UN recognizes women’s leadership in information and communication technologies

9 May 2012 – A Head of State, the chief of a telecommunications company in China, and a Hollywood actress will receive a United Nations award recognizing their leadership and dedication to promote information and communications technologies (ICTs) as a means to empower women and girls.

The President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner; the Chairperson of the Chinese company Huawei, Sun Yafang, and United States Oscar-winning actress and rights advocate Geena Davis, will be awarded the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award for their significant contribution to the ongoing digital revolution in ICTs, the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced today.

The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which falls on 17 May, is “Women and Girls in ICT.”

In a news release, ITU’s Secretary-General, Hamadoun Touré, lauded the work of the three award-winners in promoting both the involvement of women in the ICT field, and in demonstrating the role ICTs can play in creating opportunities for them.

“The ability of technology to empower women and girls in communities around the world is still largely untapped,” Mr. Touré said. “We are determined to work with partners across all sectors of society to promote the full potential of ICTs for the benefit of women and girls.”

Throughout her presidency, Ms. Fernández has sought to advance telecommunication development in her country and has also been a strong defender of human rights and gender equity, the ITU said, adding that by supporting a national telecommunication plan, Ms. Fernández “has taken far-reaching steps to connect the people of Argentina to ICTs.”

Since becoming Huawei’s Chairperson, Ms. Sun has turned the Chinese telecommunications company into a global enterprise that provides innovative technologies, ITU said. She is also actively involved in several corporate responsibility programmes and as a member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Ms. Davis is the founder of the non-governmental organization Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which works within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate and influence the need for gender balance, reduce stereotypes and create a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children less than 11 years of age. Ms. Davis is also ITU’s special envoy for women and girls in the field of ICT.

The awards ceremony will take place in Geneva on 16 May, and will be followed by a high-level panel discussion with the award-winners and other distinguished speakers.


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