Girl Scouts will offer cybersecurity badges

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Girls Scouts nationwide will get the opportunity to explore more opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Girl Scouts of the USA announced that girl scouts in grades K-12 can earn cybersecurity badges.

Badges are the insignia of Girl Scouts, proudly displayed on vests and sashes. It’s a way for the girls to explore their interests and learn new skills.

“Those girls are learning lifelong skills that they’re going to take with them beyond Girl Scouts and into the world,” said Darcy Gray, communications director for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Starting in September 2018, the Girl Scouts will get to develop their problem-solving and leadership skills with the new cybersecurity badges.

“I can’t believe they’re going to give the girls a chance to go into the field,” said Girl Scout Senior Jordan Plowman. “Most girls we’re like ‘No. No, I don’t think I can do that.'”

According to the director of engineering technology at Wichita State University, women represent about 10% in the cybersecurity industry.

“There is a feel that this is more of the guy’s job. It’s more of a nerdy job,” said Deepak Gupta. “Therefore they do not want to go in this area.”

However, for local girls, it’s an area they want to master.

“In the future, LifeLock won’t be the only people for helping people who got hacked,” said Kaley Mulligan, a Girl Scout Cadette.

With the growing number of attacks, Gupta said the industry needs more workers.

“It’s really important in terms of the economy, in terms of the well-being, even there could be life threats,” he said.

Gupta added the new cybersecurity badges are a step in the right direction.

“They have taken an initiative that is going to help, not only the women, but the entire industry here in the US,” said Gupta.

Girl Scouts will be able to focus on topics such as data privacy, cyberbulling, becoming an ethical hacker, and learning how to code.