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Monday, January 14, 2002

Achieving e-Equality in the IT Sector

Queen Rania inaugurates the “Achieving e-Equality in the IT Sector” Program-- a UNIFEM/Cisco Systems, Inc. and Cisco Foundation initiative

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - AMMAN) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah inaugurated the "Achieving e-Equality in the IT Sector" Program-- a UNIFEM/Cisco Systems, Inc. and Cisco Foundation initiative.
 
The program comes in line with national efforts to advance Information Technology (IT) in the Kingdom, and with initiatives spearheaded by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania to provide Jordanians with opportunities to excel in the field of IT in order to play an active role in the country's progress.
 
The inauguration comes as a follow-up to a meeting held in June 2000 between His Majesty King Abdullah and the CEO of Cisco, Mr. John Chambers, during which they discussed the important role of the Internet in education and the overall positive impact of IT on the Jordanian economy.
 
The meeting had also touched on several areas of possible cooperation between Cisco and counterpart Jordanian entities.
 
The inaugurated program is also in line with Queen Rania's efforts to provide Jordanian men and women with the right tools that will facilitate their access to technology and enable them to attain the necessary skills allowing them to compete equally in local and international labor markets.
 
Queen Rania's efforts in this sector also aim to enhance job opportunities for women by empowering them through the use of computers and IT training, and leveraging their ability to contribute to the social and economic well-being of Jordanian society.
 
Jordan has witnessed many success stories of women in this regard. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Regional Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, said that Queen Rania's patronage of the program underscores her support of women's active participation in Jordan's IT industry.
 
It also highlights the Queen's support of initiatives that aim to empower Jordanian women and to improve their capabilities, thus ensuring their access to labor markets, she added.
 
Also speaking at the inauguration was the Minister of Education, Dr. Khalid Touqan, who emphasized the role of the Ministry as a partner in the program, and its efforts to develop women's capabilities and enhance their chances of employment by improving their abilities to use technology.
 
The Ministry, he noted, has already begun teaching the program to 100 girls in the tenth grade. This process will continue for the next two years whereby students will be acquainted with developments in advanced computer networking systems, he added.
 
The Director of Corporate Philanthropy at Cisco Systems, Ms. Tae Yoo, also made a presentation at the inauguration, focusing on Cisco's goals, its activities, and its Networking Academy program, which was established in 1997.
 
The program, a collaborative effort between governmental and non-governmental organizations, aims to meet the growing need for IT skills in the American labor market. So far, 8,400 academies have been established under this program in 130 countries around the world.
 
During her presentation, Ms. Yoo also outlined Cisco's policy to empower women through the uses of IT, particularly computer networking.
 
The program being implemented in Jordan will provide training to women in ten local academies established by Cisco in collaboration with UNIFEM and the Ministry of Education.
 
The academies are located in Balqa'a Applied University, a number of girls' secondary schools, and various community colleges across the Kingdom. Cisco's decision to establish such academies in developing countries, with a special emphasis on women, is based on a survey it conducted in cooperation with the US-based Academy for Educational Development.
 
The survey's results showed that women's participation in the company's US academies was very low compared to men's participation. Cisco now also offers grants to American and international institutions involved in IT training programs.
 
On the sidelines of the inauguration, Queen Rania held a meeting with Ms. Yoo. The discussion focused on areas where Cisco can contribute to the development of Jordan's IT sector.