Confidence Staveley, an award-winning cybersecurity expert and the executive director of the Cybersafe foundation, is one of those women in tech using ingenious methods to achieve her goals for the community.
Technology is one of the historically male-dominated industries. The National Bureau of Statistics states that women make up only 22 percent of Engineering and Technology University graduates yearly.
Confidence is one of the few breaking the bias. The first-class graduate from the University of Middlesex has soared to global prominence, and her career path is one to inspire other Women in Tech.
While preparing to study Medicine and Surgery at the university level, she stumbled into tech at a time when most people could not fathom the possibilities it holds.
Tech Journey- Abandoning the medicine dream to become an international cybersecurity expert
Confidence Staveley bought the idea of becoming a medical doctor when she was a child. Her well-meaning parents wanted the best for her and encouraged her to become a physician. She worked toward this aim until she took a break between secondary school education and the beginning of her undergraduate studies.
During the gap year, she realized that her interest was not Medicine. Her parents – a public servant and a petty trader – enrolled her in a “computer school” to keep her busy. This fortuitous experience sparked her real interest in technology.
Confidence had to find creative ways of persuading her parents that technology was her passion, especially when many Nigerians weren’t fully aware of the prospects and benefits of technology.
As a creative child without a personal computer, she made a PowerPoint presentation using cardboard to argue against her parents’ aspirations for her to study medicine and defend her affinity for technology.
It was in that computer school I got exposed to using computers, I got exposed to programming languages. I used to be so happy whenever I get to that school. I felt alive.
For Confidence, breaking into the cybersecurity industry was more of an exciting challenge, despite the perception that it was a difficult field.
It was during my IT management study. We were to pick electives and one of them was cryptography. Words on the street was that cryptography was very difficult but I was like what is in that place that everyone is saying is so difficult? The people there, do they have two heads? Let me go and see for myself
Confidence Staveley: A Cybersecurity Queen
Confidence Staveley is one of the most celebrated female Cybersecurity Leaders in Africa. She is an official member and the first Nigerian woman inducted into the Forbes Technology Council.
She won the CyberSecurity Woman of the Year Award at the Cybersecurity Merit Awards by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) in 2022. She was honored with the Meridian International Center Global Leadership Award the same year.
The digital development enthusiast won the IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security & Fire (One-to-Watch) for 2021 and the Young CISO of the Year award in 2021.
She is an alumnus of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers and is listed as one of the Top 50 Women in Cybersecurity in Africa 2020.
Helping others grow
Confidence Staveley focuses on simplifying cybersecurity, especially for individuals and SMEs, the end users of technology, given the huge cybersecurity threat in Nigeria and Africa.
She established the Cybersafe foundation to implement her vision of cyber safety for the continent by assisting vulnerable African people in addressing cybersecurity challenges.
Confidence aims to “simplify and make cybersecurity action relatable for the average person. Everyone must be aware of the security repercussions of their online acts,” she says.
The Cybersafe foundation has received much support and attention worldwide thanks to its numerous initiatives aimed at diverse audiences. One of the projects, Cybergirls, launched in Nigeria, and its impact has spread to six other African nations.
In total, 430 African girls have been trained through the one-year fellowship program, and the next cohort hopes to train 500 more.
Confidence has collaborated with KPMG and the UK government to release a toolkit called ‘The Sabi Toolkit’ to help senior citizens improve their cybersecurity using recent technology.
We also offer a service that offers free API testing for startups in the African ecosystem.
Her ultimate objective is to equip the most vulnerable people in Africa and make them become security conscious.
On Women’s Inclusion in Tech
Confidence Staveley believes there is still much to be done to achieve gender equality, particularly in the tech industry. The ratio of women to men is extremely low in the tech space, and several factors are to blame for this imbalance.
According to her, women encounter numerous issues which contribute to the gender gap in the sector. These challenges stifle their ability to obtain high-paying skills such as cybersecurity.
There is little encouragement for girls to enter the industry early enough to allow them to explore the various career options available to them.
We have a lot of data to show that men have access to computing devices way more than women, so you will find out that there are more male owners of devices like laptops than women
The accessibility of devices is another problem. Furthermore, the wage disparity and social status disadvantage women when acquiring the skills and materials required to succeed in tech.
Vision for her advocacy
“I want to walk into a room in 5 years, where half of the table are women that are very knowledgeable in cybersecurity. I am looking at a continent where we become a capital for cyber talents across the world. We should move from becoming the cybercrime capital to becoming the cyber talent capital.”
5 cybersecurity tip every individual need to know- Confidence Staveley’s opinion
- Always turn on the two-factor authentification.
- Having a strong and unique password. One secret is having a password manager.
- Use a good antivirus on all your devices.
- Learn about deception tactics and how cybercriminals use them.
- Avoid downloading applications or software outside of legitimate platforms.
Confidence Staveley asserts that embracing your tech journey with passion and enthusiasm is crucial because, although there may be more gender-based obstacles, gender should not stand in the way of achieving your goals.
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