Opening Remarks UN Resident Coordinator on Girls in ICT Day Celebration 2019
Ibu Rosarita Widiastuti, Secretary General, Ministry of Communication and Informatics in Indonesia Pak Ismail Shah, ITU Area Representative Ibu Sabine Machl, Representative of UN Women colleagues from the UN, private sector and the NGOs. Selamat Pagi, I am very pleased to be here on behalf of the UN to celebrate the Girls in ICT day in Indonesia. I would like to thank ITU and Ministry of Communication and Informatics Indonesia in taking the lead to organize this important event. We all know that women and girls are half of the world’s population and as a result also half of the world’s human potential. When women and girls’ lives are improved, it benefits all of society. In 2015 UN Member States signed onto the Sustainable Development Goals to help improve the lives of people, planet and prosperity. Globally we are seeing that progress on gender equality is uneven across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from gender gaps in labour force participation, enrolment in education (particularly Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and ICT related areas), innovation and knowledge leadership. This is in addition to high maternal mortality rates, gender-based discrimination and violence against women. Supporting the education of women and girls in the ICT sector is very much in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5, aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls through, among others, ICTs. Not only are jobs in the ICT sector lifting women out of poverty, but a more gender-balanced sector offers fulfilling mid and high-level careers and enables highly talented women to springboard to the top of the career ladder. This is good for everyone. While gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of the 17 SDGs, it is also an accelerator for all of the SDGs. As UN Secretary General António Guterres has said: “There is overwhelming evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies and countries. Gender equality is the unfinished business of our time.”
Here in Indonesia, we are working on the issue of Girls and ICT in many ways. For example: through UNICEF’s U Report, a youth participation platform using social media and SMS to engage young people, especially through opinion polls on youth-related issues. Through this tool, we engage 50,000 girls across the archipelago that allows for girls to participate in polls on development issues that impact their lives and access unbiased information on specific issues and it also encourages girls to participate in youth entrepreneurship challenges.
Another example of our work is the initiative organized by the UNESCO Office in Jakarta together with WOMEN WHO CODE and UNESCO L’Oréal For Women in Science organized the Regional GIRL Coding Bootcamp and Competition to introduce and raise interest of school girls aged 8-12 years old to programming and to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) field studies and possible careers choice in the future in Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Laguna.
Women have a critical role to play to reach all the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as an objective. So let us invest in women and girls and make every day Girls in ICT Day.
I wish you much success for the event.