Today is global Girls in ICT Day – and as the world continues to face the COVID-19 global health emergency, it is more important now than ever.
At a time when schools, offices and places of social activity are closed around the world, technology is helping us communicate, work, learn.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights exactly why girls and women need to be empowered to use technology.
There is a substantial divide between women and men and between girls and boys in Internet access and use today. In 2019, the proportion of women using the Internet globally is 48 per cent, compared to 58 per cent of men.
When women and girls have access to the Internet, they have the opportunity to start new businesses, sell products to new markets, find better-paid jobs and access education as well as health and financial services. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this takes on new importance: If women do not have access to the Internet, they are unable to access vital health information, along with education and employment.
That is why we believe that every day is Girls in ICT Day.
International Girls in ICT Day is an ITU initiative and global movement to promote the exciting career opportunities waiting for girls and young women in the tech sector. Since 2011, more than 362,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 11,000 celebrations in 171 countries worldwide.
This year is no different. Because we cannot celebrate Girls in ICT Day 2020 in person, virtual celebrations are taking place all over the world to encourage and empower girls and young women in tech.
People around the world are getting creative on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, with engaging messaging, images, videos and more. They are connecting on Zoom, Skype, Jabber, Facetime, Houseparty and other collaboration platforms to connect remotely to discuss effective strategies to bridge the digital gender divide and get more girls into tech.
The 24-hour World Tour of Girls in ICT Day Celebrations highlight some of these events from Spain to Mali, Belarus, Jamaica, Mexico, and beyond!
EQUALS will host a Twitter chat focusing on ‘Digital Superheroes’ who serve as role models and build programs to help girls follow their tech dreams. Watch live on the @EQUALS Twitter feed from 15:30 – 16:30 CEST on 23 April 2020, and participate using the hashtags #GenderTechImpact and #GirlsinICT.
In the meantime, let’s work to Make Every Day a Girls in ICT Day!
(It is important to note that while technology and specifically the Internet can provide many benefits and endless supply of knowledge and information, it may pose many risks and harm, especially where children are concerned. That is why ITU and COP partners have created Guidelines for Child Online Protection (COP), for a safer and more secure cyber world.)