In this episode we celebrate International Women’s Day Tuesday 8th March 2022, #BreakTheBias, by speaking to Tracy Edwards MBE. Please visit her website and learn more about her and her charity The Maiden Factor. For those who are not aware she is featured in the Netflix documentary, The Maiden.
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Hello and welcome to the cyber threat weekly your podcast by the police delivering you non technical Cybersecurity Awareness. I'm Patrick Detective and Cyber Protect Officer within the West Midlands Regional Cybercrime Unit. I'm here today with my colleague Vicki.
Hi there, my name is Vickie. I'm a Protect and Prepare and Prevent officer that works alongside Pat on the team.
First time for you on the podcast. So you're obviously very welcome for those who kindly downloaded our podcast and listen to us. Will, of course, notice we've taken a bit of a break, we're going through a bit of a transition, and in the future, the podcast will be changing its name to the National Police Cyber Podcast. We have decided to do this one off podcast in the meantime to mark International Women's Day and today we're extremely fortunate to get Tracy Edwards MBE with us today, who rose to prominence when she skippered the first all female crew in the 1989 Whitbread round the world Yaght Race. As a result, she became the first woman to receive the yachtsman of the year trophy and was appointed MBE she is a published author, having written two books about her experiences, and now spends her days split between being an accomplished motivational speaker and running her beloved charity, The Maiden factor.
In addition to this in case you are wondering why she is on the cyberthreat weekly podcast she has experienced at a high level in child protection and online safety.
It's quite a privilege to have you, Tracy, we haven't recently or ever actually say had somebody who's got their own Netflix documentary, all the links to you, and everything you want, will be in our show notes afterwards.
Welcome and thank you for taking some valuable time out of your diary.
Yes, I'm truly honoured to have met you, Tracy and thank you so much for joining us. I know our listeners are going to be absolutely over the moon to kind of hear more about you, and your incredible story. And so, you know, after I know we've given a bit of an intro, but would you like to tell us a little bit more about, you know, your journey and your background.
So I got into sailing in a little bit of a strange way. I didn't come up through us through the ranks, normally, I was expelled from school when I was 15 years old. And my long suffering mother thought that it might be a very good idea for me to do some travelling. And so at the age of 16, I went backpacking through Greece, those were the days, which I mean, it was pretty safe then. And I ended up working in a bar in Piraeus in Greece, and at the age of 17, with no clue of what I wanted to do, no qualifications, no exams, you know, just sort of a string of disappointed people behind me. And it was at that moment that a man walked into the bar that I was working in one night and said, Would you like to be a stewardess on a charter yachts, one of these luxury yachts out in the harbour? So I just went, Yeah, okay. What else I'm going to do.
So I ended up working on my first boats. And within four days, I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life, which at the age of 17, is pretty incredible. I just fell in love, not necessarily with the ocean start off with or even sailing, I fell in love with the people. Because these were all this was a very mixed bag of people on the boat. And I remember thinking at the time, I found my tribe, these are my people. These are the people I should be with, they get me and I get them. And so a few years of chartering and working my way up to the ranks and being lucky enough actually to have some really amazing mentors, all of my skippers, and then they're all men, but they were all amazing. And as I say, really great mentors, they saw something in me that I didn't see in myself, and they encouraged me on to the next level.
And, you know, my second Transatlantic, my Skipper taught me to navigate, which I never thought I could do, because I hate Maths. But there seemed to be some point to it. So I sort of got to grips with that, and ended up trying out some racing and loved that found that I was competitive, which I didn't know I was, and ended up doing the 85, 86 Whitbread round the world race is one of only four girls out of 260 crew on I think it was 23 yaghts that year, and loved it and just couldn't understand why there were so few women doing this race and why why were all the men telling me oh, this is really hard to read, or very hard race or Yeah, you know, you won't be able to do it. And nine months later, I was thinking, it's not that hard.
This is like, you know, the last man shed at the bottom of the garden, the world's best kept secret. And I just remember thinking, and it was such a profound thought. I remember thinking, no man in my lifetime will ever let me navigate on a racing yacht. In my lifetime. That's so shocking. So I thought, well, I need to change this and I spoke to my mom and she said, well, you know, you need to really be committed to you know, sort of anything you're going to do because If you you know, if you put your own crew together, which I was thinking of doing, you know you, it's not just you, it's 12 people's dreams that you will be holding in your hand, you can't just go I don't like this and walk away again, like you do with everything else.
