The ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) adopted a declaration today that promotes gender equality, equity and parity in the work of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector.
WRC-19 is meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh from 28 October until 22 November 2019 with around 3300 delegates from over 160 Member States present at the conference to amend the international treaty known as the “Radio Regulations" governing the global management of the scarce radio-frequency spectrum, as well as the related geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits.
The conference recognized that while radiocommunication plays a vital role in the globalization and the effective development of information and communication technologies, very few women participate in the international processes related to the advancement of radiocommunication systems and services. The Declaration highlights the need to ensure that women participate actively and meaningfully in all activities of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) in order to effectively advance its work.
ITU Member States and Sector Members declared they will urgently undertake active measures to increase the number of girls receiving primary and secondary education in advanced mathematics and science in preparation for undergraduate degrees in STEM fields, particularly in electrical engineering and computer science. They also agreed to increase the number of scholarships and fellowships provided to women pursuing academic degrees at all levels in STEM fields and, by 2023, to substantially increase the number of internships, training opportunities and summer jobs available for women to prepare them for professional careers and leadership positions in the telecommunications/ICT sector.
“ITU is committed to the Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) policy to empower both women and men, particularly in fostering equal access to telecommunication and ICT services," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Society as a whole will benefit from the participation of women in technology development, policy-making and decision-making, and I urge our Member States and Sector Members to include women in all aspects of ITU-related activities."
“The ITU Radiocommunication Sector, which contributes significantly to our ever-expanding information and knowledge society, will benefit immensely from gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women through ICT," said Mr Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “The ITU Network of Women, initiated by the Radiocommunication Bureau, is dedicated to promoting women in radiocommunications, telecommunications/ICT and related fields to enhance the inclusion of women and girls in the information society and to help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal on achieving gender equity." Director Maniewicz emphasized that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that women and men can compete on a level playing field for opportunities in the ICT environment, and especially in radiocommunications.
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