Potraz furthered its commitment to improve women’s participation in the Information Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry by organizing this year’s Girls in ICT Day. Potraz’s Girls in ICT Day is part of the global effort to create an environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing emphasis on girls participation in the ICT sector. Large government donors, NGOs, and the private sector believe girls could play a big role in resolving poverty and making development gains through ICT.
Potraz’s effort in facilitating the event is a nod of approval to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which is promoting women’s advancement in ICT through collaborations with various institutions, companies, and governments.
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This year’s event was hosted at the girls-only missionary school of Monte Cassino under the theme “Expanding horizons and Changing attitudes”. The school which is popular for its high pass rates was considered to be this year’s ideal location to attract girls from Mashonaland East province.
The event was graced by Georgina Chingonzo, a director in the ICT and Cyber Security ministry rallied girls to seriously consider getting into ICT as 9/10 future jobs will require ICT skills. Failure to have these skills will push women into the dependency on men who would be having the demanded ICT skills. She went on to say that her ministry is making huge efforts to formulate and implement gender-sensitive ICT policies.
Such policies are needful considering that there is still a strong under-representation of women in ICT in Zimbabwe. This needs to change. Not only do we need more women in technology, we also need to see more of these women in leadership roles.
The World Economic Forum cites that today, women make up less than 40% of the total workforce in some of the top tech companies, and when considering only tech-related roles they are even more under-represented.
Why we need more women in ICT
One of the best reasons is that there are job opportunities in the ICT sector. The sector is marked by a pressing need for a wide range of ICT talents. This means that highly qualified women in ICT have significant opportunities available to them. The ICT sector needs new talent! This is because not enough students are preparing themselves for studies in math, engineering, computing, and sciences. Compounding this problem, the number of female technical students is disproportionately low.
ICT companies are looking to attract and promote women because achieving greater workforce diversity is good for business. The lack of young women attracted to ICT studies is reflected in ICT companies around the world. The ICT sector is currently male-dominated, especially at senior levels. Where women are present, it is often in low-level, low-skilled jobs. Many companies have concluded that increasing women at the top positively impact financial performance, while those that ignore diversity issues risk ongoing labor shortages.
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