So I thought, No, I want to do this, I want to put a team into the race, let's make it an all female crew so that we can prove that women can sail around the world. I get to be the navigator and it was completely selfish reason I put made Maiden together to start off with. And it wasn't really until the anger and the aggression, at us for daring, you know, deigning to put an all female crew into the race. I thought, Why is everyone so angry? You know, they kept saying to us, you're going to die. Okay, well, that's our business. It is not affecting you in any way, you know. So I think that galvanised me more and made me think, oh, we really do we need to do this, we need to change the landscape here. And and so it became much more of a mission after that, not just for me to be a navigator, you know, we needed to prove that we could do it once and for all. And and also for us, there was a, you know, we weren't doing this just to get round, we were doing this to win. And you know, because there's no point in getting wet, cold, miserable, unless you're going to win. So that's what we did.
We put Maiden together, we raised the money, we bought the boat, we refitted her ourselves, we still don't have that much money. And then we did the race. And we came second overall and one to have the most difficult legs. And it's hard now. I mean, my daughter says to me, but Mommy, you know, women can do anything. I'm like, yes, now. But 32 years ago, this was shocking. I mean, people literally, collective mouths dropped open that we had lived. And so after the race, I had to sell maiden which was still never had any money. And she went off on her journey. And I continued on mine, which was put an all female crew together to try the nonstop around the world. Jules Verne record. And then I put the world's first mixed gender team together. So this is the first time men and women have been equally on a boat together. This is only 20 years ago. And it's never been repeated. You know, and we were so successful. We broke more world records in a 10 year period than anyone else. We had six girls, six of the bravest guys you've ever met in your life. No idea how this was going to work, but a male skipper and a female Skipper, and it was phenomenal.
Then I put an event on in the Middle East, they didn't pay me and I was forced into bankruptcy. When at the age of 43, in 2005, and lost everything I lost absolutely everything I'd spent all of my life working for and my disabled mother and my five year old daughter, you know, we had to survive. And so and we did because I'm very lucky, I have a great support network. I have a great family, I have great friends. And most of the creditors were really supportive, which is a bit bizarre. So I got to the end of that. And then I thought I need a job at the age of 43. I need to find a job the first time in my life. I didn't even know how to write a CV. And at that moment, I was invited as an ambassador for the NSPCC to go and visit CEOP the Child Exploitation Online Protection centre. And and that's when I met Jim Gamble, and he gave me my first proper job.
Wow, that's amazing. I mean, the determination, the passion, that's just absolutely incredible. And obviously, that that's our link into cyber is, you know, and to tech and online protection. You know, that's kind of your your link to cyber for those listeners that are tuning in the sheer determination and the sheer grit that you had when you know putting together your all female crews to everything you went through from the years after, you know, it's absolutely inspiring Pat, did you want to ask any questions?
You sort of half answered the question I was going to ask, which was what is your contribution meant for other females in the sport of sailing, and feel like you've already answered it? And what I mean that in two different ways, both good and bad. When you said it hasn't been repeated after 20 years, and that you were only talking 20 years ago, the one thing you did, and it's just seems crazy. It's 2022. I, am, obviously a man but I'm very impressed with what you've achieved, but I'm just appointed I have to be this impressed. Why should it because now thankfully, in 2022 your females are allowed to apply for commanding of submarines. I joined the military in 1997. And I believe that was the year that they're actually allowing women to go to sea in the Royal Navy. When I asked a question, what do you think you have done for females in sailing? It's half obvious, to me. I would imagine how can you not have done an immense amount, but is there anything in particular that you've noticed along the way, that you think, oh, yeah, that's changed. And that's a whole different sort of opinion and view, since your achivements.
