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International Girls in I.C.T. Day goes online

The marking of the 2020 International Girls in ICT Day on April 23 has been moved online by the organisers to become a virtual dialogue, due to restrictions brought on by the state of emergency.

The Safer Internet Centre Fiji Coordinator, Elvin Prasad, told Samoa Observer in an email that the global event with 171 participating nations has not been cancelled or postponed but rather moved to an online platform.

"The ‘International Girls in ICT Day’ aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICT, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector," he said.

Mr Prasad highlighted that the event provides numerous benefits, whereby ICT companies are looking to attract and promote women, because achieving greater workforce diversity is good for business and that supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The annual event was first held in April 2011 and was called the International Girls in ICT Day, it was held every year on the fourth Thursday in April. Girls around the world gathered on April 28, 2011 to celebrate the first annual International Girls in ICT Day.

Since then over 377,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 11,400 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day. Government ministries, national ICT regulatory authorities, ICT companies, academic institutions, UN agencies, and NGOs around the world are all encouraged to join the global effort and celebrate International Girls in ICT Day. 

According to Mr Prasad, women play a key role in reducing poverty and promoting social and economic development for themselves, their families and their countries. 

"ICT is an essential tool for the social and economic development of women and girls: technology can be used to provide education as well as jobs, literacy and life skills training. The International Telecommunication Union promotes the use of ICT to accelerate progress towards gender equality and women's empowerment," he added.

Activities included in the event are  Community forums, workshops, ICT training and literacy programmes, girls ICT fair, ICT in innovation and entrepreneur skills training, and a number of other initiatives; some of which are a week-long event.   

Mr Prasad also said that the number of girls participating in the event has increased since they had the first ICT Day. 

"In 2019, Girls in ICT Day events reached an estimated 20,000 girls. This impressive number testifies to the enormous momentum this event continues to generate, and to the growing recognition of its importance by countries worldwide," he added.

The celebration of the day in Samoa is normally led by the Office of the Regulator. To mark the event this year the Office organised a poster competition targeting female students in Years 12 and 13 with the winners announced on April 23. 

Questions seeking comment from the Office of the Regulator were sent but no response was response at the time of going to press.

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