SAN FRANCISCO, [October 10, 2022] — On October 20, 2022, TechWomen (TW), an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by the Institute of International Education (IIE), hosts TechWomen@10 at the Juniper Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale, California. This anniversary event celebrates ten plus years of empowering emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to create positive impact in their fields and communities through cross-national mentorship and exchange with tech partners in Silicon Valley and the greater United States.
Technology is the third largest economy in the world, yet women and ethnic minorities typically make up one quarter or less of tech workforces worldwide. TechWomen was launched by ECA in 2011 to connect women innovators and leaders in STEM from emerging global economies with U.S. tech leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area to inspire and promote multilateral positive impact and equity in the tech industry. Administered by IIE, the inaugural year of TechWomen brought 37 Emerging Leaders (ELs) from six countries in the Middle East to Silicon Valley to connect with 32 tech mentors from 27 partner organizations for a combination of professional mentorship and cultural exchange activities designed to amplify the voices, skills and influence of women in tech.
Over the years, the impact of TechWomen can be seen in countless fellow and mentor initiatives, including:
- eSTEM Morocco, a seed grant winning TechWomen impact initiative (2014) that works to provide Moroccan girls and women with tools to pursue STEM careers. Headed by Fellows Nezha Larhsissi and Salima Kaissi, eSTEM Morocco was recently selected among seven organizations worldwide for the Aspen Digital Accelerator program. As part of the grant, they are working on a digital web and mobile app which will provide 50,000 Moroccan girls with advice, support and effective orientation.
- Girls Fly Program in Africa (GFPA), a non-profit organization founded by fellow Refilwe Ledwaba of South Africa in 2017. It offers science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programming for primary, high school and undergraduate youths with a focus on aviation and space. According to their website, GFPA “includes the use of design thinking, technology, and innovation to shape, empower, enable and support the next generation of makers and problem solvers in the aviation and space industry in Africa.”
- Tech4Impact, a non-governmental organization founded by Uzbek fellows Elena Selezneva and Saida Yusupova (2016). The website states that Tech4Impact was founded “to combine efforts and carry out activities in the development of innovations, information technologies, start-ups, human capital, green technologies, youth and women’s entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan and the Central Asian region.” Tech4Impact was recently announced as a champions selected for participation in the Women Innovators program by social impact accelerator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiative BOOST.
- Wentech, an initiative launched by fellow Gisele Beatrice Sonfack (2016) to empower and inspire young girls in Cameroon to engage in engineering and technology. Women in Engineering and Technology (WENTECH) targets girls from 13 to 18 years old through interactive workshops, such as their recent series of solar energy trainings in partnership with U.S. Based company Remote Energy.
“The learnings imparted on me in this program strengthened me. It gave me the confidence to know that I am a brand and that I am set to be a global impactor. Before the program, I was shy into thinking of the amazing interventions and programs that i can take on. Now, not anymore! Coming back home, I secured two partnerships with esteemed organizations, and this is just the beginning.” – Amanda Obidike, Fellow, Spring 2022
This fall, the program reflects on its progressive expansion, hosting 104 Emerging Leaders from 21 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South Asia who will drive change with the support of over 250 accomplished STEM industry mentors and 45+ partner companies, including Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Autodesk, Synopsys and Twitter.
The 2022 emerging leaders arrived in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, September 21 from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. They are engaging in four weeks of hybrid programming featuring customized career mentorship, design and leadership skills workshops, collaborative coaching, cultural exposure and competitive seed grant pitching. This will be followed by a final week of STEM diplomacy immersion in Washington, DC.
The TechWomen@10 anniversary event serves as the conclusion of events for the Fall 2022 TechWomen program in the San Francisco Bay Area, highlighting the international impact and community developed by TechWomen over more than 10 years in operation. It underscores the contributions of our more than 1,200-strong mentor community and 1,000+ global Emerging Leaders (ELs) and fellows who have participated in the program since its inception. At the conclusion of the anniversary event, the seed grant winning teams from the current cohort will also be announced.
“My experience working with TechWomen has positively impacted my career by enabling me to converse with others in my field about matters that we can collaborate on to build a better future for tomorrow. Rather than being stuck in a dialog where there is no action, working with TW has taught me how to create an impact.” – Dana Riggs, Impact Coach and Professional Mentor, SolEcology
Learn more or get involved with the TechWomen program by visiting us online at www.techwomen.org, where you can learn more about our decade of rich history and impact or get involved with us as a partner, mentor or participant.
IIE: Zaria Qadafi, [email protected]
ECA: [email protected]