ITU is currently holing the Telcom World 2012 and is into day three today, the event promises a five days, one event, one opportunity to grow knowledge of the transformation of ICT - and of the opportunities and dangers it brings to the world we live in. It also explores the radical transformation of the ICT industry and the implications for policy, regulation and competitive strategy. This transformation is driven by game changers, the trends and technologies revolutionizing the industry and the world we live in.
Catch the updates in case you missed day one and two here
MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN IN ICT
Calling on governments and ICT businesses throughout the world to bring in and develop the enormous untapped potential of women and girls from the bottom of the pyramid up, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré provided an interesting analogy: "Women are analogue, men are digital. Women can think about, and solve, many issues at the same time; men can only concentrate on one thing. Analogue can take many signals on one carrier, and digital only one. So when solving a problem, always ask both men and women to see how they tackle issues from different angles."
Echoing his appeal for gender parity, Deborah Taylor-Tate, Special ITU Envoy for Child Online Protection highlighted the dismal lack of women in ICT jobs throughout the world, even in Korea, the most connected nation on earth. Female role models such as the president of Kosovo are important to encouraging girls to enter ICT and to strive for success. "Women focus on human rights, on justice, on education and on economic renewal, yet they are often overlooked". Hiring in bundles to encourage diversity, mentorship programmes, pay equality and education are vital.
Representing the government of Costa Rica, Health Minister Daisy Maria Corrales Diaz called for increased inclusion of women both horizontally and vertically, building on the success of countries such as Costa Rica itself, where female participation in the workforce has risen from 20% in the 1970s to 39.4% now. ICTs are vital to reach women in their homes, in particular in rural areas, and drive economic prosperity.
Introduced as the person who had brought the internet to Tunisia, Khédija Ghariani, Secretary General of the Arab Information and Communication Technology Organisation, said, "We must encourage women to reach posts at the level decision makers, in government and in the private sector- and then we will see results that are truly extraordinary."
For Omobola Johnson, Minister of Telecommunications for Nigeria, "deliberate and committed inclusiveness of women" is the single major factor to empowering women. Reaching women through ICT demands basic connectivity, affordable access devices and service plans - and encouraging adoption by making ICT relevant to women's live through applications in health, literacy and economic empowerment.
Representing the president of Gabon, former Minister of Telecommunications Laure Olga Gondjout outlined the most important action for enabling women to not only use ICTs, but move towards designing and creating ICT solutions: governments and industry must invest in public and private partnerships focused on providing gender parity in the sector.
Hessa Sultan Al-Jaber, Secretary General of ictQATAR, concluded a lively and positive session with a passionate appeal for society in general to respect for women and girls, as without this respect, no amount of education, career progression and empowerment will see real progress. "Change must come from within society, from within communities and from within women themselves. Parents, raise your children equally!"