Tech

Steve Kaaru

Mastercard invests in Girls4Tech for more female cryptographers

Mastercard has always strived to be at the forefront of emerging technologies. And in today’s world, cryptography is the field that’s generating all the buzz. An ever-increasing need for enhanced privacy made cryptographers be in high demand. The rise of cryptocurrencies only heightened the demand.

However, according to one Mastercard executive, the field is dominated by men. This is in tandem with a long trend of men dominating careers in the Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) industries. The company’s new initiative is meant to change this, one girl at a time.

According to Dana Lorberg, the Girls4Tech initiative will serve two purposes. First, it will introduce more women to the field of cryptography. Second, it will help train more experts to fill up the ever-emerging positions in this field.

Speaking to crypto media outlet The Block, the executive vice president of Operations and Technology at Mastercard said, “Cryptography and cyber security are crucial fields…but finding women in them is like finding unicorns.”

Lorberg revealed that the initiative dates back to 2014. Its target is to reach at least 300,000 girls by the end of this year. It encourages young people to take an interest in tech and possibly become Mastercard employees in the future. 

So, why did the program include cryptography as one of its main focus areas? She explained:

“Why do we have the cryptography piece? Why do we care about that particular tech? I’ve been in tech for a long time and I feel like cryptography is one of the first technologies that has penetrated the consuming public…It has become interesting to the world.”

Cryptography is also central to Mastercard’s operations, she stated. In recent months, the global payments giant has hired more cryptographers and engineers as it seeks to keep up with its competitors such as Visa.

While Mastercard has been one of the dominant forces in the payments space, it has faced stiff competition from digital startups in the past few years. Europe has been one of the regions where competition has intensified the most. In January this year, the EU fined Mastercard $684 million for obstructing cross-border payments. The EU stated that the firm prevented merchants from accessing lower fee payments which were available across the block.

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