To mark the international Girls in ICT Day, Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for Europe’s Digital Agenda, has released a video message to encourage more girls and women to pursue tech careers.
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of April each year and highlights efforts to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technology (ICT).
The initiative comes from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), but government departments, youth groups, regulatory authorities, academic institutions, UN agencies, NGOs and tech companies around the world have gotten involved to host events.
In Kroes’ video message, she addresses “women, girls, men and boys” to let them know that the skills needed to build our future – imagination, innovation and determination – are not exclusive to one gender. “Some people think those people are just men. They are wrong. This is a cool new opportunity for every woman too. I want every one of them to be able to capture it.”
The European Commissioner asks, “Why just play Angry Birds when you could be designing it?” and encourages girls to learn skills like programming or coding any way they can, with a shout-out to the Irish-born CoderDojo movement. There’s even a Spice Girls throwback thrown in at the end.
Kroes also takes the opportunity to promote events coming up for Europe Code Week this October and asks those with skills or experiences to share to get involved.
Women in tech with stories to share are also encouraged to upload a video to the Every Girl Digital Facebook page. “From successful super-entrepreneurs who just happen to be women to the cool neighbour or family friend working for a tech start-up – the more young women see and hear about female success, the more they will realise what this is all about. This is the key to unlock our tech talent,” urged Kroes.
If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than the ITU Girls in ICT YouTube playlist, where you can find interviews with #techmums founder Dr Sue Black, Microsoft’s Una O’Sullivan, and teenager Sylvia Todd, host of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show on YouTube.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland. You can nominate inspiring women in the fields of STEM via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter to @siliconrepublic.