This article is dedicated to all girls around the world. We, at ITConnect, celebrate the potential of every young woman to be a source of energy, power and creativity, to create a better world and a brighter future for all.
“Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”
-United Nations Resolution 66/170
According to UN Women,there are over 1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.
Video: Empowering girls—before, during, and after crises – UN Women
International Day of the Girl
October 11, as declared by the United Nations in 2011, has been marked as the International Day of the Girl (IDG). The 2012 edition marked the beginning of year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
“…understanding of the value of our girls, a girl has the same value as a boy. And this means a huge change in the way families and communities look at girls.” – Graça Machel
Empowering Girls with Technology – Tech Needs Girls
“The world’s over 1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity.”
At the 2014 Social Good Summit, policymakers, activists and tech leaders said, “Social media and other digital tools are transforming the roles of women and girls across the world.”
United Nations Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin said, “Information is power, and technology is the way to empower women.”
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) [through access to computers, mobile phones, and the Internet] are greatly revolutionizing and improving the lives of girls.
However, in many countries, girls are still moving slowly behind boys in the application of technology. Gender discrimination, lack of confidence, language difficulties, low literacy and lack of time and money are barriers that continue to prevent young women from taking full advantage of technology.
To help girls overcome these barriers and inspire girls to explore the possibilities of technology, the corporate sector and government should provide ICT programmes to support girls and employ young women for technology-based jobs, so they can use its influence to encourage others.
ICT Education for Girls
To help girls reach their potential and goal in Information Technology, there is a need for directly supporting programmes set to improve digital competence skills and digital education among girls. “If a girl cannot read or write, she will be held back from using new technologies to their fullest.” There are needs for improved access to and control of technology for women and girls, especially in remote and marginalized areas.
The ICT education should move beyond basic literacy programmes to include programmes like computer engineering, networking and programming. Girls too can code and even do more than code! Also, to improve learning outcomes and teach the 21st century skills (such as the use of technology, self-motivation, problem-solving and teamwork), formal education and programmes that provide supports for educators to integrate ICTs into interactive teaching approaches should be put in place.
Companies and corporate bodies can partner with government and non-government organizations to improve access to technology and access to digital tools in a way that will ensure that girls participate fully.
Job Expansion for Girls
The use of recruitment drive can help empower more women. When government and companies employ young women for technology-based jobs, the influence can be encourage others to take part. Jobs should be expanded for girls outside the traditional employee pool and we should build training programmes that meet the needs of disadvantaged young women. In addition, we need to key gender equality issues like violence, health, and economic and political empowerment to creative technology-based solutions.
Motivation and Mentoring
Individuals and businesses can also help empower young women by providing ongoing motivational programmes and mentorship that encourage girls to enter ICT field, traditionally considered a male field.
Creating an Enabling Environment for Women’s ICT Entrepreneurship
A sustainable enterprise cannot exist in a vacuum, an enabling environment that promote ICT entrepreneurship, especially for young women is highly needed. In an extensive survey of over 1,200 women entrepreneurs from 6 countries conducted by UNIDO, access to finance, new markets and an enabling environment are revealed as main priorities by women entrepreneurs.
The needs and the challenges young women face are great. The International Day for the Girl (IDG) aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. As the United Nations works tirelessly to ensure that these objectives are achieved, ongoing efforts from all sides can help to bring more attention to critical areas that need improvement, so that girls can be inspired to explore the possibilities and opportunities of technology, especially ICTs, and use these tools with their power of creativity to move towards reaching their full potential and create a better world and a brighter future for all.
Written by Simeon Adedokun & Dorcas Adedokun