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ICT For Girls and Women in Engineering: Why it Matters

I participated in a panel about Girls in ICT at ITU World Telecom on October 27 2011 chaired by Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and learned this:

Job opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) continue to grow, and many countries and regions are predicting a shortage of qualified staff with math, science, engineering and computing skills to meet the growing demand. At the same time, many companies are looking to increase the number of women in the sector. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them.  Unfortunately teenage girls and young women often never even consider a career in ICTs.  There is a lack of awareness among students, teachers and parents on the opportunities presented by a career in ICT.

Former US FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate was present in the audience at this session and called out a program that 
she and actress Geena Davis are engaged in regarding Gender and Media. Greena Davis was featured in the film Miss Representation, which explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

This makes it that much more important to make sure girls and young women are aware of the resources available to help them prepare for and enter the ICT sector.  Check out The Girls in ICT portal, which provides listings for scholarships, internship and training opportunities, tech camps, Girls in ICT Day events, online networks and so much more! Check it out and spread the word!

So now you must be wondering where is Cisco in this space?

In May 2011 Cisco France set up a connected girls day that included members from the industry and conducted workshops on technology and its applicability to society.  Take a look at the following video to experience the event:

On September 25, 2008, Cisco hosted its first worldwide Connected Women event, demonstrating collaboration in business. Live events ran in 9 cities across the world with more than 400 senior female customers and partners coming together for a series of stimulating and practical presentations centred on collaboration, sustainability and the importance of technology. The opportunity to ‘Inspire and be inspired’ was a theme throughout with contributions from high -- level external business speakers at the different events around the world.

Cisco will be running the next Connected Women event in April 2012. By running this event we intend to both inspire our guests and for them to in turn provide inspiration through the sharing of their personal successes and innovative practices. The April event, like previous sessions, will be a real testament to what we can all achieve through greater collaboration.

Cisco’s Senior Vice President, Kathy Hill, is in Portland, Oregon at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference this week speaking at the technical executive forum on November 10 2011.

On November 9 2011, my colleague, Distinguished Engineer, Judy Priest, spoke on a panel at the Grace Hopper Conference that treated the topic of Building Your Brand as a Technical Expert or Leader.

And finally, Cisco will host a 2nd Annual TEDxBayArea Women Event on December 8 2011.

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