International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year with the theme “Expand Horizons, Change Attitudes,” to encourage young women and girls to discover the exciting world of opportunities in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Changing perceptions and attitudes is an important part of achieving gender equality in technology. International Girls in ICT Day aims to expand the realm of possibilities in the minds of young women, and also to engage men and boys on the topic of gender equality in the field of ICTs.
As we embark on the path to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ICTs are a key driver to empower women and girls, and ITU is committed to enhancing the use of digital technologies to promote the empowerment of women. They are an enabling technology that can speed progress by opening up opportunities for education, job training and high-paying employment, improving women and girls’ access to health care, enabling the exercise of legal rights and participation in government, among many others.
ITU stands committed to connect the world to the technologies that change lives. ITU estimates that 257 million fewer women than men access the Internet. Understanding the barriers that women and girls face is of utmost importance, both for the women not enjoying the benefits of the digital revolution, and for all of us who count on the innovative, creative talents of all members of society to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges. We are proud to take a leading role to advocate for women and girls to have equal opportunities to access, use and benefit from ICTs.
As of 2016, International Girls in ICT Day had been celebrated in over 160 countries with over 7,200 events in which over 240,000 girls and young women have already taken part. We know that many more celebrations and girls have been reached in 2017.
As the world joins together for International Girls in ICT Day with events aimed at encouraging girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs, we would like to highlight some of the exciting events happening for 2017’s celebrations.
Building on Successes
In Switzerland, CERN’s Information Technology Department, in collaboration with the Diversity and Local Engagement teams, hosted a Django Girls workshop on 8 April to help girls discover the art of programming. The workshop was hosted at IdeaSquare, CERN’s idealab and coached by CERN female engineers. Participants were invited to ITU’s headquarters on 27 April to exhibit their work.
In the Caribbean a group of women consultants together with Cotton Tree Consulting and Change Makers Development Ltd. organized a hackathon in different countries simultaneously involving participating girls in mobile app building, robotics and many other engaging hands-on activities.
In Canberra, Australia’s National University’s research computing service on April 6 held a day long event for 70 girls to learn about how to program robots, make an app, create art with code and decipher encryption.
And in Tanzania, the Universal Communication Service Access Funds (UCSAF) in collaboration with She Codes for Change led a nation-wide mobile app development competition throughout the month of March, with the winners participating in the Girls in ICT Day event organized by the ITU Regional Office in Ethiopia.
Join the conversation on Twitter #GirlsinICT
If you planned, attended or supported a 2017 Girls in ICT Day celebration, please contact us to add your event photos and descriptions to the global portal.
By: Susan Schorr, Head ITU Special Initiatives Division
Susan leads the digital inclusion work of ITU to promote ICT accessibility and use among women and girls, youth and children, persons with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples. She directed development of the ITU report, “Digital opportunities: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment” and leads the ITU International Girls in ICT Day campaign, raising awareness about ICT career opportunities among young women and girls. Ms. Schorr is the architect of the ITU Girls in ICT Portal, which includes a host of resources for women pursuing tech careers, and leads the joint ITU-Telecentre.org Foundation Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign that has trained over 1 million women at the bottom of the development pyramid to become digitally literate. Her latest project is a model policy report to promote ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities. Prior to joining ITU she practiced antitrust law in Washington, D.C. and was graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center.