SADC to continue to place women, girls at center of ICT initiatives: official

WINDHOEK, April 25– The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat said it will continue to place women and girls at the center of ICT initiatives to bridge the digital divide.

SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax said this Wednesday in a statement ahead of the International Girls in ICT Day celebrated on April 25 under the theme: Expand horizons, change attitudes.
“As we commemorate the day not only does the theme help in the global effort to bridge the digital divide, but also encourages girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM),” she added.

Tax said Member States should continue with their efforts to inspire more girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the ICT field and also realize that with improved access to ICT, women, and girls can benefit from increased employment and business opportunities.
According to Tax, the focus should be shifted to ensure that girls have access to tools and opportunities to pursue their dreams.

“We cannot fully achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 5 on Achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls if we cannot achieve gender balance in the ICT,” she added.

Meanwhile in March this year, the SADC Secretariat played its part in the drive to equip and empower women when it hosted the SADC ICT Industry Dialogue Engagement under the theme: Increasing the participation of women and young people in ICT leadership, digital entrepreneurship, and STEM.

Since its inception in April 2011, Girls in ICT Day has received tremendous support around the world. To date, over 11,100 events have been hosted in 171 countries worldwide, reaching an estimated 357,000 girls. – XINHUA