“We, women and girls, can be proud of the special perspective we bring to the STEM field and other fields.”– CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General
CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General, Amb. Manorma Soeknandan, Ph.D, has called for the narrowing of the gender gap between men and women in the field of ICT.
Amb. Soeknandan threw out the challenge during the first CARICOM Digital Dialogue to observe International Day for Girls in ICT on the 23rd of April. The Dialogue was organised by the CARICOM Partnership for Girls in ICT, which comprises Ministries of ICT, Youth, Education and Gender in CARICOM Member States and Associate Members, as well as regional and international organisations. It was anchored in Georgetown, Guyana, and attracted thousands of participants primarily via Zoom and Facebook, as well as via other media platforms.
In remarks to open the two-hour long forum, Amb. Soeknandan underscored the vital role of women in ICT, but lamented the wide gap between men and women in tech.
Girls and women, she added, could be proud of the “special perspective we bring to the STEM field and any field. “
She said there needed to be increased positive messages about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and ICT, and the role and relevance of ICT in schools at all levels.
“We need to speak more and help more CARICOM girls and women to join the ICT revolution,” she rallied participants.
She pointed out that those issues would be undertaken by the CARICOM Girls in ICT Partnership, as it continued its work to develop policy which supported the Region’s empowerment, and which responded to the Sustainable Goals agenda blueprint for development by 2030.
“The Partnership is expected to work as a Network of networks, with similar structure replicated at the Member State levels for developing the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, in CARICOM,” she said.
Amb. Soeknandan also challenged men and boys to get involved in the drive to get more women into the tech sector. More girls and women in the sector could not happen without the involvement of the men who already had a seat at that table, she pointed out.
Other speakers at the event included Dr Barbara Reynolds who delivered the keynote address, Ms. Jennifer Britton, Deputy Programme Manager, ICT4D at the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Youth Ambasssadors and other representatives of youth in CARICOM, and members of the Partnership.
The Dialogue was held under the theme “Regional Resilience – ICT, STEM and Youth”.
International Day for Girls in ICT is held on the fourth Thursday of April each year under the theme ‘Expand horizons, change attitudes’.