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The status of Canadian women in cyber security called sad

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Let us travel in a time machine to the dark, sexist past of Canada. Way back, about nine months ago, to the year 2018.Lisa Kearney had recently been appointed director of product security at a British Columbia firm, which meant she oversaw design and product rollout. In addition, she was hired to design the company’s cyber security framework.A staff meeting was being arranged and a man sitting beside her said, “Don’t worry about attending this meeting, it’s technical.” On another occasion her boss said, “You can attend (a meeting), but in listen-only mode.”Not long after, for these and other reasons, Kearney left the firm to set up a Vancouver-based non-profit called the Women Cybersecurity Society to support women and girls interested in cybersecurity through programs and services to help remove career roadblocks. It has chapters in four Canadian cities as well as New York, Dublin and Leeds, U.K.An online survey the society is running found that over 80 per cent of women respondents said they had suffered bullying and harassment where they have worked, Kearney said. Most felt they had no place to in their organizations to complain. Of those who said they did complain, many said nothing happened.Kearney was one of two women who talked about the highs and lows of having a career in cybersecurity at the International Cyber Security and Intelligence Conference, which wrapped up Thursday.The other speaker, Rima Aristocrat, CEO of Ottawa’s Willis College, a private post-secondary institution that offers courses in cybersecurity, called the situation of women in the industry “sad”.Fewer than 10 per cent of the technology and cybersecurity jobs in Canada are held by women, she said. One problem is the image of cybersecurity as unwelcoming to women.“If we are going to solve the [cyber] labour problem we need to be recruiting from 100 per cent of the population, not 50 per cent — men,” she maintained. “In addition to making financial sense it is the right thing to do.”Aristocrat talked about an ongoing study funded by the Canadian Department of National Defence and overseen by the college and Calian Technologies on why women aren’t entering the cyber industry.While the final report hasn’t been released, she said she learned the tech industry believes it can recruit men and women in the same way, and the public still sees the IT department as “dark, mysterious and supports a nerd culture.”Governments, industry, academia need to do moreYet both believe more women should enter the profession and call on industry, governments and academia to do more to erase gender barriers.Both say sexism needs to be publicly discussed, but also the achievements of women in the industry.Kearney touts declaring Sept. 1st as International Women in Cyber Security Day. So far Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John’s, N.L., have agreed.While Willis College offers scholarships for women and Aristocrat speaks often publicly on the industry, she admits men outnumber women five to one in the college’s classrooms.The image of IT as a male-dominated industry doesn’t help. And, she warned corporate managers, “When women raise concerns, listen and act.”CISOs need to educate managers about the importance of cyber security, she added.Changing the image of cybersecurity has to start in elementary schools, Aristocrat said in an interview, with parents as well as students.More to be doneDespite her recent experiences, Kearney feels very encouraged about the status of women in cyber security today because many in the industry are working to improve conditions. But, she adds, “there’s lots of opportunity for growth.”But differences in pay between men and women who do the same work, few promotions and opportunities for training and career development are frustrating, she said.Kearney was asked in an interview if telling women about the problem she’s suffered over the years will keep them away from the industry, “I’ve thought about that a lot,” she replied. “And sometimes I wonder. I do use certain caution when I’m telling new women about it.“But I also feel it’s really important that I do that because it would be putting women at a disadvantage to be telling them about the industry through rose-coloured glasses and say ‘It will all be wonderful.’ I can’t do that because it would be irresponsible. But I also want to equip them. And that’s what my organization is about: Equipping them about moving through those challenges and to be successful.”The conference was sponsored by the Ontario College of Management and Technology, a private career college.This section is powered by IT World Canada. ITWC covers the enterprise IT spectrum, providing news and information for IT professionals aiming to succeed in the Canadian market. read more

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Volkswagen plans allelectric car for China next year

Volkswagen plans all-electric car for China next year by Joe McDonald, The Associated Press Posted Apr 18, 2017 8:48 am MDT Last Updated Apr 18, 2017 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Workers prepare for the Auto Shanghai 2017 show at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. At the auto show, the global industry’s biggest marketing event of the year, almost every global and Chinese auto brand is showing at least one electric concept vehicle, if not a market-ready model. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) SHANGHAI – Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest automaker, plans to launch its first pure-electric car in China next year as Beijing steps up pressure on the industry to promote alternatives to gasoline.The announcement Tuesday comes on the eve of the Shanghai auto show, which showcases industry efforts to create electric models with consumer appeal. General Motors Co.’s Buick unit and Ford Motor Co. also have announced new electric vehicles for China this year.The VW model will be the first in a range of electric vehicles in China, said Jochem Heizmann, head of VW’s China unit. It is due to be produced under a new brand name with a local partner, state-owned Jianghuai Automotive Corp.“This will be a new co-operation on pure battery cars,” said Heizmann. “Our challenging target is to come, already next year in 2018, to the market with the first car.”China has the world’s most aggressive electric car goals. Communist leaders are promoting them to clean up smog-choked cities and in hopes of taking the lead in an emerging technology.Regulators have jolted the industry with a proposal to require electrics to account for at least 8 per cent of each brand’s production by next year.At the auto show, the global industry’s biggest marketing event of the year, almost every global and Chinese auto brand is showing at least one electric concept vehicle, if not a market-ready model.Heizmann said VW, which vies with GM for the title of China’s top-selling automaker, expects annual sales of at least 400,000 “new energy vehicles” — the government’s term for electric or gasoline-electric hybrids — by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025.The plan to create a new brand for the VW-Jianghuai partnership follows an approach taken by Mercedes-Benz, GM and Nissan Motor Co. Foreign brands are under pressure from Chinese regulators to help local partners create indigenous brands.Despite government subsidies and other encouragement, electric cars have yet to catch on with China’s driving public due to concern about their limited range. Most Chinese automakers sell plug-in battery models but their range is usually no more than 120 to 150 kilometres (75 to 95 miles) — too little to attract most buyers.Sales of electric and gasoline-electric hybrids fell 4.4 per cent from a year earlier to 55,929 vehicles while sales of SUVs rose 21 per cent to 2.4 million.Heizmann said the industry needs to find a way to create electric models that appeal to consumers. He said VW was trying to do that by developing vehicles for different market segments.“You have to achieve cars which are competitive,” he said.To encourage foreign automakers to help develop China’s electric vehicle industry, regulators have allowed them to form additional joint ventures with local partners on top of the two that are allowed for traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.That allowed Volkswagen to create its partnership with Jianghuai alongside ventures with two other state-owned automakers.Heizmann said foreign manufacturers also are no longer required to hand over electric technology to Chinese partners. He said VW’s venture with Jianghuai involves jointly developing the product.“We will be fast. We will use their technology. We will put in some of our own technology and experience,” he said.Heizmann said Volkswagen’s luxury unit, Audi, is coming to market with a plug-in electric version of its A6 sedan that can go 50 kilometres (35 miles) on one charge.In its next stage of development, VW plans to produce a version of its Golf for China with a 300 kilometre (185 mile) range, Heizmann said. He said plans then call for vehicles designed from scratch for pure-electric propulsion with a range of 500 kilometres (300 miles) or more.Beijing also is steadily tightening fuel efficiency and emissions standards, which Heizmann said are on track to become the world’s most stringent. He said that will narrow the “cost gap” between electrics and gasoline by requiring more expensive technology for internal combustion while batteries should get cheaper.At the same time, Heizmann said Volkswagen and its Audi and Skoda brands also are aggressively promoting SUVs. He said the brands plan to roll out a total of 10 new locally produced SUVs over the next two years. read more