New York, US (PANA) - The UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched a new web portal focusing on helping girls and women to access job opportunities, training and career advice in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
The website, "http://girlsinict.org/", was designed to inspire and help young women between the ages of 11 and 25 to prepare for and pursue careers in technology, by providing them with useful resources such as links to scholarships, internships, ICT contests and awards, tech camps and online networks.
A UN statement made available to PANA in New York Tuesday said "the links will enable them to interact with other women working in an industry which is largely male-dominated.
"It is a little-known fact that women were the original programmers of ENIAC, the US Government’s first-ever computer. But while teenage girls now use computers and the Internet at rates similar to boys, they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career.''
The ITU said research consistently shows that girls tend to choose careers where they feel they can ‘make a difference’, namely healthcare, education, medicine.
"With this new portal, we are trying to show them that there is much more to ICTs than writing computer code,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said.
"As we move towards an ICT-based knowledge society, the rise of apps and the explosion in tele-medicine, remote learning systems and research and development make the ICT industry the most exciting choice any young person can make. I hope our new portal will serve as a showcase to attract the many talented girls and young women in countries worldwide to this booming sector,” he added.
The ITU also stressed the need for a change in attitudes towards ICT jobs which, according to experts, girls usually see as unfeminine, too challenging or just plain boring.
"However, the demand for these jobs worldwide is steadily increasing with not enough qualified individuals to fill the gap in the job market.
"The European Union, for example, calculates that in 10 years there will be 700,000 more ICT jobs than there are professionals to fill them. Globally, that shortfall is estimated to be closer to two million,'' it added.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 25Jan2012