSE.
"As the largest technology company in the UK, it feels a bit like if we don't do something about this then who will? There is so much untapped cyber security potential in the North East and hopefully we can build of the success of the event."
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