U.S. Girl Scouts as young as 5 years old will soon be able to earn their first-ever cybersecurity badges. 18 of these merit patches will be launched by the Girl Scouts of the USA starting in September, 2018.
From Reuters, citing the organization's press release:
The education program, which aims to reach as many as 1.8 million Girl Scouts in kindergarten through sixth grade, is being developed in a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks, a security company.
The goal is to prevent cyber attacks and restore trust in digital operations by training "tomorrow's diverse and innovative team of problem solvers equipped to counter emerging cyber threats," Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks, said in the release.
The move to instill "a valuable 21st century skill set" in girls best known for cookie sales is also aimed at eliminating barriers to cyber security employment, such as gender and geography, said Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Women remain vastly underrepresented in the cyber security industry, holding just 11 percent of jobs globally, according to a recent study by (ISC)2, an international nonprofit focused on cyber security.
[image: A Girl Scout works on a laptop computer, in a photo released June 21, 2017. Girl Scouts of the USA/Handout via REUTERS]