EmPower Cyber Week 2022: Empowering girls today to build a better tomorrow

On Wednesday 23rd November, TSG were thrilled to take part in an event called EmPower at St James Park. The EmPower event is aimed at encouraging more girls into the cyber security sector. 

It was one of many regional events taking place as part of the NCSC’s Empower Cyber Week which kicked off earlier in the month. It also linked in with the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls Competition and some of the event’s organisers work on that initiative. 

20 organisations took part, each delivering a 25-minute activity that was repeated throughout the day in a carousel format to groups of 15, Year 8 girls from ten local schools. The event was also supported by the Newcastle United Foundation. 

Why is it important to get girls interested in technology at a young age? 

In a recent survey conducted by Exploding Topics and PWC, they found that: 

  • As of 2022, women hold 26.7% of technology jobs 
  • Despite equal access, women are less likely than males to pursue STEM fields in higher education, and just 18% of new computer sciences degrees are earned by women 
  • Only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice
  • 78% of students are unable to name a notable female figure in technology 
  • In the IT industry, 5% of leadership roles are held by women 

These alarming statistics show a clear issue in getting women into technical roles and being able to advance their careers. We believe that if girls learn from an early age that the technology field is an interesting and diverse career, women can start to make up more of the workforce in technical fields. 

Our session: Inside the mind of a firewall 

Our session focussed on understanding the role that a firewall plays in security – by becoming a firewall themselves. We wanted to ensure that those who participated were learning about serious cyber security topics in fun and interactive ways.  

They looked at network addresses and ports of a packet and determined if it should be allowed or blocked according to the firewall rules. The exercise that was used is Firewall Introduction – Cyber Games UK 

Each group was split into five teams of 3 and each team had a facilitator to help them complete the exercise. 

The feedback

What TSG’s ladies thought about the event 

“What an inspiring event, showcasing to 300 young girls the world of technology and cyber security. The visibility of global and local organisations coming together to provide a fun interactive day for the girls is… you guessed it, empowering!” (Bethany Marshall, TSG Academy, Consultant) 

“Very rewarding and fun day, plus a nice trip out to the stands covered in glitter is always a bonus!” (Katy Bassarab, Service Desk Team Leader – 1st Line) 

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