I think things have changed. You know, of course, they've changed that there's has been an author among crew now in almost every the then became the Volvo, and it's now just called the Ocean Race. It recently there have not been so many more female crews, but so that that was definitely, you know, triggered by Maiden, I would say that there's much more women in saving now, it's not a sport that women look at and think, Well, that's as a men's sport. And it's elitist. You know, it's, it's so we have broken down those barriers, there are more women in the sport, I have to say Britain, sadly, is behind so many other countries in our attitude to women and misogyny and I think that's sad. I think the positives I take can take out of that, though, is you actually Pat just said yourself, you're a man, women and men of working together, I was saying very differently from 32 years ago, you know, we are followed by Maiden now with what we're doing now, we're followed by so many men who engage with us and say, I've got my daughters, you know, I want them to grow up in a world where they don't have to prove themselves where you know, as you say, they can go as commanding officer of a submarine or, you know, they can get any job they like, and it's hard that has changed. I think that what unfortunately young women have to deal with these days is a casual sexism, it's it's a sort of more insidious behind the scenes, quieter, you know, sort of attempt to derail them, or to make them feel not very confident, we see that in sailing all the time. But so we, with what we're doing with made now we have a lot of young women on the boat, we like to give them a chance, you know, to get sea miles and to improve their experience and the stories, they're telling us now about their experiences on race boats, in particular, I was telling 30, 40 years ago, so that's a bit sad. But you know, we've got to be positive, and mostly things are changing. And we've just got to keep heading in that direction.
You know, I followed your story and, you developed a particularly, you know, close relationship with King Hussein the first. And, and you shared a really common, you know, I guess goal in terms of getting women involved in education, young girls involved in education, I know, it's something that was close to your heart, as well as, as his. I think that's really special, you know, that that relationship that you had with him. And it shows that, you know, things have changed, and they are continuing to change and through those relationships that you've made. And, you know, we'll delve into, into charity a bit more, you know, I'd love to find out a little bit more about that, because I know that that's really close to your heart around the Maiden factor and then the charity. So what is that kind of meant to you?
It's brought me in story full circle. You know, when we rescued her, she'd been dumped in the Seychelles and no woman likes to be dumped in the Seychelles, let's be fair. And in a terrible state. And you know, the guy left her letter owing the money, the mariner money. And so basically, they were saying to me, you know, if you just pay us what he owes us, you can take this this old scrap of metal, you know, when she wished she was at that point, and she looked so awful. So rescuing her, it was fantastic. King Hussein's daughter Princess Haya helped us. She said, Dad will come and haunt me If I don't help you do this, you know. And she calls her, dad's boat. So she helped us get made back to the UK, we fully restored her. I mean, she looks fantastic now for her age. And so we decided, what are we going to do with her? She's too young to put a museum. I don't think I have the patience to teach sailing, if I'm honest. So we thought what are we going to use her for? And it was Princess Haya that said, well, you know, your passionate about girls education. I'm passionate about girls education. You know, is there something there that we can do? And it was my daughter who suggested that we do. So why don't you do like a lack of honour around the world and inspire girls as you go around, you know, show them what one girl can do it just one person believes in them. I love that idea.
And then we said, well, as we're going around, why don't we raise money for, we start our own foundation and so everywhere made me go she raises money for the Mainden Factor Foundation. And we fund girls educational programmes all over the world. Obviously, we came to a grinding halt in March 2020, the same as the entire rest of the world. And we spent the past two years surviving same as everyone else. We did amazingly and in September last year, we found a new sponsor, and Maiden is off on her travels again. In fact, she's just reached Parmer with a new all female crew, mostly the same age as we were 32 years ago, which is, which is weird. They're better than us. They're there, they're more confident than us. They're more qualified than us. I mean, they're just awesome. And they're great ambassadors for girls education and for women in the sport of sailing. So there'll be doing their, their transatlantic, I think, in middle of March, and then we will be doing a tour of the east coast of the states. We do lots of things, we have thousands of schools girls, down to the boat, which is total chaos, but it is joyful chaos. And the impact on girls its so easy to see, its not some adult saying to a girl saying you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. And they are like what ever. This is young girls seeing what women did do. This is proof they can get on board and touch her and ask questions of the crew we have now.
We are focusing a lot more on STEM subjects. We engage with a number of organisations who are desperate to have women and girls in technology but at the grassroots level where are they?We are inspiring women to get in to STEM subjects. Its all very well these technological companies saying we want more women on the board, where are they? They look at Maiden they say well what good would STEM be? Navigation, electrician, engineer, you know sail making all of these things are Science, Engineering Technology and Maths. We love this part of what we are doing. The end result for us is to get more girls in to education, and the end result of that is to get them the jobs they want. Their dreams you know the opportunities that they should have. We absolutely love what we do.
