Geneva, 28th April, 2016 (WAM) – Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology community celebrate International ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an awareness-raising initiative designed to promote tech studies and careers to a new generation of girls and young women.

ITU estimates a skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector within the next five years. Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will not only be well-placed for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue.

By 2015, annual Girls in ICT Day events had reached an estimated 177,000 girls around the world through over 5,300 events in more than 150 countries, and ITU is expecting these numbers to increase in the 2016 celebration. ITU congratulates the hundreds of organizers and thousands of girls and young women who are now part of this global movement, including ITU Member States and private sector members, ITU academia members, and other schools, universities and NGOs around the world.

Hundreds of events are taking place around the world, organized by ITU Member States, ITU Sector Members including Cisco, Ericsson, GSMA, Microsoft and Oracle, universities such as the Universitat Polit?cnica de Catalunya (Spain), Higher Colleges of Technologies (UAE), the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina) and the Universidad Tecnol?gica de Chile, and local NGOs from every region.

The event continues to gain momentum on social channels, with Facebook posts and tweets using #girlsinICT proving an increasingly popular way of highlighting the many exciting events being held in 2016.

“Girls in ICT Day reminds us that ICTs help to improve the lives of people everywhere – through better health care, better environmental management, better communications, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ICT professionals work on some of the most exciting projects imaginable. With the global technology sector continuing to expand rapidly, there is a predicted global shortfall of two million technology sector jobs that need qualified people to fill them. That means girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good salaries and enjoy plenty of career opportunities.”

“Girls in ICT Day is inspiring ITU members from both government and the private sector to find ways to equip girls and young women with the skills they need to become ICT professionals,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which leads the global Girls in ICT Day campaign. “Empowering girls to choose a career in ICTs is not just good for girls and their families, it can be a major accelerator of socio-economic development at the national level.”