The joint ITU and European Commission celebration of Girls in ICT Day 2018 took place on 28 April 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, coinciding with the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Bulgaria has one of the highest shares of female participation in the ICT sector in Europe. The occasion also served as an opportunity to discuss the reasons behind achieving higher share of female ICT specialists and identify Bulgarian best practices to be shared among other European countries.
Up to 75 local girls (between the ages of 12–16) were invited for the event that gave them the opportunity to experience ICTs in fun and educative workshops (e.g. coding, robotics, app development, VR/AR experiences) as well as meet local role models. The event also included a panel discussion featuring high level speakers addressing the topics of the pipeline of women and girls in the ICT sector.
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated annually around the world with the purpose to raise awareness on the growing importance of digital skills to pursue successful professional careers across sectors. The initiative aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs), enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.
To date, over 300,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 9,000 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 166 countries worldwide. At these events, girls and young women have had the opportunity to experience technology first-hand in workshops, meet role models and learn about the wide range of educational and professional opportunities the sector offers. In Europe, Girls in ICT Day has been celebrated in 43 countries by governments, the civil society, companies, schools and universities.
ICT sector is marked by a pressing need for a wide range of ICT talents. Companies are looking to attract and promote women, because achieving greater workforce diversity is good for business. The sector needs new talent and currently, not enough students, especially female students, are preparing themselves for studies in math, engineering, computing and sciences. Supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5, aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls through ICT, among others.