To celebrate International Women’s Day today, ITU News is running a special series of blog posts on women in information and communication technologies (ICTs). All week, we’re featuring stories about women in tech and global programmes to accelerate the pace of progress for gender equality in ICTs.
During my recent trip to Paraguay for the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Americas, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of young girls who told me about the positive changes that information and communication technologies (ICTs) had brought to their lives.
They were all from schools located in remote areas of the country and, through the establishment of telecentres, they now have access to computers, Internet, and they are learning how to use them. The telecentres were created in the framework of the implementation of Paraguay’s National Plan of Telecommunications which was developed with the assistance of ITU under the leadership of Ing. Teresita Palacios, President of CONATEL, the telecommunication regulatory body of Paraguay.
When I asked these girls what they wanted to do when they grow up, they told me they wanted to become lawyers, doctors, and nurses. One little girl came forward and told everyone she wanted to, one day, become the President of Paraguay.
Their aspiration deeply touched me. I felt that, as they grow up and realize their dreams, they will help build a world where equality between women and men will become a reality.
This year, as we mark International Women’s Day 2017, under the theme of “Be bold for change,” I would like to reaffirm my commitment, as Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), to ensuring that women and girls have equal opportunities to access, use, and benefit from ICTs.
Achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls is crucial to creating sustainable development and a peaceful world.
In BDT, we lead the International Girls in ICT Day campaign to encourage more young women and girls to study and take up ICT careers. International Girls in ICT Day has been celebrated since 2012 in over 160 countries with over 7200 events and the participation of over 240 000 girls and young women.
On the Girls in ICT Day portal, we share best practices on the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in the ICT sector – and we profile successful women role models. We also aggregate and disseminate a number of gender-related ICT indicators, including on mobile-phone ownership and usage, Internet usage and ICT skills.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I would like to acknowledge and to give thanks to all our female colleagues in BDT and to also recognize the contribution made by male colleagues who help advance gender equality in their workplace and in their families. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue: it is everyone’s business.
I wish a happy International Women’s Day to you all and to all the little girls and boys who will one day be able to realize their dreams in a world where women and men will enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities.