International ‘Girls in ICT Day’ celebrated around the globe

Annual day promotes technology career opportunities for young women
in the world’s fastest-growing sector

Geneva, 28 April 2016 – Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate International ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an awareness-raising initiative designed to promote tech studies and careers to a new generation of girls and young women.

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.

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, and ITU is expecting these numbers to increase in the 2016 celebration. ITU congratulates the hundreds of organizers and thousands of girls and young women who are now part of this global movement, including ITU Member States and private sector members, ITU academia members, and other schools, universities and NGOs around the world. 

Hundreds of events are taking place today around the world, organized by ITU Member States, ITU Sector Members including Cisco, Ericsson, GSMA, Microsoft and Oracle, universities such as the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), Higher Colleges of Technologies (UAE), the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina) and the Universidad Tecnológica de Chile, and local NGOs from every region.

The event continues to gain momentum on social channels, with Facebook posts and tweets using #girlsinICT proving an increasingly popular way of highlighting the many exciting events being held in 2016.

ITU is gathering and posting information about events around the world on its Girls in ICT Portal – organizers are encouraged to send information, photos and videos to girlsinict@itu.int.

As always, ITU Regional Offices around the world also actively promoted Girls in ICT Day 2016, organizing events, partnering with other UN agencies, supporting organizers in their respective regions and hosting competitions. 

ITU’s Geneva headquarters Girls in ICT Day 2016 celebrations began earlier this month with a series of tech workshops for girls aged 14-17 involving five schools in the Geneva area – the British School of Geneva; the Collège-Lycée International, Ferney-Voltaire; the Institut Florimont; and the International School of Geneva (La Châtaigneraie and Nations campuses), complemented by a free half-day Raspberry Pi coding class open to all Geneva-area girls held at the University of Geneva’s Uni Mail campus. Partner organizations included TechSpark Academy (Scratch coding), FutureKids and Expanding Your Horizons (Raspberry Pi), UNITAR/UNOSAT (3D satellite mapping), Seedspace, and Proctor & Gamble. The 2016 event was generously sponsored by the Novartis Foundation, with support from the US Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Watch a video of the workshops in schools around Geneva.

Celebrations culminated at a fun event at ITU headquarters today bringing together workshop participants, teachers and high-level representatives from the Geneva diplomatic community for a morning comprising an online tech quiz, speed mentoring sessions, and school showcases demonstrating what students had learned and achieved during their workshop sessions. Keynote speakers included ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson, US Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto, Head of the Novartis Foundation, Dr Ann Aerts, and Daniel Auger, head of Computer Science at the International School of Geneva.

View the archived webcast of the event.

“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. “ICT professionals work on some of the most exciting projects imaginable. With the global technology sector continuing to expand rapidly, there is a predicted global shortfall of two million technology sector jobs that need qualified people to fill them. That means girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good salaries and enjoy plenty of career opportunities.”

“Girls in ICT Day is inspiring ITU members from both government and the private sector to find ways to equip girls and young women with the skills they need to become ICT professionals,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which leads the global Girls in ICT Day campaign. “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.”

Contact the team at girlsinict@itu.int to tell us about your exciting Girls in ICT Day celebrations so we can share you event, pictures and videos on the ITU Girls in ICT Portal.

Follow the discussion around the event on Twitter #GirlsinICT and Facebook at the ITU Girls in ICT Day 2016 event page.

View Girls in ICT Day video messages from ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, and watch video interviews with Girls in ICT role models (all UN languages).

About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 700 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int