That's, that's absolutely incredible. And, you know, to kind of link it back to the STEM subjects as well. And I know you said you mentioned maths earlier on, you know, and how you dreaded that part of it. But actually, it's so important, even in sport that you consider all those things. And a lot of people probably don't consider STEM subjects when when they're looking at sports. And I think you're, you're probably the perfect kind of patron for this. But given that, you know, you mentioned at 43 You kind of needed that that career change, you needed to kind of have a look at what you wanted to do. And you started into that online safety technology, you know, working for CEOP, what are you know, what else did you do around that kind of subject that, you know, I'm sure listeners would be really keen to hear about?
Well, I was, I was blown away by CEOP, but I'd never I'd never seen anything so inspiring in my life. Not on not on a boat. Jim gamble, I think was one of most inspiring people I've ever met. And I just was, I was blown away by the passion these people had for the job that they were doing, which is to keep young people safe online. And I knew nothing about this. You know, I'm a total technophobe. I mean, technology had been around when we were sailing made and I don't know how I would have coped you know, we had an old sailor radio, and we never I navigated the sextant. So that it was all very technologically, you know, sort of driven now. But at the time, my daughter was seven. And so she wasn't really online. And you know, in 2007 it we were, you know, we we still have, we didn't have Facebook, we didn't have Twitter, we didn't have all of these things. You know, we had other forms of social platforms, but I didn't use any of them. I didn't understand it, I could barely use email.
So when my daughter I realised that she was going to friends houses and going online, you know, albeit to you know, Barbie dress up sites or whatever. I thought I should know about this. How do I not know about this? I'm a parent, you know, I need to be able to protect her. I didn't want her not to use technology. But I needed to understand what was safe and what wasn't so much. The timing of going to see it for me was just, it was amazing. So we were given a tour, myself and some other ambassadors of the NSPCC. What really struck me was this amazingly holistic look the world's first holistic look at keeping children safe online. You know so the upstairs you've got you know, all the the what I would say it was the bureaucracy so the you know that the running of everything that the engine and then downstairs you've got all these amazing teams of people all working together. And Jim gamble, I remember said to me, this is the first time you will ever see social workers working in the same building as police officers. And because I didn't know at the time how amazing that was. And you know, so they had fraud, working alongside paedophile tracking units working alongside social workers, working alongside police working alongside behavioural analysis working alongside online, you know, sort of investigators, and the education team, who did this amazing job of going into schools and teaching this stuff on the website that they built the Think You Know, website, I was there right at the beginning of all that, and it, and I sat with my daughter and went through all of this stuff. So for me, this was a whole new world. And I, I walked away from there thinking, well, that's amazing, you know, that, that I've discovered all this stuff.
And then I had a phone call from Jim saying, Do you want a job? Or Yes? Do I need a job? He said, I'm looking for someone who can raise money and put a project together. I wish that I could do that. So it was to put together the international International Youth Advisory Congress, which we had in 2008. It was the first time this had ever been done. And it was to really drill down into asking young people, how did they want to be kept safe online? What were they experiencing online, rather than adults saying, This is what's happening. And this is how we're going to deal with it. I thought it was revolutionary. Engaging with all of these different police forces all over the world, was just so interesting, all of these amazing people coming together. I mean, I love collaboration. I mean, I think it should be the centre of everything we do. And meeting all of these amazing people, bringing 140 teenagers from 20 countries to the UK for a week's conference. That is actually why I am grey, was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. But so rewarding. And you know, at the end of the conference, we had someone write up all the all the amazing work that the young people had done. And some of that was used in the 2009 resolution on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and which I just look at the thing. I I can't believe I played a tiny little part in such a, you know, phenomenal thing. And for me also, what really struck me actually was the people that weren't listening to Jim gamble and CEOP, people in government, we're not listening. I see things on the news now, about how children are in danger in certain arenas online. And Jim was saying that in 2007, all those years ago, and he said, then, you know, these platforms have got to take more responsibility. You know, there's got to be more repercussion when they don't. And no one was listening. And I find it very frustrating.
