Yesterday, the 2012 class of TechWomen arrived in San Francisco to participate in an international exchange that leverages technology as a means to empower women and girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Yemen. Forty-one female emerging leaders in the technology field from the Middle East and North Africa will be paired with American counterparts for a five-week mentoring program. Click here to learn more.
Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2011, TechWomen builds on her vision of "smart power." It embraces the full range of diplomatic tools, in this case technology, to bring people together for greater understanding and to empower women and girls. As a result of TechWomen, participants have forged new relationships and developed innovative ideas for new technologies.
Last year's emerging leaders returned home and founded tech start-ups, developed software, and created non-governmental organizations (NGO) to empower women and girls in their communities. For example, Rayane Hazimeh from the Lebanon, who participated in the TechWomen program in 2011, is creating Noura Techadventures, an online animation series to inspire young girls' involvement in STEM fields; and Thekra Dwairi from Jordan, is creating an NGO called EduGirl to focus on educating girls in neglected areas.
Rayane and Noura and their fellow alumnae have paid it forward by engaging women and girls in their countries and communities and by promoting innovation and the spread of new technologies to help women and girls become leaders in this field.
Just as technology continues to evolve, inspire, and spark innovation, these TechWomen are bridging barriers, building capacity and learning new tools, to break glass ceilings everywhere.
Stay tuned for updates from @TechWomen on Twitter.