International ‘Girls in ICT Day’ celebrated around the globe

Date: Mon, 04/28/2014 - 14:50

Annual day promotes career opportunities for young women to become ICT creators
International ‘Girls in ICT Day’ celebrated around the globe Image credited to David Isaak

Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an awareness-raising initiative designed to promote tech careers and studies to a new generation of girls and young women with an interest in becoming ICT creators.
ITU salutes the hundreds of organizers and thousands of girls and young women taking part in this global movement, including ITU Member States and private sector members, and schools, universities and NGOs around the world who celebrated International Girls in ICT Day 2014.
ITU Member States, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Colombia, Gambia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Serbia, Venezuela and Zambia, along with ITU Sector Members Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Microsoft, GSMA, and, and NGOs from every region of the world are among the organizers that have already reached out to girls and young women worldwide this year.
International ‘Girls in ICT Day’ has rapidly grown into a global movement, with thousands of events organized in over 140 countries since its inception in 2010. Facebook posts, tweets and emails continue to pour into ITU highlighting the many exciting events being held in 2014. ITU is posting information about all the events around the world on its Girls in ICT Portal. The international day has also inspired year-long actions and advocacy to encourage girls and women to prepare for and take up ICT careers. 
Girls in ICT Day celebrations began last week, with an event for local school girls at ITU Headquarters, along with numerous events organized in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia by ITU Sector Member Cisco together with the ITU Regional Office for the Arab States.
“ICTs are improving the lives of people everywhere, through better healthcare, better education, better environmental management, better communications and better governance,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré in welcoming the Geneva schoolgirls on April 15. He encouraged them, and girls around the world, to “pursue smart careers – careers where you make the very best of technology to help improve the lives of others”.
In the Americas region the Technology University of Chile (INACAP), the National University of Rosario, Argentina, and the Caribbean telecommunication organization CARICOM in Guyana were among the organizers of events for young women. The US Federal Communications Commission organized a Twitter chat to celebrate the day with participation from FCC Commissioners. The US National Center for Women and Information Technology will launch an International Women’s Hackathon this weekend as part of its own Girls in ICT Day celebrations.
Germany got an early start with their 14th annual “Girls’ Day” on 27 March to give girls the opportunity to take part in technical and natural science activities, including some 500 ICT-oriented events for 6,000 interested girls organized with Deutsche Telekom, and Cisco, Intel, IBM, SAP and Microsoft, while Lithuania is sponsoring an event this weekend.
All ITU Regional Offices also actively promoted Girls in ICT Day 2014, organizing events, partnering with other UN agencies, supporting organizers in their respective regions and hosting competitions.
“I am delighted that the global Girls in ICT Day movement has now inspired stakeholders to implement year-long programmes to equip girls and young women with the skills they need to become ICT creators“, said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. Mr. Sanou applauded the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Turkcell and Dublin City University for their inspiring initiatives. MCT Nigeria recently launched Digital Girls Clubs in schools across the country to train girls in skills like ICT games, application development, website development and computer programming. Turkcell’s ‘Snowdrops’ project provides STEM scholarships for young women who also take software development training and participated in the first Mobile App Marathon held in Turkey. Dublin City University launched CoderDoJoGirls, which just celebrated its first anniversary, teaching girls to code and build their confidence.
ITU estimates a skills shortfall of over 2 million ICT jobs in the coming years.  Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will be well-placed to enter a career in ICTs, leading to their economic empowerment.  “Empowering girls and young women to fulfil their potential through ICTs will benefit not only young women and girls themselves, but entire societies and their economies,” Brahima Sanou said in his annual Girls in ICT message.


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