Some of the best investments we can make are "empowering women to participate in the formal economy," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, which took place in early October 2010. Underscoring the power of mentoring as a means of tapping the talents of women, she noted: "Still in too many places, support for women is in short supply. But through mentoring, we can help meet that need."
One such mentoring program, called TechWomen, was announced during President Barack Obama’s Entrepreneurship Summit in April 2010. Secretary of State Clinton said, "Through TechWomen, we will match women in Muslim-majority countries with women working in tech companies here in the U.S. And we will send American mentors to their protégés' countries to engage on a wider scale with the people there. We obviously want to harness one of America’s great strengths – our excellence in technology and innovation – and use it to build effective and lasting partnerships with rising women leaders in Muslim countries."
TechWomen is a new initiative which will help women in the field of technology from the Middle East and North Africa to reach their full potential. Thirty-eight women between the ages of 25 and 42, who are emerging leaders in technical fields in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the West Bank and Gaza, will be chosen to participate in the program.
Each participant will be paired with a U.S. counterpart for a five-week, project-based mentoring program at leading technology companies in Silicon Valley. The program will focus on innovative technologies, cutting-edge content, as well as social networking tools. The idea is to foster mutual understanding, and to break through the isolation women in the field of technology face in the Middle East, while creating useful connections with professional and personal mentors in the U.S.
The TechWomen website at www.techwomen.org/how-to-apply/ provides full information and instructions on how to apply to become a participant. Applications for the program are being accepted until February first.
"We are connected by shared experiences and aspirations no matter the circumstances of our lives," said Secretary of State Clinton. "And through global mentoring programs, we can replicate one of those shared experiences, one that happens every day in countless places around the world, women coming together to support each other and to see how we can together make progress."