25th April 2019 was set aside to promote and support girls in Information and Computer Technology (ICT). More than 170 countries worldwide are celebrating the day dedicated to promoting tech studies for girls.
Digital skills are advantageous in the current competitive job market. This essentially makes it important to represent girls properly. The importance of empowering young girls and women to build careers, especially in ICT, cannot be overemphasised.
Observed by the United Nations (UN), the international day helps bridge the gender divide in the technology space. The UN says this is so important because technology is a key driver of development.
On this day every year, hundreds of events are planned all around the world to inspire a new generation of girls to explore career opportunities in ICT.
Girls in tech
In the next 10 years, analysts estimate that there will be more than two million vacant technology jobs. This will be so because there will be a gap in the availability of specialists. It means that more young women and girls in ICT will be poised for a very successful career in the sector.
The technology space is the future. To bridge the foreseeable gap, we need to encourage girls to be a part of it. Developing ICT skills will give girls an edge in a competitive market and provide a better career prospect with very good pay.
There are a few events going on around the world today to celebrate the day. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) celebrates the day at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The focus of the union is to leverage ICT to drive economic growth and development in the continent. It will also help to drive the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The African region reportedly has the widest gender gap in ICT. Only an estimated 18.6% of women have access to the internet, compared to 24.9% of their male counterparts.
The events happening today
The Girls in ICT day is celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday in April. Established in 2010, there are various events everywhere in the world to mark the day. The African Union Commission hosts about 260 school-age girls from Addis Ababa today.
They have speakers like Mr Sisay Tola, the State Minister for Innovation and Technology, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor, the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology.
13 Regional and Area ITU offices around the world will also organise events in partnership with the UN. A coding boot camp of African Girls Can Code Initiative will also hold this week in South Africa.
In Nigeria, Technology Distributions LTD, a leading trade distribution company in Africa also hosted about 200 schoolgirls in commemoration of the day. The event took place at the Zone Tech Park in Gbagada and had the theme, “This is Me: The Tech Talk.” The event inspires young girls from all over Lagos to take on a career path in ICT.
A Nigerian foundation, TRYinitiative, partnered with The Justice Development and Peace Centre, JDPC and Holy Family Catholic Church, FESTAC Town. They put an event together in Lagos. The event, open to girls within the ages of 13-16 in Lagos, will encourage them to be ICT creators and not just users. The event will take place on 1st May 2019 to celebrate the Girls in ICT day.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) a Saudi Arabia tech company also put together various panel sessions today in commemoration of the day. The event will feature female AI Expert, Dr Deemah Al Athel, Cybersecurity Expert from Microsoft, Albatoukl Kutbi among other IT experts.
In Ireland to mark the Girls in ICT day, Microsoft welcomed over 80 girls to its campus for a special event. The DreamSpace event inspires them about the opportunities available to them through Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). They will also get to meet with other young successful women who are doing great things in the tech space.
These are only a few of the Girls in ICT events happening today. Plat4om is always at the fore of championing girl causes, and we all say happy Girls in ICT day.