28 April 2016 On Girls in ICT Day– marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April – the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in the world’s fastest growing sector.
ITU estimates a skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector within the next five years. Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will not only be well-placed for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue.
“Girls in ICT Day reminds us that ICTs help to improve the lives of people everywhere – through better health care, better environmental management, better communications, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, in a press release.
“ICT professionals work on some of the most exciting projects imaginable. […] Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good salaries and enjoy plenty of career opportunities,” he added.
According to the agency, the Day serves to inspire both government and the private sector to find ways to equip girls and young women with the skills they need to become ICT professionals.
“Empowering girls to choose a career in ICTs is not just good for girls and their families, it can be a major accelerator of socio-economic development at the national level,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which leads the global Girls in ICT Day campaign.
By 2015, annual Girls in ICT Day events had reached an estimated 177,000 girls around the world through over 5,300 events in more than 150 countries; ITU is expecting these numbers to increase in the 2016 celebration, with events organized by ITU Member States, ITU Sector Members including Cisco, Ericsson, GSMA, Microsoft and Oracle, as well as universities worldwide.
The agency is also highlighting the stories of women role models, such as Chali Tumelo, ITU Representative for Southern Africa, who says she is inspired by the challenges of the evolving industry.
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