30 Mar What Girls Are Saying About Security
Lauren Bean Buitta helps our future defenders speak up
Northport, N.Y. – Mar. 30, 2021
Empowering girls in national security will be the most transformative advancement of the 21st century, according to Girl Security.
Lauren Bean Buitta founded Girl Security with the goal of closing an alarming gender gap. Making up less than 40 percent of the U.S. State Department’s leadership, 26 percent at the Pentagon, and only 20 percent of cybersecurity’s workforce, women are underrepresented in security.
“Girls are agents of their security every day, simply by being girls,” Buitta told us. “From a very young age, they develop a security aptitude because of the catch 22 society creates for them — they’re told to be afraid of everything, but are left without protection.”
This uniquely female experience is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath it lies unparalleled insight into security — which can, and will lead to a new understanding for the future.
Cybercrime Radio: Laura Bean Buitta, founder of Girl Security
Closing the gender gap
“People my age are beginning to understand that the system set before us is not one that will serve us if not first reformed,” wrote Avery, a 17-year-old Girl Security participant. “My generation wants to talk about what scares us. We want to solve these problems so that perhaps the next generation will not feel the same fear, yet we have grown accustomed to hearing ‘You’re too young to understand.’”
Our need for a “more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and informed national security strategy” is urgent, but first, we need girls, and “building future generations of women national security leaders begins with empowering girls in national security.” (GirlSecurity.org)
Girl Security’s SEA (Securing, Empowering, Advancing) Model normalizes the discourse around national security and highlights it as a career path for girls — something most grade school systems have failed to do. According to Buitta, “The missing ‘S’ in STEM is security.”
“If school teachers and administrators do not address disinformation and its effects, kids will continue to lack confidence in the information they consume,” wrote Nina, a Girl Security student navigating high school.
By securing with learning, empowering with training, and advancing with placement, Girl Security is well-positioned to bring in the next generation of national security.
National Girl Security Council (NGSC)
In late 2020, Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated $50,000 to Girl Security. It will help fund a nationwide afterschool program to empower girls in national security, aptly titled the National Girl Security Council (NGSC).
“Girls have been asking for this program for some time now,” Buitta said, and through NGSC’s state-of-the-art curriculum, “they will become the shepherds of their own voices on national security topics.”
Each month, students will partake in one to two hours of learning on topics at the center of national security, technology, and society. Lessons for 2021 include ethical hacking, congressional briefings, predictive analysis, and more.
“By the end of our time, Girl Security will ensure that every girl in the United States and other nations has an active role to play in security,” promised Buitta.
“When I see young girls today, I see talent,” wrote Girl Security alum Sandra Sidi in a letter to her younger self. “There is no mold you have to fit to be a woman in national security. Enjoy this incredible field. It needs you.”
Learn more about Buitta’s career and Girl Security’s mission on the Cybercrime Magazine podcast episode here.
– Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.