Empowering Girls In Technology
This coming Thursday 27th April as we celebrate the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) ‘Girls in ICT Day‘, girls and young women across three Caribbean islands are being encouraged to be ‘bold for change’, which was the theme for International Women’s Day.
This ‘Day’ is really a move to empower girls from innovation to impact and as such, a few hundred girls will participate in a regional one-day “Hackathon” held simultaneously in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
This initiative is supported regionally by Platinum Sponsor, Scotiabank. In Barbados we are ably supported by Gold Sponsor Sagicor Life Inc. in partnership with the University of the West Indies.
Tropical Computers has also eagerly come on board and will provide, on loan, 10 laptops for the hackathon as has Barbados Coalition of Service Industries who has been a great resource and will provide catering services for participants on that day.
Girls In ICT Day which is endorsed by the Telecommunications Unit of the Division of Energy, offers girls a chance to use, and more importantly experience ICT in a fun, accessible and educational way. Participation in the event is hoped to encourage more girls and women to pursue studies and careers in ICT.
At this inaugural event participants will represent secondary schools, colleges and universities. Young women from various educational institutions across Barbados will be engaged in several technology activities, namely: mobile app building, animation, digital video production and digital art works, and web development. The event features a combination of over 25 local and international speakers and over 200 live participants and guests.
Divided into 25 teams of four to five students across the three islands, the young women will also benefit from the technical guidance and support of local and international mentors who will guide them through the challenges, problem solving, and encourage them to not only be users of technology but creators! Mentors will also be streamed throughout the day giving inspirational messages of support, which will be seen by the participants and viewers who log on to the ITU portal URL: http://www.itu.int/girlsinict
Since the start of the initiative, the ITU Girls in ICT Twitter account has surpassed the half a billion mark with persons engaged by using the hashtag of #GirlsinICT. Over the last six years, over 240,000 girls and young women have taken part across 160 countries, significantly succeeding in bridging the gap of gender representation in the ICT field.