Isn't it interesting that, you know, sort of watching the female journey, I'm still frustrated, what's happening there and watching the journey technology and children's safety online, I feel so frustrated that so much could have been done early on. And it wasn't that, you know, hopefully, and you'll know more about this than I do now, because I'm out of that, you know, sort of subject. But then, you know, I guess our experience of social media is watching what happens online. You know, we obviously we have a following for Maiden, a lot of young women follow Maiden and you know, I do Twitter, I love Twitter. And my daughter's trying to get me used to get me to use Instagram. Never going to happen.
You know, I understand that there's a thing called tick tock. I know, these things are out there. And I think mostly, technology and being online is very positive. You know, there's so much we can do with it. I do think though, and this does worry me that young women, again, are hammered by something that comes along like social media, you know, the trolling the image problems that are, you know, sort of generated from from some of these social media outlets. The I remember there was a headmaster in Wimbledon, I can't remember the school who said, watching children in the school now was what like watching them looking for reviews on playing themselves in their own life story, you know, likes and tick this some need to? I can't think of the word but you know, get all that that positivity, not from themselves. Yes, but acceptance from other people think of them and I think that's, I know, we are addressing this now. And you know that there are lots of positive things happening but it does break my heart when I see that young women are being silenced online for daring to speak up and speak out about things they believe in. So that's difficult to watch and it's hard to watch women being dragged backwards. It's by some elements of social media. Not all, obviously.
Yeah, I think that's a very, very, you know, interesting topic in itself, you know, I think, looking at yet some of the young people that that we work with, I know of being, you know, growing up in the age of the Facebook era, and, and then evolving into the plat other platforms with, you know, like, like, TikTok now, and things like that. It's it is, it's very much that acceptance, culture, and what is acceptable, and I think that the ticks and the likes, validates their self esteem. And that shouldn't be, you know, we shouldn't be living in an era where young women are validated by you know, how many people like their, their picture or their or their video, and I think it's a really difficult time for to be a young person in general, I think, with social media, because of those reasons. You made me laugh when you when you said, Yes, it was, it was probably the most challenging thing during the conference with young people, and you've sailed around the world, you know, different clients, and absolutely, but I think that probably sums up with a lot of, you know, teachers, professionals that work with young people on a daily basis probably feel because it is, you know, you really want to help them and you really want to help shape their life, and you want to do you want to protect them. And you're faced with all these outside elements, similar to to sailing, you know, you're you've got all of these different things that you're contending with. And I think it's really difficult to work in this in the field of, you know, working with young people or the field of protection of young people. And and I don't think they quite appreciate how much effort goes into that sometimes.
Yeah, I mean, I think teachers are, well, I mean, I think most of our public services are underpaid. And you'll definitely agree with that. But I think teachers should be the highest paid of anyone. I mean, they have the lives of our young people, the future of our country, our planet, you know, who we are our health and everything else in the hands of young people who have been brought up through the education system. And, you know, I am so pleased that because when, when my daughter was young and online, it wasn't, it was just the bad stuff was just starting to ramp up. So she was kind of over that age hurdle, when it started getting really bad. And when I, you know, started hearing that the stuff that I actually really don't want, didn't want to hear, but and also speaking to other parents, and this shocked me as well, I mean, it's not their fault, you know, there needs to be more engagement.
But I remember saying to I can't remember one of my daughter's friends, oh, has your, you know, have you had an as your child or your daughter's had anything to do with sexting? And she said, What sexting and I went, you don't? What you don't know what that is, okay? That's when you know, they'll send a picture of themselves. Not a great picture to someone, or they'll be asked to send one I remember speaking to hearing this was happening and saying to my daughter, who was I think 17 At the time, anyone ever asked you to send them a picture? Without your clothes on? And she went? Well, not this week. What do you mean, not this week, she went, oh, god mom all the time. And I just what and I thought I was on top of it. So to know that, that girls look at this stuff and go, Yeah, you know, it happens? Well, it shouldn't. They shouldn't be having to deal with this, you know, as you say, and we want so desperately to protect them. But, I mean, as I say, you'll know more about me than this. But I do feel that we're heading in the right direction. What do you think? Should I feel optimistic in this area?
