One of the best reasons is that there are job opportunities in the ICT sector! The sector is marked by a pressing need for a wide range of ICT talents – there is a growing gap between the digital skills needed by employers, and the number of jobseekers with the required technical know-how. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them. However, not enough students are preparing themselves for studies in math, engineering, computing, and sciences, and the number of female technical students is disproportionately low.
ICT companies are looking to attract and promote women because achieving greater workforce diversity is good for business. The lack of young women attracted to ICT studies is reflected in ICT companies and government agencies around the world. The ICT sector is currently male dominated, especially at senior levels. Where women are present, it is often in low-level, low-skilled jobs. Fortunately, many companies and organizations are looking to increase the numbers of women in the sector, realizing that increasing the number of women at the top positively impacts financial performance; those that ignore diversity issues, meanwhile, risk on-going labour shortages. ITU, as the leading United Nations agency for telecommunications and ICTs, seeks to encourage gender balance in the ICT sector at all levels of the profession.
Supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5, aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls through, among others, ICTs. Not only are jobs in the ICT sector lifting women out of poverty, but a more gender-balanced sector offers fulfilling mid and high-level careers, and enables highly talented women to springboard to the top of the career ladder. This is good for everyone.
As UN Secretary General António Guterres has said:
Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all. There is overwhelming evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies and countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous… Gender equality is the unfinished business of our time.