Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology

Adding Gender to the Algorithm

Women In International Security’s Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology: Adding Gender to the Algorithm program aims to examine complex issues in Cybersecurity and emerging technologies with a gendered lens.

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and as advancements are made in the cyber and technological realm(s), traditional conceptions of security are continually challenged[1]. With cyber capabilities opening up new avenues for conflict and non-traditional warfare[2] in the cyber realm[3], new policy fields[4] and cyber alliances[5], technologies advancing[6], information/data security evolving[7], and things such as social media platforms[8] being used to manipulate global opinions, a critical analysis of the benefits and vulnerabilities that are posed by the current and future tech and cyber evolution is more necessary than ever.

The lack of a critical gendered component in cybersecurity and technological development and use is clear and can be seen in a myriad of ways. For example, gender analysis in the cybersecurity and technology realm has traditionally been bypassed[9], focused on specific areas such as online sexual harassment[10], or given tokenistic recognition by taking the simplistic route of calling for more women CEOs of global tech companies.[11] However, a gendered, intersectional, approach to these important security matters is vital to broaden and improve the scope and impact of current and future efforts in these fields.[12]

WIIS’ Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology program seeks to compile information, prompt critical thinking, conduct analysis, and provide policy recommendations on cybersecurity, technological advancements, and the role of gender in these realms. The overarching goal is to fill the current gap in the literature by providing practitioners, academics, and policymakers with innovative and imaginative strategies and policies that examine the current and future state of these issues.

The first initiative of the WIIS Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology program is to compile information. To that end, WIIS is producing a resource packet, or a comprehensive ‘study guide’. The WIIS Cybersecurity, & Technology Study Guide is comprised of original WIIS Blogs, WIIS Policy Briefs, and other forms of unique content from a myriad of sources such as Podcasts, Reports, Journal Articles, and more; focusing on topics such as: Cyber Warfare, the Internet of Things, Big Data Issues, Military Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and more.

The Study Guide will be released weekly throughout Fall 2020 in a series of Units focused on different topics and issues. The Study Guide Units will be composed of resources across academia, government, and non-government orgs in the public and private sectors including, but not limited to, journal articles, WIIS publications, podcasts, and reports. The topics will be exhaustively researched to compile as much information as possible. Additionally, particular attention will be given to finding resources with a gender perspective on the topics. WIIS will provide a brief summary, definitions of terms, objects, and phrases in the Unit, as well as an overview of the gender component and discussion questions.

Note From the Team

In March when our office went online and all tentative plans for the coming fall were thrust into limbo, we scrambled to acquaint ourselves with our new online lives. Suddenly, our phones and computers became the center of our lives in a new way. Online meetings became our point of contact with not just our coworkers, but our friends and family too. Joke as you might that our younger generations already live their lives online, but with the threat of a pandemic at our doors, we all faced a new level of internet dependency, personally and professionally.

Of course, we knew that cybersecurity was important, but many of us taken the perhaps flippant attitude that the internet was simply omnipresent and no matter how discomfited we felt about signing away our privacy and personal information with every tick of a terms and conditions box or app download, it didn’t matter, because whomever wanted to access our information would be able to if they really wanted to. But suddenly it wasn’t just our social lives and entertainment monopolizing our technology use, but our school, work and just about everything else we could think of. We began to ask ourselves ‘is this really safe?’ ‘what is at stake here?’ So, we began to do some light personal research about internet security and the potential dangers of reliance on technology and found ourselves going down endless rabbit-holes, listening to hours of podcasts, watching videos, reading articles and getting more and more concerned and confused.

Cybersecurity and technology is something that is immediately impactful of all of our lives, so why is it so hard to wrap our heads around? As drivers, we understand the basics about our cars, but as internet users, we know close to nothing about what goes on beyond our screens. The intention of this Study Guide is to break down cybersecurity and technology basics into easily digestible bits of information. Each unit of this guide will cover a subcategory of cybersecurity with a “choose your own adventure” of resources and information. Each subcategory will have a simple outline of important information, key words and policy takeaways, for those who so choose, there will be links to further information. We hope that this information will help you to better understand the cybersphere and help you to think critically about its impact on your personal life and in your professional field.

Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology Study Guide

Meet the Team!

The Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology team is headed up by Maeve Murphy and supported by Kayla McGill and Roksana Verahrami. More information about their contributions can be found on the Decoding Cybersecurity and Technology Study Guide page!

Inquiries about the project can be directed to Maeve Murphy at [email protected]

Publish through the project!

In order to create a comprehensive collection of resources, examples, and policy in these areas, WIIS invites its members, and members of the International Security community, to submit their original work to be published as a WIIS Blog or WIIS Policy Brief.


Submission Requirements

Submissions must contain specific and practical (realistic) recommendations for civil society, states, and/or international organizations on any of the aforementioned topics regarding Cybersecurity and/or Technologies.

Each submission can focus on only one international actor or topic, (e.g. civil society, a particular state or group of states, the United Nations, a regional organization, cyber terrorism, articifical intelligence, etc.) or on a multitude of international actors or topics.


  1. Submissions must be the individuals’ own original pieces of work, not previously published OR must be readily available to add to the WIIS Study Guide;
  2. Submissions must be written in the English language and be between 1,500 and 2,000 words for Policy Briefs or Reports, or 750-1200 works for a WIIS Blog;
  3. Citations should be included as endnotes and follow the Chicago Manual of Style OR should be able to be hyperlinks;
  4. Blogs and other submission requirements must be submitted to Maeve Murphy ([email protected]).