Girls in ICT: United Nations launches web portal to get girls excited about tech jobs

The United Nations (UN) has joined the international movement to get more girls interested in tech jobs with the launch of its online Girls In ICT Portal. ICT stands for "information and communications technology" and is similar to IT, or "information technology." ICT is more commonly used in countries outside North America.

The portal’s mission is to inspire and help women and girls around the world find information on scholarship programs, internships, training opportunities, online networks and ICT career opportunities. It’s available for free and in multiple languages.

What’s beautiful about the portal is there are opportunities spanning from Canada to Africa to the Arab States. One example is TechWomen, a new initiative from the U.S. that connects Silicon Valley women in the tech hub of North America with innovative women and girls in the Middle East and Africa.

International Girls in ICT Day – April 26
The portal also promotes UN’s International Girls in ICT Day. The initiative was launched last year and takes place on the fourth Thursday of every April. This year it lands on April 26. The day celebrates girls’ interests in tech and encourages them to choose ICT careers, much like what we do here at CareerMash. Some girls participate in school programs. Others shadow people at major tech companies.

Last year for example, 300 Serbian girls aged 13-14 visited the country’s capital Belgrade. Accompanied by teachers, the girls visited ICT companies and government institutes in charge of IT. CEOs, lawyers, engineers and public relations women talked to the girls about what it’s like to work in tech - and highlighted the fun side: Twitter, video diaries and smart phones. Then the girls went to Belgrade University to see what it’s like to be a technology student. Check out the First Girls Day in Serbia video.

All of these opportunities are listed under the portal’s careers section, including local initiatives like Ryerson University’s Women in Information Technology Management (WITM) and Toronto’s Ladies Learning Code.

International tech job shortages

A UN news story says, the European Union estimates 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.

In Canada, 10,000 jobs are created in the business technology sector every year, but universities only turn out 2,000 grads.

Real women and girls in tech

The UN Girls in ICT portal features videos like this one, Google’s “Girls In A Tech World.”  The video shows women talking about how computer science careers can mimic Harry Potter’s magic!

The UN portal also features numerous profiles of women in IT, like this one on Supriya Bhargavan. Supriya studied computer science in Brazil and now works as an IT Architect at IBM, Canada.

Convinced yet? Take a look at CareerMash’s career and real person profiles too. Women are doing amazing things with technology every day! And can you blame us? After all, the world's first computer programmer is considered to be Ada Lovelace, an 1800’s English writer who created the first algorithm ever intended to be processed by a machine.

Does the UN’s emphasis on international women in tech change your mind about tech careers? Let us know!

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