THE Girls in ICT (information and communication technology) initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a global effort to raise awareness on empowering and encouraging girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICTs.
The initiative is committed to celebrate and commemorate the International Girls in ICT Day on the fourth Thursday of every April as established by the ITU membership.
This is a very important event where girls and women from different walks of life meet and discuss issues surrounding their role and participation in the ICT sector. On International Girls in ICT Day, all stakeholders are encouraged to organise events with the vision to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs.
The ITU secretary general invites ITU member states and sector members to organise events attracting as many girls and young women as possible.
In line with this, the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), working with several stakeholders such as the Ministry of Transport, Works,Â Supply and Communications, Ministry of Gender, UNICEF and Asikana Network, last week held this annual event at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka. This yearâ€™s Event which was celebrated under the theme Girls and Women and Innovation, attracted over 200 girls and young women.
It was an opportunity for girls and young women to get inspired about the ICT sector by getting a first-hand look into the ICT institutions and listening to women role models, some who are working in the ICT industry, teaching ICTs or using ICTs to grow their businesses.
Speaking when he officiated at the Girls in ICT Day commemoration last week, Minister of Transport, Works Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga pledged Governmentâ€™s commitment to support the rights of Girls and young women at all levels, specifically, in the area of ICTs.
He urged the girls to utilise ICTs productively and that they should not feel intimidated by technology but rather view it as a platform for growth and development.
Speaking at the same event, Women and Girls activist Gladys Mutukwa urged the girls to use ICTs as an opportunity to develop themselves and as a catalyst to champion their causes.
A programme such as this is designed to encourage girls and young women to prepare themselves for a career in ICT and inform parents, teachers and other stakeholders on why preparing for a career in ICTs is good for women and girls, good for business and good for societies.
In a study done by the ITU titled A Bright Future in ICTs: Opportunities for a new generation of women, which surveys the global trends in womenâ€™s professional development and employment in the ICT sector, aÂ number of challenges are highlighted with regards the low performance of women in issues regarding ICT.
The study highlights expected ICT job opportunities, explores why we need to engage more women and offers a sample of the range of national policies, training programs and initiatives targeting girls and women as potential students and professionals.
On the local scene, according to Ngabo Nankonde, 2013, girls have equal access to ICTs as boys in the formal set-up such as schools.
However, progressive utilisation of these tools on the part of the girls is limited.
This study challenges the girls in Zambia to grab the opportunity whenever it is availed to them, to use ICTs to advance themselves. It also urges innovators to come up with games and applications which are also appealing to girls.
Other presenters at the Girls in ICT Day event included Sally Silungwe – a representative of Kupikilila Club, an online interactive group for exchanging recipes and platform for online shopping.
A lecturer at ZCAS, Sarah Mbewe motivated the girls with her life story urging them to always strive to become independent while one of the students from the University of Zambia gave a presentation on an audio interactive system for the deaf which she is working on.
For further information the applicants can access our ZICTA site or (onlinesystems.zicta.zm)
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