If Internet security is the latest front in the battle to boost women’s presence in STEM fields, the fight’s not going well. A survey commissioned by Raytheon and the national Cyber Security Alliance finds the gap in interest in the field shown by men and women has widened in the past year.

The study, “Securing Our Future: Closing the Cyber Talent Gap,” finds low overall awareness of the field: In the U.S., 67% of men and 77% of women said no high school or secondary school teacher, guidance or career counselor ever mentioned the idea of a cybersecurity career.

Zogby Analytics surveyed 4,000 adults ages 18 to 26 to find the causes of the cyber talent gap. One reason may be access to the cybersecurity field: Men were twice as likely as women to have spoken with a cybersecurity professional while making career plans.

“Not only are we missing obvious opportunity to remediate a global shortfall of cybersecurity workers, but we’re also seeing the problem compounded by leaving women behind when it comes to cybersecurity education, programs and careers,” Valecia Maclin, Raytheon program director of cybersecurity and special missions, said in announcing the study. “It’s critical that public and private partnerships focus on encouraging young girls to foster an interest in science, technology, engineering and math, so that more women are prepared to enter this burgeoning field and help create a diverse, talented workforce.”

The Raytheon report is available here. Why do you think this field is seeing a decline in interest and participation by women? Share your thoughts at GlassCeiling.com. Join the conversation.

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