Women's Talent @ Cisco

Women's Talent at Cisco Spotlight

As a high-technology company, Cisco is well aware of the need for increased female participation in our industry. Within our own global operations, we dedicate programs and resources to help women develop their skills as managers and executives. In educational and social settings worldwide, Cisco actively leads and participates in activities to increase women's interests in careers in this industry.

Our Gender Diversity Council, comprised of senior executive members representing every Cisco business function, identifies and seeks to diminish the barriers that inhibit a culture of inclusion, such as a shortage of role models and mentors. The Council oversees hiring, development and advancement, retention, and culture initiatives throughout the company.

Women at Cisco in FY2006

  • 50 percent of new hires in the past four quarters in finance and corporate communications are female.
  • Nearly 40 percent of new hires in the past four quarters in operations and marketing are female.
  • Approximately 25 percent of total new hires at Cisco are female.

Women's Leadership and Development

Cisco offers its employees numerous training and development opportunities, many of them directed at women. The Compass and Perspective Series programs are two examples.

Compass Series

  • Designed to give Cisco's 300 female senior managers exposure to executives.
  • Launched FY2006 with two development sessions.
  • Offers opportunity to network with cross-functional peers.
  • Discussed topics such "Career Strategies to Get Ahead" and "Creating a Culture of Courage."

Perspective Series

  • Helps directors and above form a community of women.
  • Completed third year of this program.
  • Focused on building executive-level leadership skills.
  • Hosted three sessions, whose topics included "Creating a Leading Strategy" and "Being Perceived as a Leader."
  • Hosted Women's Leadership Offsite meeting attended by more than 700 women and men.

Promoting Women in Technology Worldwide

Cisco continuously works on current and long-term strategies to increase the number of women in the fields of science and technology. Often employees who understand the importance of gender diversity lead these initiatives. Currently more than 3000 employees participate in 32 Cisco Women's Action Network (WAN) chapters in 24 countries, which cultivate mentoring and career development opportunities for women.

At the same time, Cisco encourages girls and young women to develop skills in math, computing, and technology from an early age. In the United States, nearly 59 percent of college students are female; however, women receive only 18 percent of bachelor's degrees in engineering and 28 percent in computer science.

Cisco's Girls/Women in Technology Initiative aims to introduce more K-12 female students to technology and inspire excitement in associated careers. Cisco partnered with the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT), an organization of public and private sector leaders whose mission is to ensure that women's knowledge and skills are fully represented in the information technology industry. Together we developed a Website where girls can explore careers in technology. The site received 238,438 hits in January 2006, up 25 percent from November.

Cisco also partners with the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT), established at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in July 1998, to provide global leadership for women's participation in information technology. We work on numerous initiatives, including organizing an international panel at the United Nations on the effects of information and communications technology on the lives of women and girls. Through these awareness campaigns, Cisco aspires to empower girls in computer science, engineering, math, and the sciences, and intends to create a pool of females ready to enter the IT workforce.

Cisco's Networking Academy Gender Initiative provides greater access to IT training for women globally. Cisco is partnering with several United Nations programs, as well as nongovernmental organizations, to achieve at least 30 percent female enrollment in more than 200 Cisco Networking Academy sites in the least-developed countries of the world. Cisco is working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Institute of International Education (IIE) to provide $300,000 in scholarships for women in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

Cisco also collaborated with USAID and the United Nations Development Fund for Women to implement several gender programs in the Middle East. We established 25 academies in Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco, with 69 instructors; our female enrollment is 45 percent in Jordan, 25 percent in Lebanon, and 51 percent in Morocco. Some 450 of these students have taken at least one CCNA networking certification course, while 1,600 have graduated from all four levels of the CCNA curriculum.

The academies in Jordan and Lebanon also participate in a partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), under which academies have been established in eight refugee training centers in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. In the UNRWA program, 250 students have taken at least one CCNA course, while 830 have graduated from all four levels of the CCNA curriculum.