The day was established back in 2011 and its main goal is to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, to inspire girls and young women to work in STEM careers and to engage the community and promote collaboration through partnerships. Moreover, with technology and digital skills playing a big role in all sorts of careers, learning these skills from a young age will help girls on their way to economic independence.
Access and Safety for Girls
The theme of this year’s International Girls in ICT Day is access and safety, because according to the ITU, “for girls and young women to thrive in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, they need safe and reliable access the internet and digital tools”. According to ITU’s data, 48 per cent of women in the world have access to the internet and use it in a safe way, in comparison to 55 per cent of men. If less women than men are able to have access to the internet and use the internet safely, it influences the development of their digital skills. This has an effect on their future because these skills are necessary to participate in today’s world and to build a career in STEM.
Better Internet for Kids strongly supports the Girls in ICT Day agenda and this year’s focus, and believes that the first step to reducing the gender gap in STEM and ICT careers is to address the gender-specific risks which girls and young women encounter in the digital environment and which can prevent girls from using the internet safely.
Read more about the online risk that girls face on the internet and check out the following resources:
- The 2021 edition of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place from 6-10 December 2021 in Poland, had a workshop looking at gender-based issues relating to online violence or abuse, hosted by Insafe. The session aimed to raise awareness on different forms of online violence towards women and girls, among them the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and gender-based online hate speech. Research and evidence suggest that women and girls are disproportionately victims of discrimination and abuse online.
- Additionally, some Safer Internet Centres from the Insafe network have produced resources exploring the issue, such as Girl Power Squad by the Belgian Safer Internet Centre (available in Dutch and French) and the recording of a webinar for parents, teachers and counsellors on online violence against girls by the Italian Safer Internet Centre (available in Italian).
- Read more about the hidden dangers of the internet explained for parents and carers by the Romanian Safer Internet Centre.
- Look back on Safer Internet Forum (SIF) 2019 From online violence to digital respect which explored gender-based online violence – the brochure, the report, the slides and the livestream are available to consult. The forum echoed the European Commission's #DigitalRespect4Her campaign, launched earlier in 2019, which strived to raise awareness of the gender-based violence girls and young women experience on the internet.
Learn more on International Girls in ICT Day on the ITU’s website and keep an eye on #GirlsinICT on social media.