Mid North Coast high school girls are being encouraged to peruse a career in cyber security and technology as part of a series of interactive workshops.
The three day workshop hosted by Charles Sturt University is about empowering girls to feel confident in their abilities to work in science and technology related fields.
Charles Sturt associate professor Tanveer Zia said there was a real need to entice more girls into what is traditionally seen as a male dominated career.
"Only 11 percent of those working in cyber security are female and of that only one percent will become leaders," Mr Zia said.
"The objective of this workshop is to give females in year 9 and 10 an awareness about what cyber security is and show them that they can work in the technology field after school and university. "
The Girls in Cyber Security Advancing (GiCSA) workshop is being held at the Charles Sturt's Port Macquarie campus from July 2-4 and will be repeated at the end of the month.
"Part of the workshop is about breaking down the stereotype that the only people who work in cyber security are men in hoodies in a dark room somewhere. The other part is showing the girls how to navigate the cyber world," he said.
"We have explored what malware is, tested encryption software and the girls have also been exploring their digital footprint.
"They have also had to work in teams and are learning that a lot of the soft skills that come more easily to females are more crucial in cyber security than the technology skills."
Participants from each of the workshops - which started in Wagga Wagga last November - will take part in a cyber challenge in September with the top 16 girls then sent to a leadership camp in February 2020.
The first workshop held in Port Macquarie was attended by students at St Paul's College in Kempsey with Port Macquarie students taking part in the workshop at the end of the month.
Eve Harradine and Matilda Dowling said they had learnt lots of different things.
"It has been really interesting to learn about cyber security and I think it is a good thing to learn so you know how to be safe online," Matilda said.
"For us it is good to learn about it now so that when we are picking subjects of thinking about a career after school we know this is an option."
"It is so interesting to know that women used to work in the technology field 20 or 30 years ago but nowadays the numbers of women in technology fields are actually dropping," Eve said.
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