According to data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there is a 17% gender gap in internet use globally, which is even wider in less developed countries.
In some regions, this gender gap is growing, reinforcing gender inequalities by denying women and girls the opportunity to access education, find better-paying jobs and start new businesses.
“Making these technologies available to all is an essential part of rebuilding stronger communities and economies and addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Secretary General António Guterres in his commemoration statement for the day.
Noting that Girls in ICT Day aims to inspire a global movement that increases the representation of girls and women in technology, she urged everyone to “commit again to the goal of equal access for young women and girls to opportunities in science, of technology, engineering and mathematics “.
Let’s celebrate a decade
While girls around the world tend to outperform boys in reading and writing skills, they continue to be underrepresented among the top performers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
To mark the day’s 10th anniversary, ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao lent her support to the 10 Moments of Girls in ICT initiative, a year-long commitment to the next generation of young women in technology.
As an international gender champion, he pledged to help countries raise awareness and promote the active participation of girls and young women in ICT-related careers.
“It will be critical to meeting the demand for future jobs on an equal basis,” he said.
The ITU chief also pledged to strengthen the capacities of nations to collect and disseminate gender and age-disaggregated data on access and use of ICT and data skills, calling it “an important step towards information, monitoring and monitoring our global progress towards gender equality “.
With increased support for vocational education and training, the ITU hopes to encourage more girls and young women to actively pursue careers in STEM to bridge the digital gender gap.
Shaping the future
Meanwhile, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that every girl has the right to be connected and to play her part in “shaping a more equitable, green and technology-driven future.”
“This is the world we are building together through the equality of generations and, in particular, through our collective work on the project for technology and innovation, which proposes objectives to achieve a more equitable and diversified digital transformation”, he stated in a note.
For every girl, the goal must be meaningful connectivity, including reliable, fast and regularly available broadband, along with access to digital technologies and universal digital literacy, according to Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“Today, and every day, we recognize that digital power must be in the hands of girls,” she explained. “We have a unique window and momentum now to secure bold commitments that will ensure girls are connected and empowered to create the brighter future the world needs.”
Careers are genderless
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has said that girls’ education is “one of the most powerful investments we can make for our collective future”.
The UN agency also stressed the importance of mobile applications, female leadership and female entrepreneurship for sustainable development, tweeting: “Careers. To have. No. Gender “.