ITU International Telecommunications Union [to 25 April 2015]
Tech community gears up to celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’ around the globe, 23 April 2015
Annual day aims to attract women to field where strong demand is creating global skills shortfall
Geneva, 22 April 2015 – Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an awareness-raising initiative designed to promote tech careers and studies to a new generation of girls and young women.
Launched by ITU in 2010, the day is part of an international drive to encourage more female students to study STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and consider a career in information and communication technology (ICT).
It aims to counter the chronic global decline in the number of female ICT students, which is in turn contributing to a predicted global shortfall of at least two million ICT jobs which will not be able to be filled through lack of qualified staff.
In OECD countries, female students now account for fewer than 20% of tertiary ICT enrolments, down from nearly 40% back in the 1980s, when computer science courses first appeared on university curricula. Only around 3% of total female graduates study ICT fields, compared with around 10% of male graduates.
This academic gender gap is reflected in the number of female ICT professionals, now estimated at just 20% across the OECD. In Europe, only 9% of app developers are female, only 19% of European ICT managers are women (compared with 45% women managers in other service sectors), and only 19% of ICT entrepreneurs are women (compared with 54% women in other service sectors), according to figures released by the European Commission.
With strong backing from the tech sector and national governments, ‘Girls in ICT Day’ has rapidly grown into a global movement, with an estimated 3,500 events organized in over 140 countries, reaching 111,000 girls, since the event became a fixture on the UN calendar five years ago…