By Amaka Abayomi
AS part of its Girls Power Tech Global Mentoring Initiative, celebrated in support of the annual United Nations’ International Girls in ICT Day, employees at Cisco offices worldwide spent the day with girls aged 13-18, mentoring them on the importance of education and choosing career paths in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
The Nigerian leg of the Girls in ICT event had girls from the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ojo, Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba; Federal Government College, Ijanikin, and Saint Michael’s Anglican College, Sururele, all in Lagos who were given insights and opportunities about women in technology.
Cisco Systems annually supports Girls in ICT Day, a global event founded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Girls Power Tech is a special learning opportunity directed at female students to connect using Cisco telepresence and Jabber collaboration solutions to interact with other females across the globe and with successful women working at Cisco and elsewhere.
Speaking at the event, the General Manager, Cisco Nigeria (and English speaking West Africa), Mr. Olakunle Oluruntimehin, said “It’s important for Cisco to help build the diverse talent pipelines that can capture the amazing opportunities of the 21st Century’s internet of things economy.
“Cisco’s participation demonstrates that women are powerful catalysts for change in society, and that technology is an enabler that can help them accomplish extraordinary things.”
In 2015, over 80 Cisco offices participated while over 3000 girls from over 50 countries attended. This increased in 2016 to 104 Cisco offices with over 5000 girls in attendance from 61 countries.
Cisco has pledged that 20 per cent of its workforce will spend 20 hours a year on STEM mentoring by 2020, with an emphasis on women and girls.