opportunities in the ICT continue to grow, and 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 numbers of women in the sector. This means that
highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities
available to them. Unfortunately teenage girls and young women often never even
consider a career in ICTs. There is a lack of awareness among students, teachers
and parents on the opportunities presented by a career in ICT.
Attitudes can change when girls are invited into companies and government
agencies to meet ICT professionals and see what life is like on the job. For
this reason, ITU members agreed to recognize Girls in ICT Days on the 4th
Thursday of every April in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Guadalajara,
2010). ITU is also helping girls find the information they need by developing a
Girls in ICT Portal with links to scholarships, training, internships, contests
and awards, tech camps, online networks and, of course, Girls in ICT Day
activities. The Girls in ICT Portal will be unveiled in this Session.
Not only is encouraging girls to enter the ICT sector good for women’s
professional development and job prospects, it’s good for business. A broad
range of organizations and companies have concluded that increasing women at the
top positively impacts financial performance, while those that ignore diversity
issues risk ongoing labor shortages.
Supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line
with United Nations Millennium Development Goal 3 to promote gender equality and
the empowerment of women. Not only are jobs in the ICT sector lifting women out
of poverty, a more gender-balanced sector offers fulfilling mid and high-level
careers, and enables highly talented women to springboard to the top of the
career ladder. This is good for everyone. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
has said, “Equality for women and girls is not only a basic human right it is a
social and economic imperative. Where women are educated and empowered,
economies are more productive and strong. Where women are fully represented,
societies are more peaceful and stable."