ITU celebrates global ‘Girls in ICT Day’
Annual day celebrates women’s achievements in the field of technology,
promotes tech opportunities to young girls worldwide
Geneva, 25 April 2013 – Every year on the fourth Thursday
in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’,
an awareness-raising initiative designed to pay tribute to women’s contribution
to the technology industry and promote tech careers to a new generation of girls
with an interest in science and maths.
Since its inception in 2010, the day has been gaining huge momentum around
the world, with over 1,300 events organized in 90 countries in 2012, and even
more activities set to take place in 100+ countries spanning 21 time zones
during the course of the day today.
This year, ITU is celebrating the event both at home and abroad, with events
organized at its Geneva headquarters as well as in Brussels, in partnership with
the European Commission’s DG Connect, and with the personal support of EC
Vice-President Neelie Kroes.
ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré started the day in Brussels at a tech
breakfast focused on promoting opportunities for girls in science, technology,
engineering and maths (STEM), organized by the
Women2020 organization. The event featured a high-level
panel debate, followed by the launch of the new Digital Girl of the Year and
Digital Woman of the Year awards.
Dr Touré then joined EC Vice President Kroes, Belgium’s Minister for
Scientific Research Céline Frémault, and a group of local high school students
for a series of hands-on ICT workshops exploring visions of tomorrow’s Digital
Future and the technology behind Digital Music Production and Performance,
including a ‘digital DJ’ component hosted by
During a networking lunch at the European Parliament, Dr Touré accompanied
ITU partners Cisco, Intel and WITIN (Women in Technology in Nigeria) in awarding
Tech Needs Girls
prizes to five talented young individuals, and a group of young Nigerian girls,
for innovative technology-based projects. The WITIN ‘Princeton’ group comprised
Adeola Augustina Fasan, Abisola Chinonye Jegede, Chiemerie Mary Okoro, Joy
Ayomide Olufemi, and Chikodili Grace Ozoagu. Cisco winners were Florence Boden,
Thea Bradley and Caitlin Wilson, while Intel awarded its prizes to Meiri Anto
and Naomi Shah. Cisco is also organizing 80 of its own Girls in ICT Day events
in 60 countries around the world.
Dr Touré rounded off the day’s activities with an address to the European
Parliament in which he highlighted the urgent need to redress the growing gender
imbalance in the technology sector.
“Despite some progress, only 21 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by
women. There are only 16 women ICT Ministers out of ITU’s 193 Member State
governments, and only 10 of the world’s 160 independent ICT regulatory
authorities are headed by a woman. In a world where over 95% of all jobs now
have a digital component, and where there is a large and growing skills shortage
in the ICT sector, we need to get more girls involved in science, technology,
engineering and maths, and we need to get more girls taking an interest in ICT
careers,” he told MEPs.
Dr Touré said Girls in ICT Day has an important role to play in raising the
issue at a global level, and thanked the European Commission for its vision and
commitment in creating an exceptional awareness-raising event.
“I am convinced that events such as this – and the many hundreds of other ICT
& Girls events taking place today around the world – will make a real
difference, and that we will see a dramatic change in the coming decades, as
more and more girls study tech subjects, gain tech degrees and pursue tech
careers,” he said.
Meanwhile, back at ITU headquarters in Geneva, a compelling programme was
held around the theme ‘Discover, Learn and Share’. Co-organized by ITU and the
US Mission in Geneva, the event welcomed over 70 schoolgirls aged 14-17 from
local Swiss and French schools, and kicked off with a tour of ITU’s interactive
tech learning facility, ICT Discovery, followed by workshops around four topics:
satellites, coding, mobile app creation, and digital videography.
It concluded with a lunch with female professionals from ITU, the US Mission
and the Swiss Engineering Network. “I am delighted that ITU’s Telecommunication
Development Bureau (BDT), which plays a key role in coordinating Girls in ICT
Day events globally each year, is now organizing its own event to empower girls
and young women,” said BDT Director Brahima Sanou. “We are very privileged
to have the support of high-level guests, including US Ambassador Betty King,
who addressed the participating girls and young women we hosted today.”
For her part,
Ambassador King emphasized the wealth of opportunity available to young
women considering a career in the booming tech sector. “In our
modern, connected world, ICT has become increasingly the means with which people
learn, become informed about the world around them, connect with friends and
opportunities, and give themselves a voice. The more pervasive they become, the
more opportunities there will be for those who are up to the challenge,” she
The event also featured a special video message from Geena Davis, ITU’s
Special Envoy for Women and Girls. “Events like Girls in ICT Day are important
in engaging and inspiring girls to explore careers in technology,” said the
Academy Award winning actor and advocate. “Studies by the
Geena Davis Institute
confirm that negative gender stereotypes in media influences the way girls see
their future and possibilities. We want to empower them to be whoever they want
to be, and reach their full potential.”
Activities concluded with a convivial lunch with students and female
professionals from both ITU and the US Mission.
An annual event on the UN calendar, Girls in ICT Day’ is celebrated every
year on the fourth Thursday in April. It was established through a formal
Resolution at ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010.
Follow the discussion around the event on Twitter at @ITU #GirlsinICT,
Facebook at ITU’s campaign page for Tech Needs Girls
and Storify at
View Girls in ICT Day video messages from ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun
Touré and Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau at
Video from the Brussels event will be available for download (broadcast
www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx and for viewing on ITU’s YouTube
Photos from both the Brussels and Geneva events will be available for
download from ITU’s Flickr site at:
Information, pictures and videos from all national and local Girls in ICT Day
events are available on the ITU
Girls in ICT Portal.
More information is available on ITU’s Tech Needs Girls page at:
For more information, please contact:
||For the Geneva event:
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Girls in ICT Project Coordinator