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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

   International Girls in ICT Day 2012

Launch of ‘Tech needs Girls’ Campaign   

26 April 2012, New York, USA

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

We have had an extraordinary morning together – passionate, inspirational, and indeed life-changing.

Thousands of girls and young women around the world are also having their lives changed right now by participating in ‘Girls in ICT Day’ events – and seeing just how bright an ICT career can be.

So let’s recognize the tremendous efforts made by ‘Girls in ICT Day’ partners in empowering young women and girls, and let’s give them a big hand!

And here I would like to make a special mention, and express my appreciation to South-South News, and in particular Ambassador Lorenzo, for their excellent and invaluable support of today’s event.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let’s all leave here today, building on this global momentum, and go out and be ambassadors for ‘Girls in ICT’.

In today’s world, there are far more jobs in ICTs, and career opportunities that rely on ICTs, than all the other jobs put together.

There is a global skills shortage which amounts to the most extraordinary opportunity for girls and young women.

These are exciting and engaging jobs that will really make a difference in every sector of the economy – from farming to healthcare, or from aerospace to education. ICTs are fun, challenging, and have a major impact in every part of our lives.

Today, in recognition of this, we are launching a new campaign, which quite simply says ‘tech needs girls’.

Today’s event here in New York is just the first small element of what is planned to be a three-year campaign, which will also comprise:
  • Global celebrations on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, on 16 May, which is dedicated to ‘Girls and ICT’ this year, and which will feature the naming of three distinguished internationally-recognized laureates, followed by a high-level debate;
  • The appointment of special ‘Girls in ICT’ ambassadors;
  • Further development of the ‘Girls in ICT’ web portal, which already offers access to some 400 programmes, including over 100 scholarship programmes, contests and awards, training and internship opportunities, over 100 online networks offering career support and mentoring, tech camps and international Girls in ICT Day activities;
  • And much more – including video and audio content; media and industry partnerships; and the mobilization of shared resources to spread the message far and wide.

The campaign will focus on four ‘E’s: empowerment, equality, education and employment:
  • Empowerment – means harnessing the power of technology to empower women and girls to bring about positive change in their own lives and communities around the world.
  • Equality – means ensuring that women have full and equal access to the information and opportunities provided by new technologies and aspiring towards a sector that is more female-friendly.
  • Education – means giving girls the same educational opportunities and choices as boys, and providing them with positive guidance towards possible careers in the ICT sector.
  • Employment – means demonstrating that there are exciting and fulfilling careers in ICTs, and that these are excellent opportunities for girls to provide a more significant contribution than they do today.

All in all, this is a tremendous opportunity for us to really make a difference.

We will need help, and we are actively seeking partners to come forward and make the ‘Tech needs Girls’ campaign a success – not just as a campaign, but as a way of making the world a better place for all.

Thank you.