Superheroes like Wonder Woman only exist in the comic books; or do they? At Cisco, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs are everywhere, inspiring the next generation of young women to pursue a career in the IT field and become global problem solvers. And earlier this year, at Cisco France’s Eighth annual “Connected Girls” event, more than 150 students visited the Paris offices to discover the opportunities available in the IT industry.
The “Connected Girls” event was created seven years ago with the goal of promoting scientific careers and digital jobs to young girls in the Paris, France. Students between the age of 14 and 19 can attend, and this year, those who visited the Cisco campus were treated to a hands-on day of mentorship and activities.
Students met with female engineers from top French schools like Polytechnique, the Web School Factory, and I’Insa et l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie, learning about the different pathways to a scientific career, and hopefully, an IT career. One of those pathways is through the Cisco Networking Academy, which has helped prepare more than 120,000 students in France for careers in the digital economy since 1997. Currently, 470 academies offer Networking Academy courses throughout France, where students can develop the skills they’ll need to thrive as global problem solvers.
The young women also heard from industry professionals, like Sandrine Murcia, General Director of ConnecThings, and Kristell Guizouarn, Sustainable Development Director at Groupe Avril. They had the unique opportunity to meet women who are using science and technology to change the world today and shape tomorrow’s world in all areas, from environment and energy to food, medicine, and communication.
At last year’s event, Najoua Arduini-ElAtfani, NEOM Development Manager at VINCI, expressed the need for more women in the IT industry. “Girls must dare to engage in scientific studies, for successful careers await and innovative companies need women’s talents,” she said. To kickstart these efforts, the young women participated in a creativity workshop organized by our partner MakeSense, triggering their interest in entrepreneurship and helping them understand the first steps to create their very own start-up businesses.
With the help of more than 20 Cisco France volunteers and a number of industry leaders, we helped inspire young women in France to discover their passion for technology, harness the power of digitization, and become global problem solvers in tomorrow’s digital economy.