As the world celebrates the International Girls In ICT Day amidst the COVID-19 global health emergency, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has noted that the campaign is more important now than ever.
The ITU maintains that at a time when schools, offices, and places of social activity are closed around the world, technology is helping people communicate, work, and learn.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights exactly why girls and women need to be empowered to use technology. There is a substantial divide between women and men and between girls and boys in Internet access and use today. In 2019, the proportion of women using the Internet globally is 48 percent, compared to 58 percent of men.
The ITU notes that: “When women and girls have access to the Internet, they have the opportunity to start new businesses, sell products to new markets, find better-paid jobs and access education as well as health and financial services. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this takes on new importance: If women do not have access to the Internet, they are unable to access vital health information, along with education and employment. That is why we believe that every day is Girls in ICT Day.”
International Girls in ICT Day is an ITU initiative and global movement to promote exciting career opportunities waiting for girls and young women in the tech sector. Since 2011, more than 362,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 11,000 celebrations in 171 countries worldwide.
Celebrated every fourth Thursday in the month of April, this year is no different despite the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Because we cannot celebrate Girls in ICT Day 2020 in person, virtual celebrations are taking place all over the world to encourage and empower girls and young women in tech.
People around the world are getting creative on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, with engaging messaging, images, videos, and more. They are connecting on Zoom, Skype, Jabber, Facetime, Houseparty and other collaboration platforms to connect remotely to discuss effective strategies to bridge the digital gender divide and get more girls into tech,” the ITU disclosed.
The International Girls in ICT Day is a continuous campaign to empower girls. eBusiness Life Communication Limited, publishers of eBusiness Life magazine. online/offline, an organizer of the campaign in Nigeria had earlier postponed the event that brings together young schoolgirls and stakeholders in the ICT industry. The event will now hold on a later date.
In its message, the ITU, however, warned: “It is important to note that while technology and specifically the Internet can provide many benefits and an endless supply of knowledge and information, it may pose many risks and harm, especially where children are concerned. That is why ITU and COP partners have created Guidelines for Child Online Protection (COP), for a safer and more secure cyber world.”