The ITU Girls in ICT initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in the Blue Pacific for the first time next year with Samoa stepping up to host and further strengthen its commitment to promoting tech studies to young women and girls.
The advocacy event, which raises visibility of the importance of attracting women and girls to information and communication (ICT) studies and careers, was established in 2010 by ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference and is held around the world each year on the fourth Thursday in April.
For a Pacific first, the 2020 event on the 23rd of April 2020 will be held in the Samoan capital of Apia.
It will be the first time ITU’s Girls in ICT Day celebration has been held in the southern hemisphere.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao says 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.
“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.”
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 push to bring the global event in Apia was catapulted by the high level delgation led by Samoa’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Honorable Afamasaga Lepuia’i Rico Tupa’i traveling with two CEOs.
“The Government and people of Samoa are excited about the opportunity to host the global ITU community, as well as the Blue Pacific family, on this special day for girls in ICT;
“Hosting an international event of this magnitude in Samoa, will provide the opportune platform to showcase the empowerment of women at all levels and help them participate and become leaders in all aspects of ICT, and ensure a solid foundation upon which an economy can flourish and prosper,” said Samoa’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology.
“There is a Samoan proverb, ‘E au le ina’ilaui a tamaita’i’ which translates as ‘women are more than capable of achieving the impossible’. This proverb speaks to the strong spirit of women to achieve greatness in all areas of development.”
In Samoa the celebrations are driven each year by the Office of the Regulator led by the first female Regulator in the Pacific region, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) says Girls in ICT Day has grown into one of ITU’s most successful global campaigns.
“I am delighted that next year we will have the chance to reach out to girls in the Pacific region to show them how a career in tech could change their lives,” said Ms Bogdan-Martin.
“Technology is one of the most powerful tools we have for empowering women and girls. An ICT career gives girls the chance to be at the heart of the world’s most exciting and fastest-growing industry. And the ICT industry needs women to play an equal role in the creation, design and implementation of the devices and platforms that are becoming indispensable to the way we live.”
Every year, Girls in ICT Day events are held by schools, youth groups, civic organizations and government agencies in all world regions. In recent times, Girls in ICT Day events have expanded from one-day events to ongoing global programmes designed to teach girls about ICTs throughout the year.
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