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 ITU, Asia Broadcasting Union call for action to get more women into technology and media

‘Women with the Wave’ forum speaker Geena Davis calls for more female characters, more positive portrayal of girls and women

Geneva, 16 October 2012 – Leaders attending an Asia-Pacific high-level forum have issued a rallying call for greater participation of women in media, information and communication technology (ICT) and communications across the region.

The call came at the end of the two-day Women With the Wave forum in Korea, with delegates urging media industry leaders, governments and international organizations to work harder to promote greater female representation in industry workplaces and on the airwaves.

They stressed the need for a gender inclusive media and information and communication technology (ICT) environment that empowers women and girls to work in the media and ICT fields across all levels and occupational groups, both on- and off-screen. They also called for women to be given greater access to technological and digital platforms, and advocated for a positive, non-stereotypical and balanced portrayal across all forms of media and technological platforms.

The forum was one of a number of events leading up to the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in Seoul. It featured a keynote speech by Oscar winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, who was recently appointed ITU’s Special Envoy for Women and Girls.

“The time for change is now, and all of you in this room are powerful agents of change,” said Ms Davis. I’d like to applaud Asian broadcasters, filmmakers, Internet stakeholders, academics and others in taking the lead to change the image of women and girls in ICTs. From Korea’s famous K-dramas to Bollywood musicals, we need the characters that will inspire tomorrow’s tech-centered professionals.”

The final statement issued by the forum paid tribute to the ABU, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), host organization the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), and other participating partners for helping to highlight the crucial role media plays in promoting women’s full participation in all aspects of life and society.

“We note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies,” the statement says. “We call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide, and which will do so even more in the future,” it concludes.

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré highlighted his organization’s strong commitment to harnessing ICTs to empower women, both through improved access to new technologies and through training opportunities that will help them pursue a career in the fast-growing ICT sector.

“ITU’s Tech Needs Girls campaign and recently launched annual Tech Needs Girls Prize targets girls aged 9-18 at the time when they are forming opinions and making career choices. Together, the campaign and prize aim to help them see a connection between tech and their daily lives, gain confidence in their skills and find fun in ICT. In addition, our comprehensive multilingual Girls in ICT Portal highlights tech scholarships, training opportunities and mentorship programmes for girls and women around the world,” he said.

ABU Secretary General Dr Javad Mottaghi said the Union fully supported the forum’s statement, adding that it would continue to do whatever it could to promote the cause of gender equality among its 220 members in the Asia-Pacific and partners worldwide.

“Having more women at all levels in the media and new technologies is not only morally right but it makes great sense economically,” he said.

The forum issued a nine-point plan of practical action that included greater effort from media leaders, greater consideration of research on gender bias, better access to training for women and girls, wider use of resources, more active promotion of gender equality, and greater cooperation to tackle gender inequality across the media and ICT industries. It also emphasized the need to promote women and girls in media and ICT, including developing programming story lines with women in ICT careers and promoting the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign.

Forum delegates called on assistance from intergovernmental agencies such as ITU, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), UNESCO and UN Women, professional associations of broadcasters such as the ABU, regional training institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and the Asian Media and Information Communication Centre (AMIC), commercial businesses and foundations, relevant NGOs and tertiary education institutions, including university journalism and communication departments.

At its 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference, ITU endorsed the celebration of an annual global Girls in ICT Day. In 2013, this day will be celebrated on 25 April, with governments, private industry, UN agencies and NGOs encouraged to invite girls and university students to spend the day at their offices, or organize ‘shadowing’ programmes with female mentors, so that they gain a better understanding of the opportunities offered by the ICT sector.  For more information on 2013 activities, contact the team at girlsinict@itu.int or via Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TechNeedsGirls

For more information, please contact:

At ITU:  

Susan Schorr

Head, Special Initiatives Division, ITU

tel +1 41 22 730 5638
tel susan.schorr@itu.int  

Paul Conneally 

Head, Communications & Partnership Promotion Division, ITU

tel +41 22 730 5601
tel +41 79 592 5668
tel  paul.conneally@itu.int 

At ABU:

Olya Booyar

ABU News Editor

tel +603 2282 3592
tel olya@abu.org.my  

 

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About ABU

The ABU, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, has more than 220 member broadcasters large and small spread across the region’s 58 countries, from Turkey in the west to Samoa in the east, and from Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south. Established in 1964 as a non-profit, non-government, professional association to assist the development of broadcasting in the region, the ABU promotes the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters and encourages regional and international co-operation between broadcasters. 

 

 

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