Much Ado About Impact

Impact. The fleeting quantity by which scientists, academic journals and universities are ranked to direct research funding. For a 21st century academic, this elusive entity should simultaneously pervade research motivation, method, output and outreach. In some it raises eyebrows and suspicion just like any other buzzword, in others it raises hope for making a difference in an increasingly complex and deranged world. There’s much ado about impact, but what exactly is it, and how, if at all, should it be measured?

To begin with, I’ll start with a disclaimer: if by impact we mean having positive and high-quality influence with our research, I’m all in for impact. In fact, as someone working in environmental research, I’d be absolutely thrilled to see our work having more impact. Unfortunately, however, “impact” isn’t always what it seems to be. Therefore, a critical dissection of the notion of impact seems to be in place.

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Why Women Are Leaving The Cybersecurity Space

In the USA, women only account for 11% of the cybersecurity workforce. 34% of doctors are women. 36% of lawyers are women. 16% of the armed forces are women. Coming from a nonprofit background, which is an industry with a pretty even proportion of men and women, to working in cybersecurity space feels so unbalanced to me. It’s disheartening and disappointing to see this happening in 2018. 

Since entering the cybersecurity space, I’ve connected with dozens of women, and many are leaving the field after spending years in cybersecurity. From their shared experiences, there seemed to be similarities in being the only woman in the room when it came to training courses within cybersecurity and networking events. This made them feel as though they were sticking out since it’s usually a male dominated space.

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