Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Girls in ICT Day 2020 went fully virtual. ITU News spoke to Akanksha Bisoyi, a participant and part of the organizing team, to learn more about the event.
Akanksha Bisoyi: During this unprecedented time of the global pandemic, with everything progressively shifting into the virtual realm, it was thrilling to see how governments, institutions and digital ‘superwomen’ across the globe joined together to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day 2020.
One particularly exemplary instance was the ITU Online Dialogue, where a panel of experts from governments, NGOs, academia, and international organizations engaged in an inspiring dialogue about the role of governments in empowering women through technology, alongside role models and mentors.
Every girl and young woman has the opportunity to live by the motto ‘everyday is Girls in ICT Day’ and seize the opportunity to their best capacity.
The EQUALS Girls in ICT Day Twitter Chat “Digital Superheroes” focused on “digital superheroes” who serve as role models and build programs to help girls follow their technology-related professional dreams. The 937, 000 impressions generated on the Twitter chat demonstrates that the issue of gender equality in the technology sector is increasingly gaining prominence on the agendas of influential public, private and NGO actors worldwide.
The “24h World Tour of Girls in ICT Day celebrations highlights” brought together the key virtual celebrations taking place on Girls in ICT Day worldwide. Among those, five took place in Africa, 13 in the Americas, one in the Arab States region, five in Asia and the Pacific, one in the CIS region and nine in Europe. The celebrations included activities such as live dialogues, virtual hackathons, mentoring and networking sessions, technology for good challenges and various trainings on coding, robotics, mobile application building, digital art, among others.
The ITU BDT Director joined the World Tour by virtually attending the following events:
The world today is progressively digital. More and more young women and girls are drawn to social media platforms that may serve a multitude of functions. LinkedIn, for instance, provides networking opportunities, helping young entrepreneurs and professionals to progress professionally. Instagram and Facebook serve as a virtual environment not only for interpersonal communication with friends and family but also enables professional networking.
To illustrate, Instagram has allowed numerous influencers and bloggers to launch successful careers in the fields ranging from fashion and culinary, to science. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can act as a stepping stone for girls and young women enabling them to expand their horizon and network with more people than ever before.
Similarly, TikTok is a notable application which has gained momentum relatively recently. Initially used for entertainment purposes, its functions now increasingly include education and awareness-raising. This can be exemplified by the WHO’s use of TikTok for raising awareness about COVID-19 or by ITU BDT Director Doreen Bogdan-Martin for marking the International Girls for ICT Day.
Digital platforms also help influential actors like ITU draw attention to manifold challenges faced by the world today, including the digital gender divide, which remains among the obstacles to inclusive and sustainable social and economic growth across the globe.
And thus, it can be said, every girl and young woman has the opportunity to live by the motto ‘everyday is Girls in ICT Day’ and seize the opportunity to their best capacity.