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.