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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Girls in ICT Day 2014 : Panel Session - Opening Remarks

15 April 2014, Geneva, Switzerland

Good afternoon,

Let me welcome you to this very busy panel session here at ITU, to celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’ a few days early – as you know the actual day is the fourth Thursday in April, which falls on the 24th this year, but local school holidays meant that we had to be a little flexible this time around.

I am really looking forward to hearing from all of the panelists – which include two video interventions – so I will be very brief indeed in these opening remarks.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While we have made quite good progress in many areas of gender equality – including very important areas such as equal pay – we clearly still have a long way to go; especially in encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers with an emphasis on ICTs.

Today we have around 80 girls from local schools participating in a series of excellent tech workshops here at ITU.

As I said to them earlier, over 95% of all jobs now have a digital component.

At the same time, there is a large and growing skills shortage in the ICT sector itself, as well as in fields where technology plays an ever-more important role – and that means pretty much all professional fields, from law and medicine, to being an airline pilot or a research scientist.

As you will hear from our panelists this afternoon, ICT skills will lead girls and young women into really interesting – and really useful – careers.

And because ICT skills are highly transferable, and in-demand everywhere, women with ICT skills will be able to work almost anywhere they want.

So let me close there – and let me encourage everyone here to play their part in making sure we continue to close the gender gap, and that we continue to make the world more equitable; for the benefit of ALL the world’s people!

Thank you.