Even though I grew up surrounded by engineers and technology in Silicon Valley, I didn’t decide to seriously study science until my freshman year in college, when I switched my major from economics to theoretical mathematics at the suggestion of my calculus professor. That was the first time a teacher told me I had a strong aptitude for math and encouraged me to expand my idea of what kinds of studies and careers to pursue. Mentors are widely recognized as being a key factor in helping girls decide to study science and technology. This is especially true in developing counties where there are traditionally fewer professional female role models. Cisco is a champion for educating girls and women in technology and understands the importance of mentors early in a girl’s academic career. This is why 70 Cisco offices in 52 countries are putting on events for International Girls in ICT Day, introducing students to successful professionals and encouraging them to study science and technology.
Women earn 57% of all U.S. undergraduate degrees but only 18% of undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees, according to the National Center for Women in Technology. Yet according to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings will exist by 2020, with only enough computer degree graduates to fill 30% of them.
And globally, women comprise less than a third of workers in the computer science, engineering, and physics fields in some of the world’s key emerging economies, according to a report by Women in Global Science & Technology.
Attracting more girls and women to the technology field benefits women, their families, their communities, and the businesses they work for. Women are powerful catalysts for change in any society: When women are able to earn an income, they typically reinvest 90 percent of it back into their families and communities.
To help tap this valuable talent pool and attract more women to careers in the information and communications technology (ICT) field, Cisco is participating in Girls in ICT Day – an international event organized by the by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
This post was written by guest blogger Richard Bartmess, a Cisco IT analyst.
Inspired by the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and the demand for more freedom, transparency, and democracy, Afràa is determined to fight against corruption and to help lead her country forward. Imane has a master’s degree and works in an engineering field dominated by men. Neila co-founded a political party that won four seats in Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly.
Afràa, Imane, and Neila are just 3 of the 17 women from Tunisia who visited Cisco today as part of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship of the George W. Bush Institute. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship is designed to enhance the leadership skills of women around the world, with a focus on women in the Middle East and Africa.
Today in the Huffington Post, Blair Christie, Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, and Eric Schwarz, cofounder and CEO of Citizen Schools wrote about our organizations’ collective commitment to increase the number of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.
Last week in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, network engineers helped 50 student robotics teams compete in Aerial Assist, a game in which students program and operate robots to toss as many balls into a goal as possible — in just 150 seconds. Similarly, in San Jose, a group of women engineers at Cisco hosted 70 middle-school girls earlier this year as part of “National Engineering Week” to give them a glimpse into how cutting-edge technologies are developed in R&D labs.
These engagements, part of the US 2020 initiative announced at the White House Science Fair last year, reflect the urgent need to do more to encourage students to go into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions.
Three things are true in STEM: There are a lot of job openings. These jobs pay well. And there are not enough qualified people to fill these jobs. Today, the technology industry employs 6 million people. By 2018, the U.S. will face a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers. Meanwhile, the Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55 percent faster than non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years. The flow of talent into the STEM pipeline is limited. Without a dramatic change, the pressure will weaken further, and the flow of talent will slow to a trickle.
Read the complete blog on the Huffington Post.
This week TriplePundit featured Cisco Corporate Affairs Senior Director Kathy Mulvany in its series on leading female CSR practitioners. Read the complete interview below. Thanks to TriplePundit for permission to republish this interview.
TriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.
Kathy Mulvany: As senior director of corporate affairs, I’m responsible for helping to steward Cisco’s overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, build awareness of our CSR programs around the world, and engage with a broad set of stakeholders including customers, shareholders, governments, nonprofit partners and advocacy groups. Within Corporate Affairs, I oversee a number of teams, including CSR strategy and planning, marketing and communications, the Cisco Foundation and corporate grant making, CSR reporting and stakeholder engagement, as well as our veterans program.
I’ve been a part of Cisco’s Corporate Affairs organization for seven years and with Cisco since 1996. One benefit of working for a large corporation is that I’ve had the opportunity to move around within the business, which keeps it fresh while broadening my expertise and professional network. Having worked in various Cisco organizations over the years, including Corporate Marketing, Latin America Marketing and Office of the Chairman and CEO, I can honestly say I’ve found my passion in Corporate Affairs with CSR.
3p: How has the sustainability program evolved at your company?