I believe that the gender gap which exists to this day, has been exacerbated by a feeling of inadequacy from females. This has discouraged women from applying for jobs in certain sectors that they are actually qualified for. As I was once told, on average, when a woman looks at a job posting, she will dwell on the requirements that she cannot fill, and hence, not feel confident enough to apply. However, when a man looks at that job posting, even if he fills just one of the requirements, he will feel confident enough to apply. This thinking is leading to men often dominating IT and cyber sectors, and according to WISE in 2018, only 16% of women work as IT professionals and 17% of IT technicians are women.
Of those women that do break the boundaries into these male-dominated fields, many suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ which is a “psychological term that refers to a pattern of behaviour wherein people (even those with adequate external evidence of success) doubt their abilities and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud” (Mullangi and Jagsi, 2019). Having experienced this myself, I can sympathise with other females, as this syndrome disproportionately affects women and minority groups, who often lack sufficient role models of success.
However, this does not represent a negative trait from these groups, but instead, a symptom and inequity representing the disease (Mullangi and Jagsi, 2019). Therefore, it is essential that the disease is treated by promoting equitable representation of minorities and females through system-level intervention in all sectors, including IT and cyber, to enable those affected to feel that they deserve the positions they are in.
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