Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Cisco empowers women through ROCK IT


Here is how Cisco’s Women Rock-IT initiative is changing women’s lives for the better.

Since its exception 25 years ago, inclusivity has been at the heart of the Cisco Networking Academy.

The academy sees students from 190 countries, has 12,000 academies offering covering 30 courses in 27 languages. The global reach of Cisco’s Networking Academy is impressive. While making the program accessible is only half the battle, satisfying demand is another matter altogether.

It is in this context that in 2014 Cisco launched its Women Rock-IT initiative.

While the World Economic Forum predicted that it will take a least 136 years to close the global gender gap, a number that will further jump because of disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, data from a wide range of countries show that women are indeed underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) subjects and this reflects in their employment as well.

According to Deloitte Global, large global technology companies are expected to see 33% female representation in the workforce by the end of this year, a jump by 2 percentage points from 2019.

Women Rock-IT was created as a show-case to young women that there are exciting careers that they can pursue in all fields including technology; it was designed to inspire and showcase successful women who are innovating in technology and becoming great role models.

Streamed through social channels, attendees watch live demos, take free introductory technology classes to earn digital badges, and can access certification courses offered by network academies.

The importance of meeting successful women at Women Rock-IT cannot be overemphasized, but Chaili Reeve, a university student studying aerospace engineering in Australia, sums it up best when he said, “There is nothing that can replace it."

Women Rock-IT not only inspires, but it can also change lives. Case in point: - towards the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Agnes Chege was fired from a customer service job at an electronics company in Nairobi, Kenya. After attending the Women Rock-IT virtual event, Agnes took a free introductory cyber security course from the Cisco Networking Academy. Since then he has been contacted by a cyber security firm and has been offered an internship. He is currently working as a Security Operations Center (SOC) Level 1 Analyst.

“Honestly, if Cisco Networking Academy didn’t exist I wouldn’t be in cybersecurity right now. I had very little knowledge of it before I took the Introduction to Cybersecurity course,” said Agnes.

Currently, Agnes is actively involved in user awareness training in cyber security for a variety of clients and is passionate about bringing in more female students to the next level into the industry by participating in a mentoring program for high school girls.

Women Rock-IT is an ongoing program. Removing barriers to women's success in tech is an ongoing challenge, but there are signs of improvement.

The more women take STEAM courses and the more they grow into tech careers, the more young role models like Agnes who can be inspired to study STEAM.