Getting young women into tech to break gender stereotypes

Events marking the International Girls in ICT Day in Kosovo inspire girls to pursue education and careers in information and communication technologies (ICT) through hands-on activities and workshops.

Date: Thursday, May 30, 2019

Participants build bridges in one of the workshops held for the Girls in ICT Day. Photo: UN Women in Kosovo
Participants build bridges in one of the workshops held for the Girls in ICT Day. Photo: UN Women in Kosovo

On 26 April, International Girls in ICT Day, 800 young women and girls from across Kosovo[1] engaged in a full day event aimed at encouraging and empowering them to pursue education and careers in information and communication technologies – the field closely linked to innovation and societal transformation. To close gender gaps in the area, the event also introduced them to technology companies looking for skilled, engaged ICT women.

In one of the hands-on workshops led by practitioners in the field, participants designed bridges, spurring critical thinking and creativity with a variety of tools and materials. They also rode a bus around Pristina, monitored by Kosovo Police, to test the security of various wireless connections.

 In the “Hands on Hacking” workshop, the participants learned about hacking and protection against cyber-attacks and how they were organized. The day concluded with an open-air Job Fair in the courtyard of the RIT Kosovo University Campus, connecting potential future employees and over 20 local information and communications technologies companies.

This fifth edition of the Girls in ICT Day was organised by UN Women with IPKO Foundation, providing one of the biggest platforms to engage girls in breaking the gender stereotypes, especially those concerning the ICT field. “This event has had a tremendous impact in Kosovo ICT: 800 young women and girls registered this year – in our first year, we only had 87! Its main goal is to raise awareness and inspire our girls to take over the ICT and STEM fields,” said Abetare Gojani, IPKO Foundation Executive Director.

The day featured speeches by women champions and role models, such as Drena Kusari, General Manager of transportation network company ‘Lyft’ operating in the USA and Canada. She, along with Avery Bang, Founder and CEO of ‘Bridges for Prosperity’ that partners with local governments to connect communities via pedestrian bridges, encouraged young women and girls to fulfil their dreams by working hard and chasing opportunities in innovation and technology.

Throughout the day, speakers urged young women and girls to seek careers in in science, ICT/technology, engineering, mathematics to reverse their current under-representation and digital divide in those sectors, which provide unprecedented opportunities.

“Each of us has a part to play in closing the gender divide in all spheres of society and encouraging women and girls to pursue careers in the technology sector. In doing this, we not only empower them and overturn stereotypes, but we also help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and a better world for all,” said UN Women Project Manager Linda Sanaja.

[1] All references to Kosovo on this website shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).