Nº 2 2015 > Girls in ICT
Celebrating Girl Power on International Girls in ICT Day
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April each year. On this day, tens of thousands of girls and young women around the world get a chance to experience technology, many for the first time. For many of the participating girls, this day is an eye-opening experience, enabling them to experiment with information and communication technologies (ICTs) first-hand and to envision their future as ICT users or even creators. ITU data suggest that globally, some 200 million fewer women are online than men, and that women are coming online later, and more slowly, than their male counterparts, limiting women’s access to better-paid jobs that often require digital skills. Since 2011, ITU has recorded that over 111 000 girls and young women have participated in more than 3 500 events celebrating Girls in ICT Day in 140 countries worldwide. This large number comprises many individual stories; a few are detailed here.
Gina and Jiawei in Spain
At a Girls in ICT Day event organized by the ITSCOOL Association last year in Spain, Gina, 18, and Jiawei, 19, learned for the first time how to create mobile apps. According to Jiawei, the event helped her to discover the world of applications, which she now finds very interesting. Both girls are now studying to become engineers.
Runa from Bangladesh
Runa from Bangladesh had the opportunity to go to school for the first time only after having been first exploited as a child worker. After attending a Girls in ICT Day event organized jointly by Bangladesh Women in Technology (BWIT) and the Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programs (UCEP) in 2014, Runa decided that she wanted to study a diploma in engineering. She feels that a career in technology will enable her to help and support girls that come from a similar background to herself in the future.
Ashley in Costa Rica
A Girls in ICT Day event organized last year by Cisco in Costa Rica inspired Ashley, 18, to undertake an internship at Cisco. Ashley is passionate about technology and convinced that a career in ICT offers girls many great job opportunities. She is soon beginning her studies to become a software engineer.
Awele and Omodolapo from Nigeria
Awele, 16, from Nigeria, attended a Girls in ICT Day event organized by the Youth Initiative for Sustainable Development (YISD) in 2014, offering the opportunity to obtain basic digital skills for the first time. Now Awele has become a proficient blogger. At another event in Nigeria, organized by the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), Omodolapo, 16, was introduced to apps development, which made her drop her previous plans of becoming a doctor. “I have fallen in love with ICT and would like to now study an ICT-related topic at university”, she says. Omodolapo continued developing new mobile apps after the Girls in ICT Day event.
Preparations for this year’s Girls in ICT Day, to be held on 23 April, are gathering speed. The global momentum to inspire girls and young women to take up technology careers continues to grow, with more countries and event organizers than ever before expected to join the celebrations in 2015. To help event organizers with planning, ITU has published a toolkit including ideas and resources for event activities, as well as practical tips for making the event a success, available for download on the ITU Girls in ICT Portal at www.girlsinict.org. You can join the global Girls in ICT community online on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ITUGirlsinICT) and take part in the online discussion at hashtag #GirlsinICT. For more information on celebrating International Girls in ICT Day 2015, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If your organization is planning an event, we would be delighted to hear about it, as well as stories of women’s individual experiences of the day itself and how it might have contributed to changing lives. So please do get in touch with us at email@example.com and tell us all about how you celebrated Girls in ICT Day.