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Women in IT: High level debate in Paris

The Women in IT session which took place in Paris on 7 July 2008 in cooperation with the French Presidency, the Women’s Forum and European Schoolnet, featured a high level debate on how to raise awareness and develop specific policy to address the need of promoting deeper participation of young women in technology and science studies. The debate was organised as part of the Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition hosted by Microsoft.

The event was the opportunity for 15 young Imagine Cup competitors/finalists to share the stage and be role models for 15 young European high school girls invited to participate and help them focus their future studies in the area of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as well as highlighting Microsoft commitment in this important issue.

The Women in IT session took place as an official event of the French EU Presidency. It was endorsed by the EU Commissioner of Education, Youth and Culture, Jan Figel and gathered more than 250 attendees, including French and European ministries cabinet members, policymakers, industry representatives, teachers and international journalists


Thaima Samman, Associate General Counsel and Senior Director Corporate Affairs & Corporate Social responsibility moderated a panel of high level speakers including:

Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education & Youth, detailing the recent changes in the EU Education programs and importance of public-private partnership

Claudie Haignere, Astronaut and former IT and Research Minister, providing a great role model for young women, shared her personal experience

Simon Brown, Microsoft DPE Vice President, illustrating strong employment opportunities for girls by pointing-out the recruitment and awareness programs in place

Aude de Thuin, President of the Women’s Forum for Economy, stressing the necessity of building more women networks

Marc Durando, Director of EU SchoolNet, summarizing the key trends for young women in the various EU countries.

To see the video of the event, click here.

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