CSR Program: Girls Power Tech


Attracting young women to technology through Girls in ICT Day.

Every year, Cisco participates in Girls in ICT Day. They open their doors to young women all over the world and inspire them to pursue a career in information and communications technology (ICT) through hands-on exposure to the latest technology and engagement with industry professionals.

What: Women can help fill the global IT gap

Women comprise a mere 27% of workers in the computer science, engineering, and physics fields in some of the world’s emerging economies. Many companies report difficulty finding skilled people for technology jobs. Women represent a large, untapped resource of technology talent.

  • 1.2 million computing-related jobs will exist in the U.S. by 2022, with only enough computer degree graduates to fill 39% of them.
  • Women earn 57% of all U.S. undergraduate degrees but only 18% of undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees.
  • Only 24% of Chief Information Officer positions at Fortune 100 companies were held by women.

How: Exposing young women to tech opportunities

Every April, Cisco supports Girls in ICT Day, a global event organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). As part of their Girls Power Tech Global Mentoring Initiative, employees at Cisco offices worldwide spend the day with girls age 13 to 18, encouraging them to consider education and career paths in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math.)

  • Cisco events include office visits, tours, presentations, and mentoring.
  • Students meet women role models and men who are advocates for women in technology, learning about their career paths and lives in the technology field.
  • Students use Cisco TelePresence and Jabber collaboration solutions to interact with other girls across the globe and with successful women working at Cisco and elsewhere.
  • Students learn about the  IoT World Forum Young Women’s Innovation Challenge, an opportunity for young women aged 13-18 to submit ideas around new uses of Internet of Things and Internet of Everything technologies.

Impact Multiplied

Cisco’s participation demonstrates that women are powerful catalysts for change in society, and that technology is an enabler that can help them accomplish extraordinary things.

  • In 2015, 80+ Cisco offices are participating and 3000+ girls are attending from 50+ countries.
  • In 2014, 75 Cisco offices participated and 2331 girls attended.
  • Cisco has pledged that 20% of its workforce will spend 20 hours a year on STEM mentoring by 2020, with an emphasis on women and girls.
  • When women are able to earn an income, they typically reinvest 90% of it back into their families and communities.

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