"I have never done this before, so I'm probably really good at this". Report on women in ICT and ICT security

Mars 2020

This report was commissioned by the National Center for Science Recruitment. The aim of the study was to identify and map causal factors that can help explain why few women choose ICT subjects in general and cybersecurity in particular, with the aim of using this knowledge to recruit more women to ICT and cybersecurity.

The report documents that many young women in Norway do not consider ICT as a relevant education and career choice when they are in the transition between upper secondary school and higher education. Based on in-depth interviews with 24 women: 12 in ICT and 12 in cybersecurity, the analysis of factors that determine girls' choice of ICT identifies six "routes" that have led women to an education in ICT and cybersecurity.

The Norwegian women share a relatively negative expectations to the ICT study environment before they enter, but most are also positively surprised when they start, with women's visibility and community characterize many of their stories. Many of the women are enthusiastic about programming, but they also associate it with a typical boys' relationship to ICT. Several of the women refer to Pippi Longstocking's motto and thus create a room for women who do not have the same experience as men: "I have never done this before, so I'm probably really good at this."

Based on the identified challenges and barriers for women to enter ICT education the report provides recommendations and proposes goals for future efforts to recruit women to ICT studies.