Celebrating 10 years of TechWomen, the U.S. Department of State’s premier exchange for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced yesterday that the program, which pairs international emerging leaders in tech with American mentors at U.S.-based technology companies for a five-week mentorship exchange, will expand to angle the program for success in the decade ahead, as well as meet the needs of today. A part of the United States’ broader public diplomacy efforts, TechWomen leverages technology to bring people together for mutual understanding, with an aim to create opportunity for more shared peace and prosperity.
Secretary Blinken’s virtual announcement was part of a 10th anniversary event in Silicon Valley with nearly 600 mentors, mentor organization, influencers in the technology community, and the 104 international TechWomen emerging leaders. Watch the Secretary’s announcement.
Under the expansion announced on October 20, TechWomen aims to:
Expand to the Balkans
TechWomen will expand to the Balkans to engage and empower women in the tech sector there, starting with Albania and Montenegro.
Expand to America’s Heartland
With a focus on biotechnology and agricultural technology, TechWomen will expand to Chicago to tap into a growing tech sector and diverse network of potential mentors and partner host companies.
Launch the first-ever State Department Global Summit on Women in Tech
The Summit will bring together TechWomen alumnae, both emerging leaders and American mentors alike, for a multi-day opportunity to collaborate on action plans, issues of the day, and will cap it off with a Shark Tank-like competition for seed grant funding to support their action plans.
Strengthen the connection between TechWomen and TechGirls
Working to create greater connectivity in the Department’s efforts to empower women and girls, TechWomen will set aside some participant slots to TechGirls alumnae who meet the criteria for the TechWomen exchange. TechGirls is the Department’s international tech exchange for young women, ages 15-17. For more information visit the TechGirls website.
Create ‘NextGen TechCamps’
NextGen TechCamps will build on pre-existing efforts to engage and empower local tech communities around the world by leveraging the expertise of TechWomen alumnae as participants, instructors, and coaches. There will be three regional NextGen TechCamps in the Middle East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. For more information visit the TechCamps website.
TechWomen increases opportunities for women in tech by pairing emerging leaders with American mentors at technology companies. The emerging leaders work with their mentors to develop action plans that they then implement upon returning to their home country. Since it began in 2011, the program has grown beyond its original focus on the Middle East and North Africa to also include Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and now the Balkans. In the decade since 2011, TechWomen has hosted nearly 1,000 women from 21 countries.