Committed to connecting the world


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

Girls in ICT day 2013

Networking Lunch / Tech Needs Girls Awards

25 April 2013, Brussels, Belgium
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you this afternoon, and to see so many smart, bright and enthusiastic people – men as well as women – who have come together here in Brussels to celebrate Girls in ICT Day 2013 with us.

I would very much like to thank Cisco and Intel in particular, who have made these awards today possible, and who have demonstrated their outstanding commitment to seeing women and girls take up ICT careers and pursue technological excellence. We really appreciate your partnership.

We launched the Tech Needs Girls campaign just over a year ago and we have been impressed by the global response we have had – from girls and women around the world.

We have heard from women who recognize the importance of the core messages surrounding the campaign, and from girls who had no idea how dynamic, creative, flexible – and indeed helpful and valuable to the community – a career in ICT could be.

At ITU – the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – we know that ICTs not only affect the lives and work of everyone on this planet, but that they are one of the smartest sectors to get into.

So we have been working hard to encourage girls and women to step up to technology and seize the amazing opportunities ahead.

Everyone has a role to play in this effort:

  • Whether it’s private companies, who can involve women in research and innovation processes, and spotlight their female tech stars;
  • Or governments, who can change the way that science, technology, engineering and maths are approached and taught at every level of the school system;
  • Or the media, who can do so much more to change the stereotyped way that women and girls are so often portrayed in films and on television, and do more to present positive female role models;
  • Or parents, who can make sure that girls not only get the same opportunities as boys, but see that heading into STEM careers isn’t dull, or geeky, or nerdy, or simply too hard – but instead is a smart career move with excellent prospects not just for individuals but for society as a whole.

Today we are here to honour the achievements of the Tech Needs Girls Awards winners, and so let us move with no further ado onto the ceremony.

Let me congratulate the Cisco winners, Caitlin Wilson, Thea Bradley and Florence Boden.

And let me also congratulate the Intel winners, Naomi Shah and Meiri Anto.

And finally, to close, let me congratulate our Tech Needs Girls winners in Nigeria who are busy celebrating Girls in ICT Day in Lagos today.

Our Tech Needs Girls partner, Women in Technology in Nigeria, has been working with ‘Princeton Girls in IT’.

Princeton Girls in IT is a five-girl team from Princeton College in Lagos, and they have developed a mobile app for tracking traffic offenders, as part of the Technovation Challenge.

I am proud to announce that they have been selected from over 100 submissions as one of ten finalists to pitch their mobile app at Twitter headquarters in the USA next Tuesday – and we will be following their progress with great interest.

Congratulations to you all.

Thank you.