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Closing the tech gender gap – top-level panel debate in NYC

Opportunities abound, demand is strong, salaries are high – so what’s holding young women back from studying technology?

Geneva, 16 April 2012 – Back in the 1980s, the percentage of young women earning computer science degrees was more than twice what it is today. Girls are increasingly excelling at sciences, and in many countries now make up the majority of students earning bachelor’s degrees. But when it comes to career choice, they’re opting for fields like medicine and bio-tech, rather than computing and communication systems.

As the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for information and communication technologies (ICTs), ITU is championing the catalytic role a technology career can play in creating exciting, far-reaching opportunities for women and girls and empowering them to meet their goals and aspirations.

We also understand the importance of encouraging more girls into the technology field as ICT professionals to help meet projected skills gaps in this fast-expanding sector. With ICT jobs consistently ranked among the top 20 careers with the best pay and best long-term prospects, and with the technology sector still growing strongly in a climate of economic downturn, we believe girls around the world should be encouraged to expand their horizons and look at the many exciting possibilities open to them in this domain.

To propel the issue to the forefront of the political agenda worldwide, ITU is organizing a high-level global ‘Girls in ICT Day’ panel debate, to be held in New York City on 26 April. The event will feature a strong panel of top-level speakers from government, UN agencies, prominent ICT companies, and of course girls themselves.

It will also comprise a high level of interactivity from a specially-invited audience of experts and leaders in the field, and the chance to chat to panelists and experts after the session during an informal lunch.

Full event details and programme can be found here.


'Girls in ICT Day' High-Level Panel Debate


09:30am - 12:30pm, 26 April, 2012


Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Facility, Institute of International Education, New York City


In order of speaking: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; Melanne Verveer, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner; Neelie Kroes, VP European Commission/Commissioner, Digital Agenda; Jasna Matić, State Secretary for Digital Agenda, Serbia; Emiko Iwasaki, manga creator and WIPO prize winner 2010; Nidhi Tandon, gender report author; Alethea Lodge-Clarke, Programme Manager, Public Private Partnerships, Microsoft; Monique Morrow, CTO Asia Pacific & Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Cisco Systems; Juliana Rotich, Executive Director, Ushahidi; and special guest Joanne O’Riordan, who will speak on how she uses technology the limitations of Total Amelia Syndrome. Joanne’s recent appearance on Ireland’s Late Late Show can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/vmx5Sd .

Registration to attend this event is essential. Journalists are requested to confirm their attendance to pressreg@itu.int by close of business Tuesday 24 April. The event can also be viewed via live and archived webcast at: www.itu.int/en/action/women/Pages/default.aspx.

Follow the event on Twitter at @ITU_News (http://twitter.com/itu_news) #GirlsinICT and through ITU’s Facebook page at www.itu.int/facebook.

Broadcast-quality footage of the debate will be available for download from 16:30 EST at: http://girlsinict.org/what-girls-ict-day. Video from the event will be available for viewing on ITU’s YouTube Channel at: www.youtube.com/itutelecommunication

Photos from the debate will be available for download from ITU’s Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/

For more information please contact:

In Geneva:

In New York:  
Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
tel +41 22 730 6135
tel +41 79 599 1439
email sarah.parkes@itu.int
Gary Fowlie

Head, ITU NY Liaison Office

tel +1 917 367 2992
tel +1 917 679 5254
email gary.fowlie@itu.int 
facebook www.itu.int/facebook
twitter www.itu.int/twitter


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