Last week in Jordan, 50 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Yemen and the United States came together to map out ways in which they could use the TechWomen network to encourage more women and girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM).
TechWomen is a program sponsored by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that pairs emerging women leaders in technology from the Middle East and North Africa with leading American women from the Silicon Valley area, using technology as a means to empower women and girls. While in Jordan, these TechWomen participated in workshops and even pitched project ideas to organizations that provide support services to individual entrepreneurs hoping to start their own businesses. In addition, we had the honor to collaborate with Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya in hosting a conference at the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, which allowed students and professional women to discuss the latest innovations in the field, share best practices, and build a global network.
The energy and excitement that we experienced throughout the week created an environment of connectivity between the women and potential partners. The TechWomen network is focused on providing role models for the next generation of women in technology. Last year, the State Department launched TechGirls to bring high-school aged girls from the Middle East and North Africa who aspire to a profession in STEM for a month-long tech camp in the United States. In Jordan, the TechWomen delegation met with TechGirls alumnae as well as potential TechGirl participants at educational institutions such as Injaz and the Jubilee School in Amman.
Technology continues to shape the world in which we operate: in industry, health care, education, and civil society. Ensuring that women and girls have the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and innovate is vital to our global efforts to empower the next generation of global citizens to pursue their potential.