Annually, every fourth Thursday of April, the International Girls in ICT Day draws attention to the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT field.

This year, under the theme “access and safety,” ITU and partner organizations are working together to develop solutions and ideas that can lower barriers to access digital technologies, improve online safety, and provide safe connectivity for females of all ages.

The importance of digital technology has been highlighted now more than ever as young women and girls must have access to essential ICT services and information for various purposes such as communicating in school, keeping in touch with friends and relatives, conducting online transactions, and preparing for career prospects.

“Every girl has a right to be connected and safe, and to play her part in shaping a more equal, green and tech-driven future,” an excerpt from a UN Women statement said.

A study by UN Women and ITU shows that girls access digital technology at a later age than boys, with limitations. In addition, females are deemed to be more exposed to online and ICT-facilitated violence and harassment, which can negatively impact their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

To help ensure that women and girls are safe online, internet platforms should maintain clear community standards to prevent any abusive material to be published and follow clear protocols to restrict or ban any virtual offenders.

Apart from being digitally protected, it is a must to encourage more women to join in technological innovation and open up more opportunities for career development and skill training. According to WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is showing significant improvement toward successfully bridging the gender gap and achieving gender parity within tech roles.

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