The Government is being urged to empower young women with digital skills to pursue a career enabled by technology. Minister for Information and Communications Technology Hon. Timothy Masiu made these remarks during the commemoration of the International Girls in ICT Day, organized by the PNG Australia Alumni Association at the Hilton Hotel , Port Moresby this afternoon (22 April).
“The Girls in ICT should serve as a call to action to inspire girls and young women to learn more about digital technology, and for us as a government to empower them with digital skills to pursue a career enabled by technology.” The theme of this year’s celebration, “Connected Girls, Creating Bright Futures” is in line with the Government’s Digital Transformation Polic, which Mr Masiu says, acknowledges Digital Skills as a key element in the digital journey of this nation.
The International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every third Thursday in April every year all around the world, which aims at encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in the dynamic field of information and communication technology (ICT). “ICT is also about bridging the digital divide by addressing the disparity in human capacity in technology and requires a collective effort from Government and non-government organizations and the industry.”
Mr Masiu further acknowledged that digital technology has proven to be a key driver of economic growth, social inclusion and sustainable development. “ Yet despite rapid progress, we know that there is a shortage of young people – and in particular, girls – studying in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”
“We must make sure that girls are provided with the right knowledge, skills and creative minds to secure their meaningful participation in the digital economy as there will be many possibilities open to girls when they continue to acquire higher skills and training in ICT,” Mr Masiu said.
He added, the commemoration of this day signifies the Government’s commitment to the digital transformation agenda for greater and wider application and usage of ICT within Government, and nationally, to bring about positive transformation in socio-economic landscape.
“We are seeking to further harness the potential of ICT in realizing our sustainable development objectives whilst addressing the digital divides, including the gender divide so that the ICT sector is enriched by the contributions of both men and women, based on their unique but complementary perspectives and skills.
“The Government’s focus now is to ensure ICT infrastructures and connectivity reaches all parts of the country where our girls and women, particularly in rural areas can access these services.”
“As we continue to recognize our girls in ICT, I call on all government agencies and public bodies to play their part in empowering and recognizing our girls and women”.
He commended the Papua New Guinea Australia Alumni Association and the organizers of this event and congratulated the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA), for being a pioneer in this area with special acknowledgement to the former CEO Mr Charles Punaha and the then NICTA Board.
“I wish to encourage all the Girls in ICT to stay on course for a digital future, making new grounds and to continue to take pride in the essential work that you do in bringing about digital transformation of our young nation”.