I'd like to think so. And I know parents have a uphill battle in themselves, you know, in terms of upscaling themselves, I mean, you've got a full time job or you're you're, you've got, you know, numerous children to look out after and look out for and you're having to upskill yourself on all the changes and the vulnerabilities out there for young people. And I do I do feel for other parents out there as well. Because like you said, they just there's so many things, but I think we are getting savvier. I'd like to think that you know, we are we you know that's that's a part of what we do in the ROCU and and what our colleagues do and the forces and the police force, our local police forces, cyber teams is all about upskilling people and letting them know about those risks and those vulnerabilities and how they can protect themselves and their children from from, you know, some of these horrible things. Pat, did you want to come in?
Yeah, there was a couple of things for me when I hear talk about education. I'm like meerkat, I'm just thinking somebody got my attention when they talk about education. And the reason why I say that is because my journey has been a little bumpy and my education was almost well not really there, when it should have been, but I made a point personally to change that. And I just feel never truer word said was education, education education. Going back to something that Vickie just was referred to there about what we do. I've been in the police now 20 years. And up until four years ago, which I've been in this department, all I ever really did was, as you can imagine, it's policing. It's about catch and convict. I saw this job come up, and it was about cybersecurity through protection, and which was delivered via education and awareness, and with my experiences of educating myself, seeing how there was opportunities for me to be working in the police, to assist with others, and upskilling, because the most common password used is 1234561.
Yeah, so the the World Wide Web is 32 years old, and the most common password is 123456. And
I feel positively advanced Pat, I had to say,
Even my passwords are complicated.
And not to think it's about the path of least resistance. There was an article on the National Cybersecurity Centre website, and it was by Troy Hunt, and he set up this website, have I been pwned. You can check if your email address has been caught up in a data breach. And what he did was he takes data from the dark web, and he makes it searchable. And what he found was within the data that was leaked or stolen on the dark web, that 123456 was found as a password 29 million times.
So what we do is we approach things in the four Ps model that that the counter terrorist units have been doing its about prevention, it's about diverting people who've got skills and not using them negatively. And then I come in with where I sit on the Protect strand is let's see who's going to be targeted. Let's make you more of a hard target. It's worth bearing in mind as well, that's, sadly, statistics that I've read from America suggested around 80 to 90% of information about someone can be obtained through open sources.
And when you refer to something there, about time changes, and thinking of cyberbullying, for example, who's going through this horrendous experience at school maybe gets home, and they're okay, in theory, but now,
there not that's the problem. When we look at phishing, for example, phishing probably started with a letter, and then it went to the telephone. And now it's been made.
sadly, I hate to say this expression, made more efficient by those who were using it in a negative way. But you know, you get a lot of people, you speak to them by technology. And they say, I'm not really into technology. It's not my thing. Unfortunately, I got bad news for people, you do not have a say in the matter.
if you're listening to this, you need to know. Because unless you live off the grid, and you don't have any technology in your life, you need to know about technology, you don't need to know about the ins and outs of a device. You just need to know how to use it effectively and securely. Because I just feel you've come from sailing to do in your technology. Second career, we get a lot of people who say Oh, yeah, well, why would people bother with me, because I'm not that important. And more to the point, it's not my thing, I can assure you, it has to be your thing. It's like saying health and safety is just one person's responsibility. Because you did that sort of dramatic turnaround, you're going to get people think, Oh, well, I'm 30. Or I'm 33. Or I'm 40 even, it's no point I want to emphasise personally, and I'm more keen to hear what you've got to say that people need to be aware, you don't have to be the hacking expert, to keep yourself safe online. Sorry, I'm going to let you speak now. Which is the whole point of this today.
No, this is so interesting. And I love hearing this stuff, you know, because we need as you very rightly say, we need to know this stuff that you you cannot unless you completely live off the grid, which barely anyone does know, I feel sorry for older people who are struggling to keep up with you know, I mean, my daughter sometimes rolls her eyes, when I have to say to her, can you remind me how to do this or post that or you know that? And I say Excuse me, madam, I taught you to use knife and fork. So less of the eye rolling.
