Cisco and NCWIT Partner to Promote Women in IT

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Cisco Systems will team up to raise young women’s awareness of their career opportunities in IT, officials from both organizations announced recently. The former institution, which was established just last fall, has the official mission of “achieving gender parity in information technology within the next 20 years,” said Lucy Sanders, NCWIT’s CEO and co-founder.

“This mission is important to us because we believe that women can and must play a role in inventing the technology of the future,” Sanders said. “Increasingly, they’re opting out of that role, and we think that’s something we need to turn around.”

Cisco joins a group of prestigious NCWIT partners that includes high-profile tech firms like Microsoft and Intel, as well as non-tech giants like Wal-Mart and Bank of America. NCWIT also maintains an academic alliance comprised of more that 40 higher learning institutions, including Harvard, MIT, the University of California, the University of Colorado and Wellesley. “What we have is a strategy that should work nationally to help us turn the corner,” Sanders said. “We believe we have a strategy that will scale for higher education and corporate America. It’s a very business-focused and systemic approach.”

Sanders identified a couple of explanations at the root of the problem of low numbers of women in the information technology industry, one of which was elementary- and secondary-level education. “In many places, it’s not taught the way it should be, which is as a…



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