Geneva, 26 April 2018 - International Girls in ICT Day was celebrated today, 26 April 2018, around the globe at thousands of events organized to inspire girls and young women to consider careers in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.The day is organized annually on the fourth Thursday in April by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communications technologies (ICTs).
Since its inception, over 300,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 9,000 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 166 countries worldwide.
International Girls in ICT Day is an opportunity to encourage young women and girls to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
ICTs are a key driver of gender equality and women's empowerment. With improved access to these transformative technologies, women and girls around the world can benefit from increased employment and business opportunities.
"ITU's International Girls in ICT Day has become a global movement in which more girls and young women are learning about the wide range of fascinating opportunities ICT careers can offer," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "In the coming years there will be numerous job opportunities for people equipped with relevant digital skills. It is essential that the public and private sectors, as well as academia, and civil society seize the momentum created by International Girls in ICT Day to leapfrog the number of girls pursuing careers in technology."
ITU promotes the use of ICTs to ensure women and girls have the necessary skills and tools to fully exploit the benefits of today's digital economy, and ITU encourages its membership to undertake yearlong activities to make girls and young women aware of job opportunities in the ICT sector as well as to develop their ICT skills.
"Each time we introduce more women to the world of ICTs, not only do we take one more step towards achieving gender equality, but we accelerate socio-economic development for all," said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "In many countries, we are starting to see International Girls in ICT Day initiatives moving from one-day events to sustained, on-going programmes to teach girls about ICTs throughout the year. Let's make every day a Girls in ICT Day!"
Overview of some regional events organized to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over 200 girls will take part in a celebration on 14 May 2018. The event will be preceded by a week-long SMS competition for girls. The event is organized by ITU in collaboration with UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union.
In Brasilia, Brazil, the day was celebrated at the "Universidade Nacional de Brasilia". About 120 high school girls benefited from motivational talks given by women working in the ICT sector.
Arab States Region
In Palestine, girls drawn from different schools in Gaza have been taking part in a month-long ICT competition ahead of the Girls in ICT Day to be observed on 30 April at the University College of Applied Sciences. During the week leading up to the celebrations, the various teams will visit different technology companies and organizations to see how ICTs are being applied in different situations.
In Thailand, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and ITU, in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and CISCO conducted a training session attended by girls and young women on the use of ICTs in agriculture. More training sessions on "Agritech Using ICTs" are planned throughout the year to build digital skills amongst girls and young women.
In Bulgaria, over 70 schoolgirls from Sofia, will take part on 28 April in activities co-organized by ITU and the European Commission. Under the theme "Empowering Girls in the Digital Era", the event will include a panel discussion by role models featuring high-level policy makers and speakers, including ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and Bulgaria Vice-President Iliana Lotova.
At ITU Headquarters in Geneva, about 150 girls from local schools took part in an ICT fair where they participated in hand-on workshops showcasing different and practical aspects of digital technology and also met and interacted with women role models working in the ICT sector.
In the CIS Region, several academic institutions and organizations specializing in telecommunications and ICTs will organize activities to mark International Girls in ICT Day. During the events, girls and young women will be able to explore further career opportunities in the ICT sector, experience first-hand how ICTs are deployed to provide solutions for socio-economic development as well as meet and interact with women role models.
Read more about events marking Girls in ICT Day 2018 here.