Today, the International Day of the Girl Child aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
Now that information and communication technologies (ICTs) underpin many sectors of the economy and society, girls’ interest in ICTs — and their ability to pursue careers in ICTs — will be fundamental to ensuring that they, too, can reap the benefits of the digital economy.
Girls with technical and advanced digital skills will not only excel and have rewarding career opportunities in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, telecommunications and more; advanced digital skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in almost any other field they might choose to pursue. The result also helps achieve progress toward gender parity across diverse industries, accelerating progress on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 (Gender Equality).
One area with growing opportunities for women is the field of radiocommunications, a highly technical field that is crucial to enabling ICTs to function properly across borders.
In the videos below, we hear from mentors from Network of Women for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) on ways women can get involved and and why it’s important that they do.
“Young girls should get involved [in radiocommunications and the ICT sector] because there’s a whole field of radiocommunication, technology, engineering — of different opportunities and jobs — that perhaps they haven’t thought of before,” says Cindy-Lee Cook, Director of International Spectrum Planning at the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Department of the Government of Canada. “I think it’s important for them to see what the opportunities are that are out there and how they can contribute to those.”
“Certainly as we become a much more social society, in our technology, it’s important to have a female perspective applied to that,” says Cook. “The only way we’re going to do that is if we get more women involved in the work of radiocommunications and in the fields that typically are more male-dominated.”
This October, over 3,000 delegates from most of ITU’s 193 Member States will gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19). It lasts from 28 October to 22 November 2019.
The Network of Women for the WRC-19 is working hard to get more women to play an active role in this crucial conference.
“If we can get women responsible for issues on the [WRC] delegations and have them … negotiate with other people around studies, then they feel like they’re being heard and they’re helping move the work forward,” says Cook. “That would be a huge plus in order to get more women involved in the work.”
“I really value the Network of Women. It’s an opportunity for women to understand more about how the ITU works … and [it] allows them to consider themselves for positions — as Chair of Working Groups — and taking part in this amazing adventure,” says Becky Bonnardel-Azzarelli, CEO of AB5 Consulting. “It’s an opportunity for women to encourage each other and to support each other.”
“It’s an opportunity to expand your network, gain confidence, gather knowledge. It’s a great way for both men and women to be involved and contribute to diversity within WRC-19,” says Bonnardel-Azzarelli. “I’ve been very lucky in my career to be supported by many men and I really think that gave me a real edge and confidence in my jobs and allowed me to create my own business.”
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