And also, I am 60 years old this year, what has happened in my lifetime in technology must be the fastest that of any, you know, faster than industrial age or whatever. You know, so when I was born, we didn't have a television. And you know, we have the first black and white television in our village people used to come around to our house to watch television man on the moon. They were all in the house watching you know, then we got a colour television. And you know, so if you say to young people, you know, I've had to learn all of this. But then I've been very lucky, very lucky because I've always had to engage with technology. You know, I can't run a project without having a website and email and all the social media that I don't do someone else does for me, a younger person. So I've not been able to escape it but in a way that's been good for me because you know, I do understand about passwords and protecting myself and the dark web and you know, sort of all these other things. As I say, what worries me is my age upwards, who really some do not engage with with technology at all, and to see banks closing, that, that drives me, nothing makes me angrier than banks closing. Because I can jump in the car, and I can go over there, I do everything online. You know, banks are communities, you know, for the old and the vulnerable, and to see things closing and being replaced by technology, I hate that I know, there needs to be change. But we need to want to run one alongside the other, you know, until we've reached the point where everyone's come up through technology, and then fine, you know, young people don't expect to do things, you know, face to face, or have to have to go somewhere. But there are people that do. So it's an interesting juxtaposition at the moment with a sort of an ageing population.
I mean, I think, you know, my mother died and in 2012, but I can't imagine being able to get her anywhere near a mobile phone, or email or any or anything like that. It just just wasn't her. She didn't want to do that she loved human contact. And so it is interesting, because as you say, but if we do engage, we have to have the knowledge. And I am shocked, actually, at how many I won't say who have people I know and say, friends with people I know, who are exactly the same has nothing to do with me. What do you use online banking? Yeah. But it's nothing to say, you know, it's fine. Technology has nothing to do with me what it is, if you if you use anything online? I don't know what the answer is. But I guess we're heading in the right direction.
I think, absolutely. The point you make is, you know, you and Pat both have made around technology, and around how it's everyone's issue. You know, I think, for those that are looking, I think that's probably part of the reason why so many people find it daunting to get into the tech and cyber career, because they don't quite understand that actually, there's so many facets to that, you know, there's so many areas that they can get in and I think, by you, by you breaking that barrier and getting into that field, you know, within CEOP within online protection and doing the work that you've done around, you know, safety, I think it's it's absolutely brilliant, and there's so many, there's so many avenues for people to explore careers that don't require, you know, loads of technical knowledge and expertise, you know, the education and awareness piece in itself is, is upskilling yourself. So then you can upskill upskill others, you know, and it's all about getting everybody on that same page, like you said, to make sure that we are running in a society where everybody's comfortable with using tech. And I think there's so many options for people out there that can do that. I also, you know, I wanted to ask the big question. It's International Women's Day on the eighth and we're so excited to have you on the podcast,for that reason, the theme this year is breaking the bias. So and it's all about working towards you know, a world free of stereotypes and discrimination that is diverse and inclusive as possible. And you yourself, you've clearly broken loads of barriers for women, and you continue to do so in the charity work that you're doing with getting girls and education around the globe.
Some of the things we've already mentioned around this thing increasing numbers in it with women in STEM, you know, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics fields, less than a quarter of the STEM workforce are actually still female. And one study actually reported that I think it was a women in tech study that it stands is 19% of the tech workforce are actually women. So given the statistics, you know, what what advice would you have for women and girls for International Women's Day in general? Because obviously you've broken loads of barriers through through sport and through your you know, your career, but also you know, what, what would you give? What advice could you give them if they wanted to get into tech or cyber or, you know, the field of online online protection or you know, like CEOP, you know, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection work? What What kind of advice would you give them?
I'm not entirely sure I can advise on that area. But what I would say about breaking the bias is this is something we all have a responsibility for. Men and women, we need to break this bias for our young people, for girls and boys because we need equality. If we do not have equality, I don't think we'll survive we know that the planet is under attack we've got what I can't even think about what's happening in Ukraine at the moment. It's it's too heartbreaking just as we're coming out of this pandemic. So I think there is a real need you know, for us all to work together and I think you know, women are already working on breaking the bias. We know that stuff we are already doing it so ladies, let's you know bring some more guys in and you know, we definitely was made and you know, we have such a wonderful mix following on you know, on our social media as I say, and when maiden comes into port, it's not just girls that comes it's everyone, you know, there's no, there's no delineation of one type of person that gets inspired by made.
