Forty-one women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Yemen. Key women leaders from 31 companies in the greater Silicon Valley area. Together, for five weeks. Ideas are sparked. Innovation happens. Women are empowered.
This is TechWomen: the global network.
Announced by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010, TechWomen is an international mentoring program that brings emerging women leaders in the technology sector to the United States, where they are paired with leading women in Silicon Valley. For five weeks, these women work together, learn together and teach one another practical skills in technology and in life. New partnerships are forged and new networks created. These women create apps, look at new ways to integrate technology in the Middle East and North Africa, and explore avenues to increase the number of women and girls in their communities who work in the tech sector. Next, several of the American mentors will travel overseas to conduct workshops in Tunisia and Jordan with women and girls interested in pursuing careers in technology.
Over the long-term, TechWomen is a springboard to integrate more women and girls in technology. It builds on Secretary Clinton's life-long commitment to empowering women and girls and is paired with 21st Century Statecraft, the Department's global effort to mobilize technology to support the United States' broader foreign policy strategy.
In the United States and overseas, technology has the power to transform societies and cultural norms. Technology has transformed the way we work, play, and live. While technology blazes new trails, it is a sector that is not always "user friendly" for "TechWomen."As Secretary Clinton shared with the first class of TechWomen in 2011,
Being a woman in the field of technology is not always easy. Being a woman in any field is not always easy, but there are so many opportunities in technology that we have to forge ahead, and we're doing so around the world because we want to make sure that all the tools that technology has made available are just as open to women as they are to men. Innovation thrives on good ideas, and women have a lot of good ideas. And we don't want those ideas to just die. We want them to be shared and to help others and to create businesses and jobs and improve lives. And it has a greater impact when technology has access for everyone.
In the last year, a "TechWoman" returned home to launch the Algerian version of Groupon. Working alongside Yahoo! engineers, a "TechWoman" from Jordan helped develop Arabic apps that now populate smartphones worldwide.
As these examples prove, technology is powerful, and so are the women behind it.
Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl. Today, 41 women will fan out across the Middle East and North Africa to use technology to grow their business, engineer the next "big idea," and engage new audiences. Together, these women will inspire and empower a new generation of women and girls through the global network of TechWomen.
Learn more about TechWomen at www.techwomen.org and stay tuned for updates on Twitter @TechWomen.