April 28, 2016

#GirlsinICT – how can we level the playing field?

Around the world there is a lack of women taking up jobs in information and communication technology (ICT), despite software engineers and developers being one of the most in demand jobs globally. Women have a strong history with ICTs: Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer in the world, and research has found that women are considered better coders. With multiple opportunities to take up roles in the sector, including a predicted global shortfall of some two million ICT jobs, why are women still underrepresented in the sector?

To mark Girls in ICT Day 2016, ITU (@ITU) and Oxfam (@OxfamGBPolicy) hosted a Twitter debate using the hashtag #GirlsinICT on 27 April 2016, discussing how to engage girls in information and communication technology (ICT) and level the playing field.

Panelists included: Ronda Zelezny-Green (@GLaM_Leo), a US Fulbright Scholar and 2015 Outstanding Young American, and a PhD candidate in #ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London; Chisenga Muyoya (@MissChissy), a proactive leader with over 5 years of experience in the ICT sector; Judith Adem Owigar (@owigarj & @akirachix), Operations Director at AkiraChix, a not for profit organisation that aims to inspire and develop women in technology to help shape Africa’s future; and Martha Omoekpen Alade (@alademartha), founder of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), an NGO that provides networking, entrepreneurship and professional development opportunities through technology for women in Nigeria.

Here are a selection of the responses:

Women only occupy 17% of tech jobs, what job opportunities are there for young women in ICT?

Let’s move to a new question-some have already touched on this: How can we encourage more girls and young women for these jobs? #GirlsinICT

Let’s move on now to women’s rights & ICT: What are the opportunities presented by ICTs for girls to advance their rights? #GirlsinICT

Ok, what about the barriers girls face? What needs to change about the design of ICTs to make them inclusive to girls? #GirlsinICT

We have only 15 min left, let’s move on to discuss what the risks are of girls being left behind in tech? #GirlsinICT

We’re in the last 10 min- some have already shared, but we’d love to hear about some of your #GirlsinICT projects

#GirlsinICT last 5 min, let’s end with your thoughts on this: Are we feeling positive about the future for #GirlsinICT?

Note from ITU:
International Girls in ICT Day was launched by ITU in 2011 to raise awareness on empowering and encouraging girls and young women to consider studies and careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). To date, International Girls in ICT Day has been celebrated in 150 countries around the world with more than 5,300 events and participation of over 177,000 girls and young women.

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ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

#GirlsinICT – how can we level the playing field?

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