International Girls in ICT Day
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.
International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by all ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Rev. Busan, 2014), aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector.
Why a Girls in ICT Day?
One of the best reasons is that there are job opportunities in the ICT sector! The sector is marked by a pressing need for a wide range of ICT talents. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields have significant opportunities available to them. The European Commission, for example, has predicted a skills gap of over 500.000 ICT jobs in Europe by 2020; within a similar time frame the U.S. Department of Labor forecasts the creation of around 1.4 million IT jobs and Canada is expected to create at least 218,000 computing related jobs, just to name a few examples. The ICT sector needs new talent! This is because not enough students are preparing themselves for studies in math, engineering, computing, and sciences. Compounding this problem, the number of female technical students is disproportionately low.
ICT companies are looking to attract and promote women because achieving greater workforce diversity is good for business. The lack of young women attracted to ICT studies is reflected in ICT companies and government agencies around the world. The ICT sector is currently male dominated, especially at senior levels. Where women are present, it is often in low-level, low-skilled jobs. Fortunately, many companies are looking to increase the numbers of women in the sector. A broad range of organizations and companies have concluded that increasing women at the top positively impacts financial performance, while those that ignore diversity issues risk ongoing labour shortages. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as the leading United Nations agency for telecommunications and ICTs, seeks to encourage gender balance in the ICT sector at all levels of the profession.
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, among others, Information and Communication Technologies. Not only are jobs in the ICT sector lifting women out of poverty, a more gender-balanced sector offers fulfilling mid and high-level careers, and enables highly talented women to springboard to the top of the career ladder. This is good for everyone. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, "Equality for women and girls is not only a basic human right it is a social and economic imperative. Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong. Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable."