International Women and Girls Day in Science today, a day established by a decision of the UN General Assembly to highlight the role that women play in science and technology.
According to the United Nations Less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and only 30% of women in higher education pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
By helping to close the gap in inequality, the ESET Foundation promotes the role of women in the sciences. 2021 marks the sixth annual ESET Women in Cybersecurity Fellowship, an ESET initiative launched in the United States in 2016 that aims to help and encourage women aspiring to pursue careers in information security.
Last year, ESET celebrated this day with a presentation five unique women and their work in the IT field, from computer programmer Ada Lovelace in the mid-nineteenth century to Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.
This year, as part of the celebration, ESET brings to light findings from a recent global Financial Technology Survey (FinTech) involving 10.000 people from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil and Japan. .
The survey was conducted on consumers and explores their attitudes towards financial technology and cyber security, especially in relation to FinTech applications. The findings reveal some emerging contradictions between men and women regarding FinTech's adoption and cyber security.
Fishing scams are one of the most common types of cyber attacks and most people have received e-mail emails at some point in their lives, whether they knew it or not. ESET research showed that men and women alike said they could detect a fake email, with 70% of men believing they could, compared to 68% of women.
However, more men fully agreed that they could detect fake email, 30% vs. 23% of women, suggesting that there may be a slightly higher sense of security among men, regardless of whether that certainty is valid or not.
Regarding the use of applications FinTech, men and women had a lot in common. Nearly one-fifth (18%) of men use more than five FinTech applications / platforms compared to 15% of women. And while men were slightly more likely to test their technological skills, the gender differences were quite small.
However, the difference among those who agreed that there was sufficient information about the potential risks of FinTech applications was slightly larger, with half of men (50%) agreeing compared to 43% of women.
The survey also found that those who described themselves as "intermediate" (39%) or "advanced" (36%) were more likely to use more than five FinTech applications. , compared to those recorded as "baseline" (25%).
It is also worth noting that 55% of those who use more than five FinTech applications are men and 45% are women.
Some of the most interesting answers were given about their attitude towards cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. While slightly more men than women have shown interest in cryptocurrencies and participated (19% vs. 12%) since the onset of the pandemic, there is no gender segregation for those who are interested but have not yet dealt with cryptocurrencies: this percentage is exactly 18 % for both men and women.
Although ESET research focuses on financial technology and cyber security, the small percentage difference between the sexes may shed light on the fact that most of the differences around women's apparent interest in technology stem from perceptions and prejudices rather than from the actual levels of interest in technology. Thus, lower rates of participation in science and technology among women are more likely to reflect false stereotypes and stereotypes of non-inclusion.
According to ESET, today serves as a reminder that we need to remove barriers that prevent those who could innovate from taking advantage of their potential. In other words: The greater the diversity in science and technology, the more innovative the ideas that will be born.