TWiICT joins ITU in celebrating ‘Girls in ICT Day 2020: Inspiring the Next Generation’

As originally posted on the portal of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga

23rd April, 2020 

Tongan Women in Information and Communications Technology (TWiICT) formerly known as CoConeck joined an online dialogue on Girls in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of the United Nations to commemorate ‘Girls in ICT Day – April 23, 2020’ under the theme of ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’.

Few members of the Tongan Women in ICT (TWiICT)

The event was set to celebrate in Samoa this year but due to the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, ITU came up with a resolution to celebrate virtually through online dialogue.

The theme highlights the importance of governments’ engagement in empowering women through technology and draw attention to role models, mentors and how they can inspire girls and young women to take up careers in the tech field.

ITU Secretary-General, Mr. Houlin Zhao said Information and Communication Technologies, are at the heart of the response to the unprecedented crisis we are facing and digital technologies is a key ally in combating COVID-19.

“They have kept people safe, productive, and connected as the world grinds to a halt. In this turmoil, Girls in ICT Day is a ray of hope. It is the hope of all these young women and girls around the world who see in tech the promise of a better future, not just for themselves but for all people and communities around them. No virus, no matter how powerful, can ever diminish that hope.”

Mr. Zhao stressed the need for all governments, businesses, university leaders and others to give these young women and girls the chance to achieve their dreams.

“Learning must not stop during this crisis. Come join ITU and our partners to support remote learning and ensure the vital telecommunication networks they rely on; are resilient, now and long after we have defeated this disease.”

“Girls in ICT Day is your day, to inspire many of you to start the journey to the fascinating world of information and communication technologies.”

The Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Mr. Paula Pouvalu Ma’u said, Tongan Women in ICT planned to conduct a half-day workshop with guest speakers, panellists, invited guests and students to celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day 2020’ in Nuku’alofa, but all has been postponed to next year.

“Tongan Women in ICT however created a short video titled Tongan Women in ICT Celebrate Girls in ICT Virtually 2020 to mark the day instead. We need to promote and encourage Women in ICT, and even in the leadership role. It’s good for them, and also good for us here in Tonga for our economic, social development and communications.”

Mr. Ma’u said there is a need for more women engineers and technicians in this field. “I believe women play an important role in promoting ICT here in Tonga and to the whole world.”

The Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Education (MET) Dr Tangikina Moimoi Steen advised Tongan Women in ICT to stand together and strongly advocate for government’s policies and regulations that will protect us from the abuses of ICT.

“Those who use our technologies to abuse and victimize people online and especially young Tongan girls, we are here as women because there were women before us who protect us. Now it’s our duty to protect the next generation of Tongan girls in particular from abuses of ICT. We need to act now and develop appropriate policy for schools, for the workplaces, and for any Tongan community that are using ICT.”

Members of the Tongan Women in ICT (TWiICT) are currently working as computer programmers and network engineers in line ministries and the private sector.

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