ITU’s annual global Girls in ICT Day celebration will be held next year in the Independent State of Samoa. The advocacy event, which raises visibility of the importance of attracting women and girls to information and communication (ICT) studies and careers, is held around the world each year on the fourth Thursday in April.
ICTs are a key driver of gender equality and women’s empowerment. With improved access to these transformative technologies, women and girls can benefit from increased employment and business opportunities. In coming years there will be tens of millions of jobs for people with advanced digital skills, and nearly all jobs will have a digital component.
A global effort to help bridge the digital gender divide by encouraging young women and girls to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Girls in ICT Day has enjoyed significant success as a global movement. Over the past decade, more than 377,000 girls and young women have taken part in over 11,400 celebrations in 171 countries.
The 2020 event, which will be held on 23 April in the Samoan capital of Apia, will be the first time ITU’s own Girls in ICT Day celebration has been held in the southern hemisphere.
With the theme Expand horizons, change attitudes, the event is expected to welcome some 1,000 local school-age girls from Samoa and abroad for a day of fun, interactive tech workshops, talks by industry experts, and high-level discussions around ways to boost regional capacity building for digital skills development. The global event in Apia will also feature winners from national competitions across the region.
“Girls in ICT Day is a call to action to inspire the next generation of girls and young women to learn more about the amazing opportunities and careers offered by ICTs,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “By bringing next year’s global celebration to Samoa, ITU shows our commitment to pressing for progress for gender equality everywhere, including in Small Island Developing States and Landlocked Developing Countries.”
ITU and the Office of the Regulator in Samoa are already in the preparation phase for the 2020 celebration, with plans to hold a two-day pre-event capacity-building workshop for participants from Samoa and across the Pacific region.