And so I would say, to break the bias, we need to call out sexism and misogyny. But men need to do that as well. You know, I say that on sailboats, please don't leave it, I say to the guys, please don't leave it to the girl who's been asked to go and make the tea to deal with it, you know, grow a backbone and stand up say oi, you wouldnt speak to your sister like that she's supposed to be, you know, in on the foredeck or something. So need to work together. But then we always did, humanity needs to come together to work together to solve all of the problems that we have in the world. You know, as far as getting into STEM, you know, you can go to there's lots of technology websites that you can go to, which maybe you can put up at the end of the podcast.
And you know, and I think as well, let's encourage our daughters into STEM because something happens at the age of 11, we've been working with a lot of educational groups, up to 11, girls love these subjects, and then something happens they become a boy subject at the age of 11. And that's the age where we need them to engage, you know, those those teenage years, then, if we could just get them interested in in those years, you know, then then they're on the path. But, yea know, it's very strange. The other thing I think, before I finish is very interesting, is that when man was going to the moon, and the rockets were going into space, when there were no computers before, you know, I guess it was, I can't remember which Apollo computers came in. Women, mostly, mostly women wrote the codes that sent man to the moon by hand. And they did the mathematics by hand, everything was done by hand. And it was mostly women. It was only when computers came into play, that it became sexy. And then men went, Oh, we will have that. Thank you very much. We'll, we'll have this area. What do you tell women that they're like? What? What? Well we need to take that back? So maybe we need to go full circle on that as well.
Now, that's a really that's a really, I didn't know that. Actually, I'm not I'm not sure if Pat did. But that's really an interesting point. And I think I mean, as we you know, to bring it full circle, I think everything that we do, like you said involves stem kind of subjects and getting all young people you know, girls and boys involved in STEM subjects, it will help them in every aspect, if they want to be you know, go into sailing, it will absolutely help you into sailing. I mean, my my friend is mad into baseball, you know, and obviously, as you can clearly see, I don't have a local accent, but even that involves, you know, physics that you're talking about, you know, things like that.
So, so everything involves the STEM subjects. So it's really important that we kind of continue to promote those and, and getting women into tech. And I think the National Cyber Security Centre, who we work really closely with really work hard to try and promote all aspects for young people. They've got a fabulous programme called Cyber First. And it's all about getting young people involved in cyber and technology. And they even do a girls competition, which is brilliant, because the aim of it is to inspire girls into pursuing careers into cybersecurity, because one of their statistics is that female representation is in the sector is too low. And they've said that women are accounting for just 16% of the UK cyber workforce.
So you know, it's fantastic competition, and we were so pleased it was ran across the country, but within the West Midlands alone, we had five or six schools actually took part in the finals. And we had one school within the West Midlands that won the finals, and for the girls competition, and it's just fantastic. And I think, as we continue to kind of go on, we will hopefully see more women and girls rise up through different STEM professions and, and hopefully smash those glass ceilings and and go to the top. So, but I certainly appreciate that you've paved the way for women within sport, you and your crew. And I know you've mentioned the brilliant tribe that you had around you. And I think that that largely would help young people as well as to make sure that you know, you've got a fully supportive, diverse and inclusive tribe that's willing to support you and, and big you up within the career that you decide to choose. So I think that's really important. And on that note, I just, you know, I'm so grateful. Is there anything else that you wanted to kind of leave us with Tracy?
No, I just it's been an absolute pleasure to be part of this podcast and very interesting, you know, and I actually need probably even inspired me I need to update myself. On some, some technical technological online issues, so which as you say we should all keep doing,
it's all always changing. So it's always a you know, I think it's always a good, good thing to come to keep yourself upskilled. So it's, you know, for everyone, including us who work in the field. So, Pat, did you want to say anything?
It's not often we get celebrities on the podcast. So thank you so much for your time.
Thank you so much.
So, that's all we've got time for this week. More information on cybersecurity, please visit the National Cyber Security Centre, Action Fraud, Cyber Aware and Take Five website don't forget we have our own website wmcyber.org. Anybody listening to this who would like to contact us for any guidance and education in the area of cybersecurity, how to protect and prepare yourself and your organisation whilst online, please use the contact details in our show notes. Thank you and goodbye.
Goodbye, everyone. And thanks again.