OnQ Blog

Lessons learned from a 13-year old Hillary Rodham Clinton

Oct 21, 2014

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When Hillary Rodham Clinton was 13 years old, she wrote to NASA asking what she needed to do to become an astronaut. NASA dashed her hopes when it wrote back saying the agency didn’t accept women into its space program. Rather than deter her from gender-specific career goals, their response propelled her to pursue high profile and challenging jobs.

With an experience like this, it isn’t surprising to me that our Former Secretary of State is an advocate for women’s empowerment. Today, she works to encourage female students who love science and math to pursue their passions—and good jobs—by studying what are currently male-dominated subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At Qualcomm, we share Secretary Clinton’s passion for women’s empowerment and increasing the role of women in technology. It was an honor to host her as the Keynote Speaker of Wireless Reach’s Third Annual Convergence of Women, Technology and Innovation event earlier this week.

Secretary Clinton spoke to a captivated audience of Qualcomm employees and provided her insight and vision for women in technology and the critical role women play in influencing the direction of social and economic advancement.

Through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), she leads a program called No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project and promotes the Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) program. The No Ceilings project brings together partner organizations to chart the progress women and girls have made since the UN Fourth World Conference on Women. The WeTech program is building a pipeline of women in India, the U.S., and Africa to enter and contribute to the technology sector. WeTech believes that bridging the gender gap in STEM and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is critical for women’s and girls’ economic and social advancement around the world.

During last year’s Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Qualcomm announced our involvement as a leading participant in WeTech. In collaboration with the other stakeholders, we are working to increase the amount of girls and women in STEM education and ICT careers, thereby reducing the engineering gender gap and increasing the numbers of women working in technology.

Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the event reinforced for many of us the importance of empowering girls and women to believe they can succeed in any field.

Secretary Clinton reiterated that we have a responsibility to teach our girls from a young age that they can be the engineers and innovators of tomorrow. By offering them encouragement, support and engagement throughout the years, we can help shift gender stereotypes and broaden career aspirations for generations to come.

I couldn’t agree more.

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Shawn Covell

Vice President, Government Affairs