LINKAGE Q1 (2021) - Choose To Challenge
By The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
The involvement of women in development has increased slowly but steadily over time. Transformation in medicine was aided by the input of Marie Curie, 1867–1934, who founded the new science of radioactivity and her discoveries led to effective treatment for cancer.
Amelia Earhart 1897–c1937 was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic while the courage and grit of Rosa Parks, 1913–2005, sparked the civil rights movement in the United States of America.
Katherine Johnson, born in 1918 and often referred to as a human-computer, helped NASA place an astronaut into orbit around the earth and subsequently a man on the moon, while the first and only female Prime Minister of India Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, was known for her political astuteness.
In Trinidad and Tobago Audrey Jeffers founded the Coterie of Social Workers and this country continues to recognize its first female and Prime Minister and President of the Republic, Kamla Persad Bissessar and Paula-Mae Weeks respectively.
The emergence of women in influential positions internationally had been increasing over the centuries around the world and became recognisable at the turn of the 20th Century.
There was growing evidence of the bold emergence of women on the first International Women’s Day on March 8th, 1911. This notable event is highlighted in a UN Women online publication states on that day, approximately one million people across Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland had their voices heard on women’s suffrage and labour rights.
UN Women is the United Nations’ entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
It has been recognised, that while women today can be found in almost equal numbers to men in the workplace, some areas remain male-dominated. One of those areas is Information and Communications Technology.
To address this global challenge the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations organization specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT) instituted “Girls in ICT Day” to be observed annually on the fourth Thursday in April.
This initiative was announced on 8 April 2011 and the aim was to celebrate girls’ interests and strengths as well as to encourage them to choose a career in ICT.
According to the ITU, Girls in ICT Day “is the direct result of the adoption of Resolution 70 by ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October 2010.”
The ITU on its website states that the Resolution, “Gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies”, resolved to incorporate a gender perspective in the implementation of all ITU programmes and plans.
ITU member countries are encouraged to hold meaningful events to commemorate Girls in ICT Day in a manner that leaves an indelible impression in the minds of the female participants.
The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) from inception, in 2011, held initiatives to commemorate Girls in ICT Day, based on the themes determined by the ITU.
2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Girls in ICT Day and it is themed Connected Girls; Creating Brighter Futures.
To commemorate the event this year, TATT in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation (MPADT), CANTO, GSMA, Verizon, Equals Global Partnership, Restore A Sense of I Can (RSC) and Tobago Information Technologies Limited (TITL), hosted an online workshop titled Tech4Girls: Connecting Girls, Creating Brighter Futures!
Young female entrepreneurs were invited to participate in the workshop, which took place on Saturday, April 17th. The participants, all between the age of eighteen to twenty-five learnt how to design and create their online stores using Shopify.
The interactive workshop provided an opportunity for the approximately 100 participants to explore some of the technologies and tech skills required for e-commerce. Some of the specific areas of focus were.
In Trinidad and Tobago, women hold top positions at ICT related organizations and companies. Some of these women addressed the girls at the start of the workshop. The women were Senator the Honourable Allyson West, Minister of Public Administration and Digital Transformation, Assemblyman Marslyn Melville-Jack, Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy, the Division of Education, Innovation and Energy, Tobago House of Assembly, Ms Teresa Wankin, Chief Executive Officer of CANTO and Mrs. Cynthia Reddock Downes, TATT’s Chief Executive Officer.
Senator West emphasised to the girls the importance of gaining knowledge in ICTs, which she pointed out will inevitably become a valuable skill-set in their futures regardless of their chosen careers.
Mrs. Downes told the girls that the workshop is an initiative that “promotes the development of entrepreneurial skills and provides a pathway to the successful expansion of the operations of small and micro-businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Twenty of the workshop participants will be selected to receive Shopify Licences as prizes based on skill displayed in developing their virtual online shop fronts.
TATT joins the rest of the world in celebrating women who chose to challenge the status quo in a cross-section of sectors and careers and succeeded… in particular those who choose the challenge of following pathways into the ever-evolving arena of ICTs.
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