ITU WISE, the first Women in Standardization Expert Group event, was held at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Hammamet, Tunisia yesterday.
The event began with a workshop on practical skills for successful negotiations, followed by a panel discussion highlighting the experiences of leading women from the ICT and standardization fields.
But addressing gender inequality in the standardization sector is not an easy task.
It is an issue that begins at a young age, where “it was dolls for girls and cars for boys,” according to Hilda Mutseyekwa, Director Economics, Tariffs and Competition, Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
“The challenges are many and they are deep-seated. Deep-seated because of cultural and … institutional practices and beliefs,” said Ms Mutseyekwa.
While there has been progress in promoting equal opportunities in ICT, more still needs to be done.
“There are lots of initiatives … that are looking at empowering women in the ICT sector… but I think we need to do more. We have done enough of awareness initiatives, but now we need to address problems that we’ve identified,” Ms. Mutseyekwa said.
One way to take action to further women’s equality in ICT is through EQUALS, ITU’s new campaign in partnership with UN Women. It is designed to empower women on three pillars: access, skills and leadership.
Ms Mutseyekwa shares more thoughts in the video below.