By Hamed Mahmoud
Around the world, more than 377,000 girls and young women have participated in over 11,400 International Girls in ICT Day celebrations in 171 countries over the past ten years. Governments, national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) regulatory authorities, ICT companies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the world have all been encouraged to join the movement, however as we celebrate our achievements and efforts in encouraging young girls to go into science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) related fields, there is still much to be done by organisations everywhere.
The gender gap in STEAM is striking; in higher education, only 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEAM-related fields are females. More worrying, is that female enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent). In Europe, for example, only 29 of 1,000 female graduates had a degree in computing in 2015. Research also shows that the gender gap starts as young as lower secondary school, where girls are less likely to select technology and science-related subjects. This trend continues through college, and the rest of their careers.
Sameh Shoukry, Country Manager of Ericsson Egypt said: “The Egyptian government represented by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has sponsored dozens of initiatives to empower women with the help of organisations like Ericsson. Ericsson has long been a supporter of Girls in ICT Day and several ongoing global initiatives have been launched to empower young female students. We believe that ICT in particular gives women a unique chance to work remotely or on a freelance basis, hence, overcoming the obstacles that have been facing women in finding and retaining jobs, such as transport, gender bias, and workplace discrimination.”