NCWIT AND CISCO SYSTEMS LAUNCH NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS GENDER GAP IN IT

November 7, 2005

New Program Offers Students, Parents and Educators Valuable Online Learning Tools



Cisco Systems, Inc., today announced it is joining forces with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to increase awareness of education and career opportunities for girls and women in science, technology, math and engineering. The initiative introduces a comprehensive digital library (http://www.ncwit.org/cisco) designed to give students, parents and educators the tools to learn more about careers in high-tech fields and the importance of girls' participation.



The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that more than two million professional technology-related jobs will be added to the US workforce by 2012. But according to recent research from the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), an industry trade group, the percentage of women in the American information technology (IT) workforce has declined by 18.5 percent in the last eight years, with women now representing barely one-quarter of IT workers.



To address this trend, the initiative provides students, parents and educators with a variety of resources for encouraging young women to excel in math, computing and technology. The initiative's website houses a wealth of information for students about interesting careers in technology and details about local technology clubs, programs and summer camps for girls.



This initiative is part of a larger Cisco program focused on increasing females' access to IT training and career opportunities, beginning with the Cisco Networking Academy Program. Through Cisco's WAN (Women Action Network), and Girls Get IT initiative, Cisco is working with Networking Academies worldwide to collect and disseminate information on best practice recruitment and retention strategies to increase female participation in computer science as well as other related IT degree programs and careers.



"Cisco Systems is proud to support an educational initiative that fosters mentoring and reaches out to inspire young women nationwide to meet the enormous demand for qualified technology professionals - occupations that rank among the highest paying and fastest growing," said Jayshree Ullal, Senior Vice President, Data Center, Switching and Security Technology group at Cisco. "Through our relationship with NCWIT, we are taking action to address a national concern by providing parents, educators and young girls the tools to ignite an interest and passion in professional fields that they may not have been exposed to before."



"We're eager to bring awareness to a national level and help provide the much needed resources and guidance to get girls excited about technology," said Lucy Sanders, chief executive officer of NCWIT.



Cisco and NCWIT are working in collaboration with several industry organizations on the initiative, including Educational Development Center, the Information Technology Association of America, the Stanford University Office of Science Outreach and Junior Achievement.



About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.



About the National Center for Women & Information Technology

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a growing coalition of over 65 respected corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working aggressively to increase women's participation in information technology (IT.) NCWIT believes that women's participation is a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. Its goal is professional IT workforce parity in 20 years, and its work will connect efforts along the entire pipeline from K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. To find out more, please visit http://www.ncwit.org.