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Expanding horizons, changing attitudes

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Expanding horizons, changing attitudes
Credit: ITU

There are over 2 million ICT-related jobs available globally. To empower girls and young women to consider careers in ICT, the UN agency  International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has created International Girls in ICT Day.  Since 2011, it is celebrated in 160 countries around the world with more than 5,600 events and the participation of over 200,000 girls and young women. 

This year’s theme: “Expanding horizons, changing attitudes” had a great kick off in Geneva Switzerland, on April 28th 2016 with the participation of about 100 girls from five local schools: Ferney, British School, International School, Open Session and Florimont, and their amazing exhibitions in coding, programming robots with Lego, Rasberry Pi and 3D satellite mapping. Training and workshops from institutes and Tech organizations where provided to the girls before so they could develop interesting projects and ideas and become more empower in the growing field of ICT. The World YWCA participated by having two young women volunteers and staff participating at this event. Participation in Girls in ICT day aligns with the Objective 2 of the World YWCAs Strategic Framework that states that; YWCA women, young women and girls become the driving force in claiming and influencing women’s rights’ policies, leading change and setting global priorities for Young Women’s Leadership and realizing Human Rights.

The opening ceremony included welcome remarks from special guests and an interactive segment where girls could play a quiz game in their smart phones and learn more of the highlights and importance of digital skills to pursue successful professional careers across sectors. A second part of the event included speed mentorship sessions for the girls with role models women such as Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto from the US Permanent Mission of Geneva, Cristina Riesen, CEO and co-founder of Seedspace, Valerie Abrell, Associate Director from P&G, Veronique Glaude, Senior Radio-communication Engineer in ITU, Doris Delgado, Programme Officer and Emergency Telecommunications Expert ITU and Rohini Swaminathan, Geomatics Engineer from UNITAR/UNOSAT.

Propelling innovation

The World YWCA, highly encouraged its member associations to participate in this year’s International Girls in ICT Day and 12 YWCAs from different regions successfully coordinated and developed innovative activities targeting young women and girls in 12 different countries namely: Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Canberra, Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania, Benin, Rwanda, Nigeria and Liberia.

In today’s fast paced and information saturated society, ICT skills are not only essential but a major requirement to foster development. It was noted that 90% of all jobs in the future will require ICT skills. Thus science, technology engineering, math (STEM) and ICT will provide any individual with a good foundation for any career in life. Additionally, ICT has an empowering effect in girls and young women by helping them overcome the physical, cultural and social barriers that may prevent them from accessing opportunities. ICT can also help advance gender equality and women’s rights by giving girls and young women a way to share their voices and providing them with career opportunities.

It is clearly evident that more young women and girls need to contribute to science, technology, engineering and math. We cannot deny the worthwhile investment that ICT and STEM can provide for your future. The U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Hamamoto noted that “world needs science and science needs women.” Let us ensure that we support and promote our young women and girls take a lead role in STEM and ICT so that they are fully capacitated to ensure that they can transform power structures in science and technology.

Did you know?

  • 30% people who work in the ICT are women, according to the European Commission
  • In 2014 the number of mobile subscriptions outnumbered the world’s population of 7.4 billion people
  • The most in-demand professions are Software engineers and developers, according to the recruitment agency Michael Page
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