What is International Girls in ICT Day?
International Girls’ in ICT Day is an initiative backed by ITU Member States in Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Guadalajara, 2010) to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April every year. This year, International Girls in ICT day will be held on 26 April 2012.
Who organizes Girls in ICT Day events?
Ministries of Communication, Education, National Regulatory Authorities, private sector companies, academic institutions, relevant UN agencies and NGOs can organize local, national or regional events on 26 April 2012. The ITU Secretary General has encouraged all ITU Member States and Sector Members to consider organizing a national or local event on 26 April 2012 in his World Telecommunication Information Society Day letter and its Call for Action. See the Secretary General’s Circular Letter and Call for Action at http://www.itu.int/wtisd/index.html.
ITU Members interested in organizing an event on 26 April 2012 are invited to contact ITU at email@example.com for further information and coordination. The ITU Girls in ICT Portal has many useful resources for countries organizing a Girls in ICT Day event at www.girlsinict.org.The Girls in ICT Portal also includes over 400 programs to support young women and girls to prepare for and enter a career in ICTs.
How to organize the Girls in ICT Day event?
There is no a specific model for the organization of the event. ITU encourages and invites ministries of education and communication, private sector companies and other governmental and academic institutions to get involved and organize local, regional and national events designed to showcase ICT and technology careers to young female students. The goal is that girls are invited into companies and government agencies to meet ICT professionals and see what life is like on the job and better understand the opportunities the ICT sector holds for their future. ITU recommends that teachers and academic advisors also be invited since they are often unaware of the opportunities the ICT sector holds. Participating in Girls in ICT Day events could help raise their awareness.
Inviting successful women to speak about their careers in ICT, as well as offering prizes or giving girls “hands on” experiences are examples of how to make the event more appealing to the participating young women.
Other ideas are to organize career fairs or mentoring and shadowing programs. See the 2012 Girls Day Toolkit for more ideas at www.girlsday.org.This toolkit was developed by WITNET, the Global Network of Women ICT Decision Makers, also established by ITU Resolution 70 (Guadalajara 2010).
ITU Members organizing an event are encouraged to:
ITU will upload the write up on the Girls in ICT Portal, including the URL link to the event website, to guide Members organizing an event next year.
ITU is also preparing a logo, electronic widgets and banners that our Members will be able to use for their national events. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If interested countries would like to see how one country organized their first Girls in ICT Day event last year, here is a video about the Republic of Serbia’s 2011 event. Information about Serbia’s experience is posted on the ITU Girls in ICT Portal as well under the Events section.
Why do we need a Girls in ICT Day?
Globally, it is estimated that the world shortfall in skilled ICT professionals exceeds two million. Despite the obvious benefits, many girls never even consider a career in ICTs.
The ICT sector remains a growing sector for employment, and a key economic factor underpinning both national and international development in both developed and developing countries. Many countries and regions are predicting a shortage of qualified staff with math, science, engineering and computing skills to meet the growing demand.
At the same time, many companies are looking to increase the number of women in the sector.
This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them in both developed and developing countries. The need for qualified professionals in developing countries worldwide should come as no surprise, considering the rate of ICT growth in developing countries. The BDT Thematic Report: A Bright Future in ICTs: Opportunities for a New Generation of Women includes more information and will be published soon on the Girls in ICT Portal.