Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) drive growth and innovation worldwide, infiltrating all aspects of our lives. These ongoing advances in ICTs effectively make digital literacy a prerequisite for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and are leading to a projected shortage of at least 2 million ICT employees worldwide by 2020. Studies show that not enough young people are choosing careers in ICT - especially not enough young women. Expanding the global technology talent pool to include more women with ICT skills can help fill this gap. This means investing in girls and young women today. The Girls in ICT Day , where we celebrate the women and girls building the future of technology.
In past years, there have been in-person events across the world, bringing people together to advance the participation of girls in technology. This year, of course, all activity is happening online. As the world shuts down and we stay home, the web is where dialogue, debate and decisions happen. This global health crisis has highlighted the importance of internet access as a critical lifeline — while shining a harsh light on the digital divides that separate those who have access and those who do not. One of the starkest divides is along gender, with men and boys 21% more likely to be online than women and girls, rising to 52% in the world’s least developed countries. Until we close the digital gender gap, girls will not have equal opportunities to use technology, become engineers and shape the industry. Through RCMRD's work in the projects which are looking at gender mainstreaming such as the SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa Project, the GMES and Africa Project and networks and the RCTI, incredible women’s digital skills initiatives we’ve seen the amazing opportunities that digital technologies offer girls who have access to these tools and the resources to develop their digital skills. And we’ve seen first-hand how girls around the RCMRD member States are putting their skills into action. The web can be a tremendous force for equality. But the persistent digital gender gap means too many women and girls around the world don’t have the opportunities to use the web to learn, earn and have their voices heard. We must fight for a web that is truly for everyone. This Girls in ICT Day, on April 22 and throughout this year let us join us to build a better online world for girls and women — and in turn, a better online world for everyone — by promoting the Girls in ICT.