ITU names Geena Davis ‘Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT’
Academy Award Winning Actor and advocate will highlight the role technology can play in female empowerment
Geneva, 12 June 2012 – Academy Award Winning Actor and advocate Geena Davis is to become ITU’s Special Envoy for Women and Girls in the field of technology, in the first major announcement linked to a new ITU campaign highlighting the empowering role technology can play in the lives of women and girls.
The new partnership follows the naming of Ms Davis as a laureate at this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Awards, which were held at ITU headquarters in Geneva on May 16.
One of Ms Davis’s first activities in her new role as special envoy will be to promote ITU’s new ‘Tech Needs Girls’ campaign throughout the course of 2012, through public appearances at high-profile events held by ITU and others. Ms Davis will speak on the importance of further extending access to technology to women worldwide, will reinforce the importance of positive gender role models, and will highlight the many exciting career opportunities available to young women in the high-tech sector.
“I’m thrilled with this new position because ITU is an incredible organization that wields a lot of clout globally,” said Ms Davis. “This role will enable me to take the work I’m doing to a much bigger scale globally, through developing and consulting on strategies to advance gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women in ICTs. It’s incredibly important to get more women and girls connected to technology, and a big factor in making this happen is going to be ITU’s work.”
The three-year campaign will raise awareness worldwide of the role information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play in empowering women. Via high-profile ambassadors like Ms Davis and an extensive programme of online multimedia content, major advocacy events around the globe and key partnerships with industry, government, civil society and other UN agencies, the campaign highlights the potential of technology to transform women’s lives, whether it be through ICT-based career choices or by improved access to services like e-health, e-education, e-commerce, e-banking and a host of new applications and devices that can help girls and women address their day-to-day challenges.
“I am delighted that Ms Davis will be joining us in our campaign to help expand the opportunities open to women and girls, and redress the current gender imbalance in the ICT industry,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “The support of committed, high-profile ambassadors like Ms Davis will greatly increase the impact and reach of our message about ICTs and gender empowerment.
Earlier this year, ITU launched a new multilingual web portal focused on helping girls and women access training, job opportunities and career information in the fast-growing information and communication (ICT) sector.
The Girls in ICT Portal houses over 400 programmes, including over 100 scholarship programmes and an equal number of contests and awards, some 60 training and internship opportunities, over 100 online networks offering career support and mentoring, as well as tech camps and other activities.
The portal also showcases photos, videos and best practice from ‘Girls in ICT Day’ events, which are held around the world on the fourth Thursday in April every year, following a decision taken at ITU’s 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2012, over 1,320 Girls in ICT Day events were held in nearly 90 countries around the world, providing an estimated 30,000 young women with a better understanding of ICT opportunities.
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For over 145 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.