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Cisco drives gender inclusion with Girls Power Tech initiative

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Cisco drives gender inclusion with Girls Power Tech initiative: (Image Credit: Darryl Linington).

In a global effort to raise awareness around the necessity for girls to consider a career in ICT, Cisco is once again supporting Girls in ICT Day through its Girls Power Tech initiative. The UAE edition of the event will be held on May 12, 2016 at the Cisco’s Dubai offices in Knowledge Village, where 60 female students from various schools will have the opportunity to experience the latest technology first-hand, engage with industry professionals and learn about the education and career experiences of Cisco’s women executives.

“Globally, women comprise a mere 27% of the computer science, engineering and physics fields and remain a largely untapped resource. A diverse workforce has never been more important to stay competitive in today’s digital world and, more importantly, in the future,” said Mike Weston, Vice President, Cisco Middle East. “For nearly two decades, Cisco has made it a top priority to build a diverse talent pool to meet these challenges. We not only encourage diversity at our work place but are also committed to inspire young women to careers in technology through our global initiatives such as Girls Power Tech.”

During the event, students will also be presenting original ideas they have developed with the aim of creating a positive impact and addressing day to day challenges and inconveniences. The projects submitted will be based on the use of technological innovation around the Internet of Things and align to Cisco’s vision of ‘Changing the way we work, live, play, and learn’. Dubbed the ‘Digital Rock Stars Challenge’, the inter-school competition aims to ignite creativity and foster team work and entrepreneurial skills. The students’ innovative work be evaluated by a panel of judges based on originality, ingenuity and feasibility.

“Students attending the event will have an opportunity to meet women role models and men who are advocates for women in technology, learning about their career paths and the excitement of working in the fast-evolving field of technology. The initiative’s focus is on mentoring girls and young women about career opportunities in ICT and encouraging them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to become the next generation of innovators who will use technology to change the world,” added Frida Kleimert, Head of Channel and Commercial Sales – Cisco UAE.

Cisco will be contributing to the Girls Power Tech initiative by hosting young girls from 50 countries in 90 locations and providing them with career advice, personal career anecdotes and demos in Cisco technology. The UAE edition of the event will involve a combination of office visits, presentations, technology demonstrations, fun activities and mentoring. 60 girls from various schools in the UAE including Cisco’s existing Networking Academies, an ICT skills and career building program for learning institutions and individuals worldwide, are expected to attend the event.

Speakers at the local edition of Girls Power Tech include Mike Weston, Voce President, Cisco Middle East; Frida Kleimert, Head of Channel and Commercial Sales – Cisco UAE; Den Sullivan, Cisco’s EMEAR Leader Software Sales; Manal Al Ansari, Innovation Manager, Emirates NBD and Mohammed Khamis, Consulting Systems Engineer, Cisco. The participants will be given the opportunity to connect with the other girls across UAE, Oman and Kenya through Cisco’s Telepresence collaboration solutions and female Cisco employees will share their personal experiences in the ICT field.

Through its networking academies, Cisco has helped over 220,000 students in the Middle East graduate from the program since its inception. With nearly 480 active academies in the Middle East across 14 countries, Cisco has over 44,000 active students and over 1000 instructors with the average female student participation standing at 37%. The number of female students is in the Middle East is high, where women account for 55% of students in the UAE, 40% in Jordan, and 63% in Oman.

Girls in ICT Day is an annual day of activities backed by the International Telecommunications Union aimed at creating an environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICT.

Staff Writer

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