DIGICEL Barbados, in collaboration with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently hosted a seminar at The St Michael School to celebrate International Girls in (ICTs) Day 2016.
The Girls in ICT initiative aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
“It is known as man’s field but I don’t believe that to be true… females can do anything they put their minds to,” stressed Allison Deane, Computer Systems Engineer at Digicel.
“We are at the St Michael School to provide inspiration, encouragement…we want these young ladies to know that they can be successful in this field.”
Deane, one of three women in Digicel’s Technical Department, said her focus is on systems administration – dealing with installation, configuration, operations and maintenance of hardware, software systems and related infrastructure.
During the workshop, she revealed to the third and fourth year students the qualifications and skills which they need to acquire to enter the field.
“A degree in Computer Science or Information Technology is recommended. However, I do know persons in the field who do not have a degree but they have certification. But the certification that you do would depend on which area of ICT you are in… ICT is vast field; there are so many different areas you can get into.”
Deane also described the field “fascinating” and recalled having a love for technology from as young as six years old.
Janelle Tudor – Whitehead, Charging System Team Leader at Digicel further stressed the need for more women in ICT.
“There aren’t that many females in the field and we need more of that female input; that female know-how. Women think on a different level to men and having that, joined with the men, would help to make things a lot more well-rounded”.
ITU Programme Officer for the Caribbean, Sylvester Caddette revealed that ITU identified that among boys and girls – there are 11 percent less girls going into ICT’s.
“The ITU found it necessary to really look at the development of young women in ICTs, empowering them and also in terms of creating a greater awareness of the immense ability among our girls and our young women,” he explained.
“In that regard, the ITU has designated the third Thursday of every April as International Girls in ICT Day…We recognise that in every other endeavour young women are excelling – whether it be in physics, chemistry, mathematics – they excel sometimes even surpassing the young men. Therefore, it is an area they should definitely consider, considering that ICTs permeate through almost every single aspect of human endeavour at this point in time.” (TL)