Over 200,000 Girl Scouts Have Earned Cybersecurity Badges
Gender Inequality in the Cybersecurity Industry
Women hold just 24% of the cybersecurity jobs worldwide. At Palo Alto Networks, we believe achieving our vision of a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before requires an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Diversification of the future workforce was one of the driving forces behind Palo Alto Networks’ desire to forge a partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA in 2017, to develop their first-ever nationwide cybersecurity badge program. Our experts worked in tandem with curriculum developers from Girl Scouts of the USA to develop three badges for each Girl Scout grade level—Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors.
The first group of cybersecurity badges was launched in the summer of 2018 and was aimed at providing Daisies, Brownies and Juniors with fundamental cybersecurity skills. Badges for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors launched in the summer of 2019. Since the badges have rolled out, over 200,000 badges have been earned by girls around the world. Sarina Noorani, age 8, stated, “I enjoyed learning about what information to share and what not to share. It was a fun class and the game we played was fun too.”
The lessons are fun and hands-on and cover many different cybersecurity topics, from how to physically protect and secure various devices, to understanding cryptography and communicating encrypted messages. Girls also learn what types of information is ok to share and with whom.
We enjoyed a lot of early in-person events with the partnership, including participating in Girl Scouts Day on the Hill with the US Congress and an in-person event in Southern California with Congresswoman Jacqui Irwin, where we facilitated a workshop for Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast. One of our proudest moments was hosting Girl Scouts of Northern California at our Santa Clara, CA headquarters for a day of learning. We were even able to educate parent chaperones at that event on what to look out for.
A Global Pandemic Means More Time Online
Like many in 2020, the worldwide pandemic necessitated changes to our plans and strategies. While students were sent home to shelter in place, those who had access to technology and virtual education spent more and more time online. We worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA to deliver many of these hands-on lessons online. Palo Alto Networks employees were keen to provide their expertise in delivering virtual badge workshops. One such deployment was in October, in tandem with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, for Girl Scouts of Western Washington. Over 80 Cadettes participated in the three-hour workshops held on the weekends. Over 20 Brownies and Daisies from Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas also earned their badges through a virtual event workshop. Palo Alto Networks Sales Representative Maddie Moore spearheaded that effort: “I think it’s a great opportunity to give back and inspire young girls to think differently and boldly about what a potential career in technology would look like!”
Most recently, on February 27, we joined forces with volunteers from a strategic partner to our business to roll out the program internationally: Girl Scouts Overseas (USA GSO) in Singapore, at five different grade levels, earned their first Palo Alto Networks cybersecurity badges. The Girl Scouts are now eagerly awaiting workshops to earn their second and third badges to complete the entire series.
This Spring, we have events planned for over 100 Girl Scouts in Northern California and will have a presentation at the virtual National Girl Scout STEM Festival on April 17, titled “Five Reasons Why You Want a Career in Cybersecurity (open to the public).” Our employees across the globe are eager to support this effort and recognize the importance of cybersecurity fundamentals, especially during our modern pivot to online learning.
Learn more about Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
We’re 2.5 million strong—more than 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
Learn more about Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks’ partnership with Girl Scouts is just part of our cybersecurity education efforts, which also includes Cyber Activities in Cybersecurity Education for Students (Cyber A.C.E.S.), a free program available to the public, and our recently formed Cyber STARS program, which provides Black youth in America these educational resources with mentoring, scholarships and more.