Cisco hosted its annual Girls Power Tech event at its Dubai office. At the event, female students from GEMS, SUNMARKE, DIA and Collegiate American School in the UAE had the opportunity to interact with Cisco executives, technology professionals and other women role models and peers. They also heard inspiring stories about their careers and their vision of what the future holds.
Cisco’s Girls Power Tech is a global mentoring initiative that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider educational and career paths in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and technology. As part of the initiative, Cisco employees worldwide spend the day with girls age 13 to 18 and engage with them through office visits, tours, presentations, and mentoring.
Students get to meet women role models and men who are advocates for women in technology, learning about their career paths and lives in the technology field. They also get the chance to use Cisco’s latest TelePresence and collaboration solutions to interact with other girls across the globe and with successful women working at Cisco and elsewhere.
During the event, Shukri Eid, Managing Director – East Region, Cisco Middle East, highlighted how innovation in technology and connectivity is allowing amazing things to happen in new, unexpected ways. The full-day event also included a panel discussion with women leaders from Cisco and an innovation competition for the students, where they were challenged to build a robot that would solve the world’s biggest challenge. The female students were then judged on the robustness of their scientific thought, as well as their creativity and presentation, and the overall impact and ecological impact of their ideas.
Speaking at the event, Eid, said, “Diversity, inclusion and collaboration are part of Cisco’s core values. From sparking new ideas to inspiring innovation, they act as a bridge that connects varied perspectives and unleashes the full potential of our people to create exponential value for Cisco, our employees, partners, customers and the broader community. The Girls Power Tech event is a great example of our commitment to inspire and encourage girls to pursue a career in STEM. Through our events such as Women of Impact and Girls Power Tech, women and girls in the region can get connected, be empowered and find inspiration to advance their careers in technology.”
Women comprise a mere 27 percent of workers in the computer science, engineering, and physics fields in some of the world’s emerging economies. With only 24 percent of Chief Information Officer positions at Fortune 100 companies held by women, they represent a large, untapped resource of technology talent. For nearly two decades, Cisco has made it a top priority to build a diverse talent pool to meet gender diversity challenges in the technology industry. In addition to driving diversity at its workplace, Cisco is also committed to encouraging young women to discover career opportunities in ICT through global initiatives such as Girls Power Tech.
Aligned with the UN’s global Girls in ICT Day, Cisco’s Girls Power Tech is held annually and offers a special learning opportunity for female students to connect with Cisco and other mentors on-site at Cisco offices around the world. The event is not just a visit to Cisco’s offices, but a chance for students to experience the power of Cisco’s digital innovations first-hand, and gain insights into topics such as IoT and innovation, as well as the importance of online privacy and the responsible use of technology. Similar events were held across Cisco offices worldwide. Last year’s event saw more than 5,700 young women participate, with around 1,700 Cisco employee volunteers involved from across 90 offices in 50 countries.