Global leaders from the US, Europe,
Africa and Asia joined together today to debate and define a roadmap
that will help break down barriers and overturn outmoded attitudes in
a bid get more girls into technology-related studies and careers.
A high-level dialogue held at New
York’s Institute of International Education and hosted by the
International Telecommunication Union, the UN-specialized agency for
information and communication technology, identified misguided
school-age career counselling, the popular media’s ‘geek’ image
of the technology field, a dearth of inspirational female role
models, and a lack of supportive frameworks in the home and workplace
as factors that, together, tend to dissuade talented girls from
pursuing a tech career.
Inspired by the tremendous dedication
of NGOs, universities, government agencies, industry and others
around the world in organizing Girls in ICT Day events today,
participants sketched our a basic blueprint for more successful
approaches to attracting school-age girls to the fast-evolving
technology field, and agreed to work together to change attitudes and
boost female tech enrolment rates.
In his welcoming remarks to an invited
audience of over 200 gender, education and technology experts, ITU
Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said: “Over the coming decade,
there are expected to be two million more ICT jobs than there are
professionals to fill them. This is an extraordinary opportunity for
girls and young women – in a world where there are over 70 million
unemployed young people”.
ITU’s Dr Touré closed the event with
a call for partners to collaborate with ITU on a three-year ‘Tech
Needs Girls’ campaign focused around four ‘Es’: empowerment,
equality, education and employment. “This is a tremendous
opportunity for us all, working together as partners, to make a real
difference”, he said.
‘Girls in ICT Day’ is a new annual
event on the UN calendar, and is celebrated every year on the fourth
Thursday in April. It was established through a formal Resolution at
ITU’s four-yearly Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010.
(Source: ITU Newsroom)