Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Craigslist Founder On Women In Cybersecurity And Girls Who Code

Craig Newmark Philanthropies funds a program aimed at producing 100 new female cybercrime fighters

Steven T. Kroll

Northport, N.Y. – May 20, 2019

The golden rule is not just an expression for Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. It’s the way he lives his life. He is not one simply to talk about doing the right thing, but follows through putting, as he says, “one’s money where one’s mouth is.”         

At the Manhattan campus of NYIT, Newmark sat down with Cybercrime Magazine guest host, Nada Anid, to talk about his philanthropic mission, his initiative to support women in tech, and the importance of sending the elevator back down.

While the percentage of women in cybersecurity is calculated at 20 percent, it’s time to improve those numbers and move toward gender equity. Newmark commented on the fact that popular culture is working on this, specifically in TV shows like NCIS and CSI and science fiction movies like Star Wars. That’s not enough according to Newmark, so he’s in the midst of sponsoring programs to help women enter tech and cybersecurity.

“The idea is to find those organizations which stand up for people and about moving better towards fairness, opportunity, and respect,” says Newmark. “It means standing up for women who are more than qualified for a lot of tech positions but seem to rarely get a break.”

Newmark’s philanthropic mission recently granted a $160,000 gift to fully fund the 100 Women in 100 Days Cybersecurity Certification Program — an initiative that is dedicated to upping the number of women in cybersecurity, increasing representation in the hope that young girls will learn about the field, and helping 100 women restart their careers.

Carmen Marsh, CEO of Intelligenca, the organization that created 100 Women in 100 Days, reached out to Newmark late last year, who responded immediately. The two fleshed out the program together in what Marsh says “was the best collaboration in the world.”

“It’s gratifying when you’re working so hard on the details of your plan and you have help and guidance from someone like Craig,” adds Marsh. Right now, 100 Women in 100 Days is at capacity and begins in June. Marsh plans to replicate this program in every city, state, and country.

Programs such as this one do not get the level of press coverage they deserve, according to Newmark, which reinforces the narrative that women are not in the STEM fields. However, he has noticed an uptick in the number of women in high-level positions at the DHS, FBI, SBA, and the White House. He endeavors to carry this message forward.

Still, Newmark wants to continue building the pipeline because he believes more needs to happen. He does this by working with groups like Girls Who Code — a nonprofit that aims to encourage young women to enter computer science — and seeking more opportunities.

“I have a pending request out to learn more about what the Girl Scouts are doing because that seems to fit perfectly within my wheelhouse,” says Newmark. “In that sense the idea is to start early, get people trained, and into the beginning of, if not cybersecurity careers, at least greater awareness of cyber hygiene.”

The golden rule is intrinsic to most people, according to Newmark, but many fail with follow-through. That is, people want equality and fairness but don’t always do what they say. This is no problem for Newmark.

“He’s actually walking the talk, down there in the trenches to work with all of us,” says Marsh. “He really cares, and it shows.”

Steven T. Kroll is a public relations specialist and staff writer at Cybercrime Magazine.