ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré was one of the international leaders to lend his support to the launch of the new Global Network of Women ICT Decision Makers (podcast), which took place at UN headquarters in New York in conjunction with the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The initiative of Serbia’s Minister of Communications and Information Society, Ms Jasna Matiæ, the network aims to provide support, global information exchange and mentorship for high-placed women in the information and communications (ICT) industry.
Launched by Minister Matiæ and Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, the idea for the network emerged during ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, last October. It was subsequently included in Resolution 70 of that conference, garnering overwhelming support from PP-10 delegates.
In a video message to support the launch, Dr Touré said ITU was committed to promoting ICTs as tools to empower women and girls, as well as to encouraging more girls and women into the industry.
“The ICT industry offers many incentives to those looking for abundant career opportunities, engaging, cutting edge work, and substantial remuneration,” Dr Touré said. “In the world today, there are about 850 million young women aged under 24. With the ICT sector now serving as the world’s single biggest growth engine for jobs, we’re going to need their skills, their enthusiasm, and their fresh ideas.”
The ITU Secretary-General went on to express his hope that one of the major achievements of the new Global Network of Women ICT Decision Makers will be to showcase the many talented women working in the ICT field, and to promote these women as inspiring role-models for a new generation of female ICT leaders.
Other high-level leaders supporting the launch included the Ministers of Communication of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Finland, and Qatar, the Secretary-General of the Arab ICT Association, and dignitaries from Senegal and Sweden.