Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for International Girls in ICT Day 2021, observed on 22 April:
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. They help us to stay connected and to keep vital services and businesses going.
Yet almost half the world is still offline – and most of those who lack access to digital technology are women and girls in developing countries. Latest figures from the International Telecommunication Union show a 17 per cent gender gap in Internet use globally. This is even wider in least developed countries. In some regions, this gender gap is growing, reinforcing gender inequalities by denying women and girls opportunities to access education, find better-paid jobs, and start new businesses.
Making these technologies available to all is an essential part of building back stronger communities and economies and addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges.
International Girls in ICT Day aims to inspire a global movement to increase the representation of girls and women in technology. Today, let’s recommit to the goal of equal access for young women and girls to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.