Girl Guides encouraged to earn their cybersecurity badge

Canadian girl guides are moving as quickly with the digital age as any of the top IT firms are.  

One of the country’s leading telecoms firms has announced the launch of a program to encourage young girls to develop their interest in cybersecurity.

Blackberry and Girl Guides of Canada have teamed up to devise the Digital Defenders project aimed at girls aged between 5 and 17. As part of the program, girls will be learning IT essentials, such as how a computer works, data travel paths and common security practices.

What they will learn

The project is made up of eight different learning programs, each of which is aimed towards a different age group. Those on the younger end of the scale can take part in activities such as creating binary bracelets, whilst older girls can play games that involve exploring the workings and manifestations of malware.

Expert talks from Blackberry are also available to the guides. Sarah Tatsis, vice-president of BlackBerry Advanced Technology Development Labs says there is also a chance for the girls to tour Blackberry centers and offices.

One intention of the project is to prevent the existing gender gap in the technology industry, which experts suggest that girls as young as 11 can perceive.

“There’s a talent shortage in cybersecurity,” said Tatsis. “If we can get more people–and I mean half the population is more people–interested in cybersecurity roles, then maybe [they can] hopefully come back and actually enter the workforce.”

No rigid requirements

Of course, in true Girl Guides tradition, the youngsters will also receive a badge on completion of the course. However, the scheme does not have any rigid requirements and is more focused on the participant choosing the selection of activities which they prefer.

Jill Zelmanovits, chief executive officer of Girl Guides of Canada says that omitting such strict rules will encourage the girls to want to learn about cybersecurity and take away from a school-like environment.