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International Girls in ICT Day

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

22.04.2021.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the International Girls in ICT Day. This day, marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April, was initiated by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to highlight the need to promote tech career opportunities for girls and women in this fastest-growing employment sector.

Why do we still need Girls in ICT Day?

The tech industry has long been a male-dominated world and the under-representation of women in the ICT sector is too pronounced, especially in management positions. This is slowly changing, but we are still far from full equality.

According to WomenTech Network, some of the statistical data regarding this issue currently looks like this:

– Only 17% of ICT specialists are women.
– Only 34% of STEM graduates are women.
– Women in the ICT sector earn 19% less than men for the same job. Therefore, women stop being paid for their work around the 22nd of October and work for free until the end of the year. This is just to put into perspective what the percentage mentioned above actually means.
– 46% of women have reported that they have experienced gender-related discrimination in the European tech sector.
– Just 22% of participants in tech-related Meetup events throughout the EU were women.
– 93% of the capital invested in tech companies went to all-male founding teams.

Of course, there more detailed research about this issue has been done. However, even taking a look at these few numbers above, we need to agree that, as a society, we can and must do better!

Therefore, these numbers above are not here to depress or discourage. Quite the opposite, they are just here to drive positive change.

Contrary to popular belief, being vocal about this topic does not contribute to even greater differences, which many of you might think. If we are going to fix this issue and move forward as a society, this particular topic needs to be discussed by both men and women.

Women working in tech and technology companies employing them need to be encouraged if we are to achieve these mutual goals and break down ingrained stereotypes by showing that the tech sector is reserved for both men and women.

It is up to us to give new generations the courage and space to grow to their full potential.

Women who are already working in the technology sector can be an inspiration to young girls. Additionally, we should strive to highlight such positive examples in our community to make girls aware that this area of expertise is not reserved only for the male population.

Google has researched the reasons why girls decide to enroll in tech-related studies. Their study has shown that these factors have the greatest influence on their choice of future occupation: environmental support, self-perception, academic education, and perception of the societal climate in their chosen area of expertise.

What does the International Girls in ICT Day represent?

The idea behind the creation of the International Girls in ICT Day was to draw attention to the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector. With technology playing a role in all kinds of careers, from art and history to law, primary teaching, and graphic design, learning tech skills at a young age will certainly set girls up for greater economic independence. Additionally, the ICT sector desperately needs more girls and women.

Various events are organized around the world on this day. They are all aimed at guiding and encouraging girls and women for occupations in this fast-growing industry. The jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation. It is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist once they reach maturity.

Girls want to learn – they are stepping up to the plate to learn tech skills and empowering others like them to join.

We as a society can work to influence other factors. Support girls and women, provide them with a stimulating environment that will build their self-confidence and interest in this field of expertise, and offer them female role models that have already walked the path they are about to take.

Any type of media also plays a large role in shaping this change of mindset for society as a whole: because of the wrong images that are served to us about tech occupations, young girls gain the wrong perception about them and immediately reject a career in the technology sector. Although, we did notice that lately more and more attention is being paid to this issue and girls are being directed towards tech-related occupations.

While the media is a powerful tool that can drive change on a larger scale, we must not forget that we as individuals have that same power. Everyone who is involved in the lives of girls should present them with more examples of women in technology and bring their attention to the diversity of tech-related occupations. We should bring their attention to the creativity needed to work in the tech field, as well as the possibility of helping others through technological solutions with examples of how technology can change people’s lives for the better.

Inspire one girl and you have changed the world – her world!

WomenInTech Split

When we help each other, amazing things can happen! That is what the WomenInTech meetup is all about. Because the community recognized the unique challenges girls and women face in this field, the WomenInTech meetup was created. No matter where you are in your professional development, or what tech-related field you are in, Split’s first event for women and girls in the tech industry offers a broad range of support, programs, and resources to advance women in technology from the classroom to working in the chosen field.

This meetup is one of the many projects of Split Tech City and its goals are to direct young girls towards highly sought-after tech occupations, as well as connecting women who are already working in the tech industry. The project’s realization will be achieved through meetups, workshops, and lectures, as well as visits to primary and secondary schools.

Because career and study decisions are made early in life, to increase the number of women in technology, action is required already during schooling. Therefore, it is important to offer young girls role models in the form of women who are already working in this field. They can offer them valuable information by sharing their personal experiences, as well as inspire them to choose this path.

While not closed for male attendees, the WomenInTech meetup is based on the assumption that young girls and women would rather choose to attend an event if they were surrounded by other girls and women. As well as the regular meetup, this project will also provide young girls with the opportunity to visit companies that are members of Split Tech City to see firsthand what a working day of a woman in technology looks like.

Girls and women are working on their future. Are we?

It might take them a while, but we assure you – they will get there. Women in tech will get to the point when this topic will not have to be mentioned again because equality will be reached. Until then, we will hear about women and girls in tech because they have a lot to say to this community and each other. It is up to us to give them a helping hand, a platform to be heard, or any other type of support. However, even if, for whatever reason, we do not do that, it certainly will not stop them.

Happy International Girls in ICT Day!

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I'm a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I'm not writing about Split's tech community, you will find me somewhere in nature, in the theatre, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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