Breaking Barriers: ESET Joins Forces with Bournemouth University to Elevate Women in Cybersecurity

by | May 3, 2024

In the contemporary digital landscape, the imperative of robust cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Yet, within this essential field, the representation of women remains strikingly low. Addressing this critical gap, Bournemouth University has forged a partnership with ESET, a leader in the digital security industry, to champion a new epoch of diversity and empowerment for women in technology. The ESET Women in Cyber Studentship is a beacon for change, challenging entrenched barriers and creating new opportunities for female tech enthusiasts.

The technology sector, and cybersecurity in particular, is confronted with a pronounced gender imbalance. The implications of this are significant, considering the integral role of cybersecurity in safeguarding our digitized existence. At Bournemouth University, the gender gap is evidenced by the fact that women account for only 13% of the student body in cybersecurity programs. This stark reality underscores the need for initiatives like the ESET Women in Cyber Studentship. This program goes beyond offering a £5,000 grant to support women in one of three cybersecurity courses at BU; it extends a vital financial lifeline to those whose aspirations may be impeded by economic challenges.

The impact of the studentship extends well beyond monetary assistance. Recipients gain unprecedented access to the cybersecurity sector through practical experiences and mentorship from ESET professionals. This engagement is twofold: it enhances the educational journey and equips students with the practical competencies and industry knowledge critical for success in a competitive job market. Claire House-Norman, Director of Fundraising & Alumni Relations at BU, underscores the initiative’s holistic strategy, which alleviates financial stress and secures invaluable work placements, thereby building a comprehensive support network for the recipients.

ESET’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in tech is not a novel pursuit. Having established scholarship programs in North America, the company’s collaboration with BU signifies a strategic effort to cultivate a diverse talent pool in cybersecurity worldwide. Matt Knell, ESET’s UK Country Manager, points out that the initiative aims to bridge the gender divide in STEM and shed light on the myriad career opportunities within cybersecurity.

Over the course of three academic years, the ESET Women in Cyber Studentship will profoundly impact the lives of three female students, providing not only fiscal support but also essential hardware packages for their academic pursuits. This is particularly relevant in light of data from the Higher Education Statistic Agency for the 2019/20 academic year, which showed that only 20% of computer science graduates were women. Given that women make up a mere 20% of the UK’s cybersecurity workforce, targeted initiatives are essential to redress this imbalance.

The alliance between ESET and BU is a testament to how partnerships between corporate entities and academic institutions can drive significant advancements in the tech landscape. The ESET Women in Cyber Studentship is a transformative initiative that replaces barriers with gateways to a cybersecurity community that thrives on diversity and dynamism. By fostering gender equality, this program not only advances social equity but also bolsters the cybersecurity field with a plethora of perspectives, experiences, and skills that are vital in tackling complex security challenges.

The launch of the ESET Women in Cyber Studentship, in collaboration with Bournemouth University, marks a decisive stride towards gender parity within the cybersecurity sector. Through strategic partnerships, pioneering programs, and a steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion, there is a formidable opportunity to nurture the next generation of female cybersecurity professionals. The program stands as a testament to the potential of shaping a balanced, inclusive, and robust cybersecurity workforce that reflects the diverse talent and expertise in our society. In shaping this trajectory, ESET and BU are not only influencing the cybersecurity field—they are reshaping its very foundation for the benefit of future generations.