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Girls Power Tech Inspires Young Women to Pursue IT Careers

Kelly Kramer, Cisco’s Chief Financial Officer, shared an inspirational message with more than 100 young women on Cisco’s San Jose campus yesterday: “You don’t need to live under gender stereotypes; you can be whatever you want to be!”

Her words wrapped up this year’s Girls Power Tech event on Cisco’s San Jose campus, in which we opened our doors to more than 125 girls ages 13 to 18 for a day of site tours, presentations, and employee mentoring. Girls from non-profit partners Citizen Schools and City Year spent the day learning about the Internet of Everything and talking to us about career opportunities in the IT field.

More than 100 girls attended Girls Power Tech on Cisco's San Jose campus , where they found inspiration to pursue careers in IT.

More than 100 girls attended Girls Power Tech on Cisco’s San Jose campus , where they found inspiration to pursue careers in IT.

In more than 80 Cisco offices in over 50 countries around the world, Cisco welcomed more than 3,300 female students from local schools, Cisco Networking Academy classes, and other non-profit organizations in celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, held on April 23.

Through our efforts, we are encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and become the next generation of innovators – the dreamers and doers who will use technology to change the world.

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Should women consider a career in cybersecurity? Absolutely!

With the United Nations’ International Girls in ICT day fast approaching on April 23rd, this is a great opportunity to discuss how we can get young women involved in careers in technology. Cybersecurity is an ever-present issue with companies and individuals suffering attacks daily. At Cisco, we believe that protection from threats does not rely on a single technology or solution, it incorporates both the processes and of course, the people. It is predicted that by 2017, an additional two million security professionals will be needed, but what many young people – particularly women – underestimate, is how rewarding and far-reaching a career in cybersecurity can be.

Taking, the UK as one example, cybersecurity employs 40,000 people and is worth £6 billion to the economy. Yet according to the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, more than one million positions for information security professionals remain unfilled around the world. What’s more, is that female cybersecurity staff only account for 11 percent of the global workforce. In Europe, the figures are even worse, coming in at only 7 percent .

Today there still remains a notion that IT is a “man’s job”. Women thinking of applying are often dissuaded as they may lack the confidence needed at the very start to pursue this career path. Yet, not only is this job market growing, but these jobs pay higher than other industries. We must do what we can to encourage young women to be fearless and pursue these fields of study, because they add new perspectives in the workplace that benefit business outcomes.

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3,000 Minds to Inspire

This story was originally posted on Cisco Employee Connection, Cisco’s internal employee news site.

We are about to show more than 3,000 girls and young women around the world that they can be the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists—the dreamers and doers who will invent the future.

In April and May, in more than 80 Cisco offices in more than 50 countries, female students from local schools, Cisco Networking Academy classes, and non-profit organizations will spend a day with us, learning about technology.

It’s all part of this year’s Girls Power Tech event, when we open our doors to girls ages 13 to 18 for a day of site tours, presentations and mentoring. The girls will learn about the Internet of Everything and talk with us about careers in technology. They will imagine themselves in technical jobs—and experience the kind of technology they can help invent.

The activities are in celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, held on April 23. We are a top corporate supporter of this global effort to empower and encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in information and communications (ICT) technology.

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Cisco Celebrates International Girls in ICT Day

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).

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Girls at 80 Cisco Offices Learn About Careers in Technology

April 25 was International Girls in ICT Day, a global event held on the fourth Thursday in April each year to help inspire girls to consider a future in technology. The number of girls and young women opting to study technology-related disciplines is on the decline in most countries worldwide.

In only its third year, Girls in ICT Day continues to gain global momentum. This year, events hosted by governments, private sector companies, and nonprofits took place in more than 100 countries.

Cisco is committed to championing the important role a career in technology can play in creating far-reaching opportunities for women and girls. Eighty Cisco offices held Girls in ICT Day events in 60 counties.

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