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Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Enabling development of real-world tech skills that also led to fulfilling careers


The theme of the United Nations International Women's Day in 2023 is "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality," and Cisco Networking Academy is at the forefront of providing education for anyone interested in a career in technology. Our mission at Cisco Networking Academy is aligned with the company's purpose of powering an inclusive future for all.

Since its inception 25 years ago, the cumulative number of women participating in Cisco Networking Academy has grown over time, and now stands at 26 percent (calculated as a percentage of the total number of students who identified their gender as male, female, or nonbinary).

Even so, we can do more, especially since women make up nearly half of the workforce.

Women may be underrepresented in technology for a variety of reasons. Whether it's due to cultural norms or gender stereotypes, technology affects every aspect of our lives. Women's contributions and innovations will be lost if they are not better represented in technology as all industries digitise.

Positive role models may be beneficial, and we don't have to look any further than some of Networking Academy's own alumni.

In education, people like Nancy not only excelled academically but also realized they could help others.

“The skills I received during my time at a Cisco Networking Academy changed my life course forever,” said Nancy.

“I am a first-generation college student and found my passion of teaching through being a student of the Networking Academy. I started my career in the IT industry implementing and supporting networks all over the United States.”

“After attending Networking Academy courses, I knew I wanted to be a college professor and make a difference in the lives of others. I have been teaching Cisco Networking Academy courses for over 22 years and have touched the lives of thousands of students and I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”

In India, Matilda has a similar story to tell.

“In 2004, networking courses were highly sought after. It was during this time that I graduated as an instructor for a CCNA course and established a local Networking Academy in IFET College of Engineering, Tamil Nadu,” she says. Now a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Matilda has continued to help students gain real-world tech skills that have also led to fulfilling careers.

Empowering communities
Other women take advantage of the opportunity to assist underserved communities.
Lawanda, from Oklahoma, credits Networking Academy with giving her confidence and opportunities she never had before.

“I used to think only highly intelligent people could work or understand IT and now I’m doing this work,” she said. As an Indigenous American, Lawanda is now, “looking forward to working within the Indian Health Services as a System Network Technician while still serving Indigenous communities to give back to my people, as I’d always dreamed of doing.”

Kutlwano, from South Africa has a similar story of empowerment to tell.

“I have learnt to be fearless as a woman in IT firstly, and to believe that I can be whatever I want and achieve it all,” said Kutlwano.

“Since 2015, I went from being a Desktop Support Technician, to an IT Administrator, SOC Analyst, Network and Systems Engineer, and now in Risk and Compliance. Networking Academy and TCM Academy was my starting point and opened all those doors for me. This is only the beginning, there’s still more to explore and achieve.”

“My success story also has made other girls and young women see that they too can achieve all they set their mind to and that’s all it takes, changing the world by inspiring and giving hope to more women in IT and to continue being fearless.”

We need more inspiring stories like this one from women in technology and related fields because technology touches every aspect of life.

report by UNESCO states, “women remain a minority in digital information technology, computing, physics, mathematics and engineering, the very fields that are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution and, thus, many of the jobs of tomorrow.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution could be “a complement to the best parts of human nature —creativity, empathy, stewardship—it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

We will celebrate Girls in ICT Day on April 27 with the theme "Digital Skills for Life." Our Cisco Women Rock-IT programme will feature a variety of inspiring speakers who are using technology to help address a critical issue in all of our lives: climate change.

Cisco hosts events as part of our Women Rock-IT program, which began in 2014 and has attracted over two million participants, with more than half enrolling in one of our Cisco Networking Academy courses. Cisco employees also volunteer to help with events commemorating Girls in ICT Day at Cisco offices and on-campus at local schools, colleges, and universities.

In four different time zones, our panellists will discuss their work and inspirations in globally broadcast sessions. Whether you're already a fearless woman in IT or just starting out, I'm confident you'll find inspiration in these women's stories.

Do you know of a high school, college, university, or organization that would be interested in hosting an event?

Share this form with them to register schools now !

Save the date to encourage the young people in your life to attend. Registration for the virtual event opens on March 24, and attendees over the age of 14 will be offered free courses.