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Together with its employees, Cisco recognizes International Girls in ICT Day, held on April 22, 2021, with the aim of inspiring girls and women to consider studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and consider a career in technology at this critical time.

Global figures show a startling economic disparity; with women losing jobs at almost twice the rate of men and leaving 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line. According to UN Women, the impact of pre-existing gender inequalities will continue to impact this imbalance. Women and men both take on more household chores and care for children and family members during lockdowns, but the majority of work still falls on the shoulders of women and girls.

Support of International Girls in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Day helps to promote technology-focused career opportunities for girls and women in the world’s fastest-growing sector. And there’s never been a more important time to engage and inspire the next generation of female technologists. We recently asked girls to imagine how technology can support their passion, please watch the video to find out what they had to say.

Kicking off across the globe to mark Girls in ICT Day, Cisco aims to inspire 20,000 girls through a program, which includes:

  • Live regional broadcasts, featuring eight inspiring women who have used technology to forge their careers and solve global problems through Cisco’s virtual Women Rock-IT.
  • Access to Cisco Networking Academy’s free introductory courses on Cybersecurity, Networking, Programming, and Internet of Things (IoT).
  • A virtual hour of code, which recently took place in the Americas.
  • Cisco employees connecting with local schools to host activations, from mentoring to code camps.
  • A Learn-A-Thon for Cisco’s education partners, which aims to train 10,000 students in-demand cybersecurity skills, alongside 250+ Cisco education partners, until 22 April.

The program aims to help girls uncover and see opportunities within the ICT industry, and acknowledges the importance of gender diversity to innovate and to help empower an inclusive future for all.

Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Tae Yoo, said, “If we want more girls and women to secure their own economic futures and support global economic growth, it makes sense to expose them to the opportunities STEM skills can provide. The opportunities for those with IT training not only reside in the technology field, but also extend across all industries.”

“For instance, 90 percent of IT skills and jobs in the United States exist in non-technology industries (such as professional services, financial services, health care, retail, etc.) and are growing 50 percent faster than technology industries. We believe STEM skills carry endless possibilities and want to make sure girls and women are aware of them.”

The goal of Cisco’s support of International Girls in ICT Day is to encourage girls to explore educational opportunities through Cisco Networking Academy, a global IT education program that partners with learning institutions to empower people with the skills they need. Ninety-five percent of students who completed CCNA curriculum or higher say Networking Academy helped them obtain a job or educational opportunity, according to student outcome surveys for the 2020 fiscal year.

How can you get involved?

You can join the upcoming Women Rock-IT broadcast on April 22nd, and help to spread the word on social media about our Girls in ICT Day events and programs.