International Day of Girls in ICT celebrated annually in the last week of April, and this year the focus is on ‘Access and security’ as key elements for engaging the next generation in information and communication technology (ICT).
According to the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), this year’s theme “reflects the global interest in empowering youth and girls to safely enjoy an active digital life.
Honest and Equal
The UN agency recognizes the need for girls and women to have equal access to digital learning opportunities, especially in the least developed countries.
all over the world only 30 per cent of engineering and technology professionals are women. And according to latest ITU dataglobally, only 57 percent of women use the Internet compared to 62 percent of men.
Furthermore, if women do not have access to the Internet and do not feel safe online, they cannot develop the necessary digital skills and participate in digital spaces.which limits their opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, ITU continued.
Inspire the next generation
“Girls in ICT Day is a call to action to inspire the next generation of young women and girls to choose a career in STEM,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
Calling on all governments, businesses, university leaders and others to do their best to support young women and girls, Mr. Zhao said that it is essential to “give them a chance to fulfill their dreams.”
Girls’ access to STEM is critical
Joining the call UN Women reiterated the importance of ensuring that every girl has safe and meaningful access to digital technologies and ICTs.
AT statement Marking the Day, the agency said they were inspired by young activists like the 18-year-old Ana Vizitiv from the Republic of Moldova, whose work promotes gender equality in ICT and STEM, as well as a role model and entrepreneur 20-year-old Yordanos Genano from Ethiopia, who participated in the African Girls Can Code initiative and is currently developing a website and teaching others.
“These young women are using their skills to inspire other girls to learn basic programming and information technology skills, regardless of gender bias,” the statement said.
Recalling that girls’ access to and participation in STEM subjects is now more important than ever, especially after COVID-19 The pandemic and multiple crises in countries around the world have repeatedly created challenges for young women and girls in terms of learning, earning and socializing. UN Women reiterated the importance of technology as a solution for accessing essential services and information.
Technology also helps them communicate at school, keep in touch with friends and family, which is a key aspect of their independence and prospects for the future.
Persistent negative stereotypes
Recent study UN Women and ITU shows that girls access digital technologies at a later age than boys and that their use of these technologies is more often restricted by their parents.
In addition, young women and girls disproportionately exposed to violence and harassment online and using ICTswhich can negatively impact their physical, mental and emotional well-being and how they access and use digital tools for the rest of their lives, UN Women added.
Built on the idea thatevery girl has the right to be connected and safe and play her part in shaping a more equitable, green and technological future”, UN Secretary General called for a global digital contract to improve digital collaboration.
Generation Action Coalition for Equity for Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality brings together governments, technology companies, the UN system, civil society organizations and youth for a more equitable and diverse digital transformation, including through the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence online.
Marking the day, UN Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for an end to systemic barriers: “Girls continue to face cyberbullying and threats and lack of access due to the digital divide,” she said. said on Twitter calling for the transformation of technology and innovation to be “fair, safe and affordable”.
Across the UN system, agencies have advocated for gender equality in STEM. United Nations Cultural Agency UNESCO called to empower young girls in ICT so that they can become leaders in the workplace in the future. United Nations Refugee Agency mentioned the importance of keeping digital access in mind for refugees and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) repeated the need to guarantee better access to digital technologies for rural women and girls.
Join the digital revolution
The worldwide celebration and associated worldwide Girls in ICT Day events highlight ITU’s commitment to encouraging girls and young women around the world to consider a career in STEM.
To date, over 600,000 girls and young women have participated in over 12,000 Girls in ICT Day celebrations in 195 countries.
“All over the world, girls and young women want to join the digital revolution. When we remove access and security barriers, women and girls can make a significant difference in and benefit from ICT development. To put it simply: technology needs girls, and girls need technology,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.”