UoT celebrates Girls in ICT

International Girls in ICT Day, which is an International Telecommunication Union global initiative, takes place on the fourth Thursday of April every year.

This year, the event fell on April 27th, and was commemorated by the PNG University of Technology’s ICT Services Department.

ICT support officer, Reggie-Anne Banjua, outlined that by celebrating Girls in ICT, more girls and women will be encouraged to take up the traditionally male-dominated field.

Four main speakers joined the event today; they were representatives from the Department of ICT, the National Information and Communications Technology Authority, a PNG ICT Professionals representative and a Master’s student.

“The main points that stood out were, for girls who took up ICT, to fill in the gaps, it’s a male-dominated field but now we are seeing girls coming in and taking up that role,” said Banjua.

Banjua pointed out that in spite of the crucial contributions made in the ICT sector, women continue to fight stereotypes. The main challenge was the tendency to treat women as less capable than men, and most times, their expertise are often overlooked.

“Even though you are a skilled female in that role, males are often chosen over you,” she said. “We see that in interviews as well. Even though you are qualified, you have the experience; you’ll see someone else taking up that role.

“We can address this by having more of these types of events and do more awareness that we, females, can do it. Or if you’re in a role in a workplace, you have to respect yourself and you step up – or woman up – and take your place.”

This year, for the first time, UoT has hosted a bigger event, compared to previous years.

“When I was a student in 2014, there was a similar event organised by the ICT Services Department but it wasn’t a big event where everyone was involved,” she shared.

“Last year there was one organised within our department but this year is a big one because we came out and got invitees from outside industries to join us.”

The ICT support officer is encouraging girls, especially in secondary school, to consider pursuing careers and studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, particularly ICT.

In the 21st century, the digital sector has less than 30 percent of female professionals in STEM.

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