The International Day of Girls in ICT marked in Azerbaijan
Baku-Shamakhi, 26 April 2019 – The United Nations estimates show that close to 4 billion people around the world have no access to internet, and most of them either come from low-income communities or don’t have access to quality education or otherwise are rural women and girls. Bridging this digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, as well as to foster innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and stronger partnerships. This was the main highlight of a series of awareness raising events organised in Baku and the Shamakhi region of Azerbaijan, in celebration of the International Day of Girls in ICT.
Marked every year on the fourth Thursday of April, the international Girls in ICT Day is an opportunity for governments, businesses, civil society and local schools to come together in a joint act of supporting more girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the field of information and communication technologies as well as to encourage employers to benefit from greater involvement of women workforce in the ICT industry at all levels of the profession.
Bringing together over 70 schoolgirls in Shamakhi aspiring a career of future IT gurus, the awareness raising event held at the Shamakhi City Art Education Centre taught the young hopefuls the importance of information technology, emphasising the crucial role of education in the tech industry and shared insights about a myriad of employment and private entrepreneurship opportunities in the fields of math, engineering, computing, sciences and telecommunications. It is estimated that within the next 10 years, there will be more than 2 million technology jobs around the world that cannot be filled because of the lack of qualified IT specialists with the technical know-how required for these roles. Tapping on this gap, the awareness raising campaign aimed to emphasise the importance of pursuing education and career in the ICT sector. To encourage girls in rural communities to shape their future in the tech industry, the young learners in Shamakhi were offered world-class programming courses for coding novices.
The information session in Shamakhi was followed by an interactive training session on innovative ideas about how young girls in remote communities can launch their startup projects. The young participants presented their business ideas to the pool of juries and experts. Some of the best and most innovative ideas received special endorsement and awards from the jury.
The awareness raising campaign was jointly organised by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, the Ministry of Education, the UN Development Program, the office of the Shamakhi Region Executive Authority, the Azerbaijani Women in ICT Club popularly known in Azerbaijan as Femmes Digitales, the STEP IT Academy and the Barama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre.
As part of the campaign, a training workshop was also organised for young girls in the capital Baku offering a number of plenary sessions covering a broad range of topics about global trends in the ICT sector, digital entrepreneurship and social networks, the robotics industry and what it has to offer to women jobseekers, challenges and opportunities of the tech industry and development perspectives in Azerbaijan. The workshop in Baku was made possible thanks to organisational support from the Azerbaijan Robotics Engineering Academy AREA and the chip.az LLC.
To date, over 11,100 events have taken place across 171 countries around the globe to promote gender equality in the tech industry and science, reaching an estimated 357,000 girls, worldwide, in commemoration of the International Girls in ICT Day.
Supporting greater participatory involvement of women and girls in the ICT sector is also in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 5, which aims at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls through information, communication and advanced technologies, among other things. More broadly, these efforts contribute to the implementation of Global Goal 4, which promotes inclusive and quality education, with emphasis placed on eliminating gender and wealth disparities. Eliminating the digital gender divide also corresponds to SDG 9, which promotes innovation, industry and infrastructure focusing on equal representation and contribution by all segments of society, Leaving No One Behind.
For media inquiries, please contact Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan – firstname.lastname@example.org