International Girls in ICT Day is held every fourth Thursday in April, with the goal of supporting the creation of a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider education and careers in the information and communication technology (ICT) field, and in the tech field more broadly.
An initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecommunication Development Bureau, led by Director Doreen Bogdan-Martin, International Girls in ICT Day also aims to bridge the digital divide and promote gender equality. Elected in 2018, Director Bogdan-Martin is the first woman to ever hold an elected senior leadership position in the more than 150 years of the organization’s history.
As part of this year’s celebration on April 28th, AT&T hosted a virtual event under the theme “Inspiring the Next Generation of Women Innovators in the Tech and Creative Industries.” At AT&T, women are core to our foundation. We have been breaking barriers here for over 140 years and are continuing to invest heavily in the future of our women tech leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs.
To bring the international community together, we collaborated with schools and organizations that support girls and young women, spreading word of the event in communities around the world. While the program was held in English, we were proud to offer simultaneous live interpretation in Spanish and French to expand the program’s reach and impact and to create a truly global experience. In fact, virtual attendees joined from the Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Kenya, Mexico, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the United States.
The event kicked off with a video message from Director Bogdan-Martin, who highlighted the importance of this year’s Girls in ICT Day global theme of “Access and Safety.” In her address, Director Bogdan-Martin emphasized that in an increasingly digital world, women and girls can tap into the rich opportunities offered by digital technologies, while also emphasizing that this cannot be possible if they are not able to safely access the Internet.
“We need to inspire women and girls to step up and become designers, creators, and leaders… so we build a gender-equitable digital future that meets everybody’s needs.”
We were also privileged to hear first-hand from a true role model and leader in this field, Mónica Aspe, CEO, AT&T Mexico. In her keynote address, Aspe shared advice and lessons learned from her journey to becoming the first female CEO of a Mexican telecommunications company, as well as highlighted the range of career opportunities in the ICT industry and the importance of gender equality in closing the digital divide.
“This year’s International Girls in ICT Day theme, ‘Access and Safety,’ is really important… We at AT&T are dedicated to expanding broadband connectivity, and helping to ensure that the Internet is a safe space for users; acknowledging that there are specific challenges and disparities faced by women and girls online. At AT&T Mexico, we’re connecting millions previously unconnected, but we’re also working on this safety piece, because it’s essential not only to be online, but to live online in a very safe way.”
In closing, Aspe offered the participants some final inspiring words, encouraging them to, “Change the game by being part of the game!”
The event also featured an engaging panel discussion on “Breaking Barriers with Careers in ICTs,” moderated by high school junior and Girl Up Women in Science – Central America alumna, Mya De La Rosa. An inspiring young leader who certainly understands that technology and creativity can be very connected, Mya hopes to one day work along the intersections of quantum physics, aerospace engineering and the arts. Panelists included:
- Daphne Dentz, Senior Vice President, Emerging Formats, Mastering & Content Acquisition, Content Creative Services, Warner Bros. Discovery
- Rita Marty, Vice President, Security Architecture, AT&T
- Lynette M. Aguilar, Vice President and General Manager – North Texas, AT&T
These leaders reflected on successes and challenges they have faced throughout their careers, demonstrating the importance of bringing our own unique experiences and perspectives to the table and sharing opportunities for technical and creative careers in the ICT and creative sectors.
We thank all of our speakers for sharing their stories and empowering the women leaders of tomorrow.
Since its inception in 2011, over 600,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 12,000 celebrations of Girls in ICT Day in 195 countries worldwide. AT&T is proud of our continued participation in recognizing this important day, both this year and in the past. Looking forward, we challenge ourselves and others to continue efforts to close the gender digital gap and inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in ICT.
We invite you to view the full event recording below.