It is a historic occasion here at ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18) in Dubai. For the first time in ITU’s 153-year history, there are more female Committee Chairs than male.
Sameera Bilal of Kuwait and Nur Sulyna Abdullah of Malaysia are two of the women leading discussions in the decision-making Committees at PP-18. They stopped by ITU’s TV Studio to discuss their roles and ways to empower more women to take up leadership roles in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).
“ITU has been championing women and Girls in ICT, and I think this is the perfect example of showing everyone that it can be done.” –Nur Sulyna Abdullah
“I am very proud to be a Chair in the highest policy body of the ITU. I would like to thank the Arab region that they elected me to represent them as a Chair for this committee,” said Sameera Bilal, Director of the Technical Office of the Chairman & CEO of Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA). “Also, I want to thank the Secretary-General and his delegation that they accepted my name as Chair for Committee 2 and I hope I [will] be helpful and powerful.”
“I’ve been in this for almost 20 years… And for me you might say it might be the highlight of my career. I’m from a developing country and for that reason alone I think it means a lot on all counts,” explained Nur Sulyna Abdullah, Chief Officer of Corporate Strategy at the Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission.
In technical fields, including the ICT sector, women have been historically underrepresented in leadership positions. But, according to Abdullah, this event could mark a “tipping point” for women in the sector.
“I think it all bodes very well for the future and it certainly shows and it displays what the ITU has been working towards. ITU has been championing women and Girls in ICT and I think this is the perfect example of showing everyone that it can be done… but certainly I think this is the tipping point. And from here onwards I do expect that there will be more women,” believes Abdullah.
The participants discussed their views on ways to encourage more women to take up careers in tech.
“We should instruct the Member States to let their ladies work… [and] participate fully in ICT fields,” believes Bilal.
“Well coincidentally, Resolution 70 [ITU’s resolution on gender] is being dealt with in my group and we have a very optimistic stand. We hope that it will actually be the first resolution to be dealt with in the WGPL [Working Group of the Plenary at PP-18], so I would like to thank you and thank the ITU for this opportunity,” said Abdullah.