‘Become the next big thing’ – Min. Nicolette Henry challenges girls

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Girls and women across the Region have been challenged to become the next “big thing” in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The challenge was thrown out last week by Minister in the Ministry of Education, Guyana, the Hon. Nicolette Henry as she addressed a forum on Girls in ICT in Georgetown, Guyana. The event at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre was held as part of the observances to mark Girls in ICT Day 2016 on 28 April.

We believe that our young people here in Guyana and the Caribbean are just as creative as those anywhere in the world, and we want you to become the next ‘big thing’; the innovator who develops a social media platform that’s bigger and more relevant than Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” Minister Henry emphasised.

Pointing to the scope for women in the ICT field, the Minister acknowledged to the scores of girls and women at the forum that there was still a lot of work to be done to sensitise them to careers involving ICTs and to equip them with the requisite skills to enter those technologically-driven fields. It was her hope that in Guyana and the Caribbean, more girls and women would occupy top positions in the ICT industry.

Minister Henry also recognised the need for more targeted ICT interventions in education, business, aviation and maritime, tourism, sport and cultural industries.

There are many new and exciting ICT careers in app development, animation, robotics, gaming, marketing and sales, which offer non-traditional careers paths and new ways of developing your skills, while contributing to the development of Guyana and the CARICOM Region,” she added.

Statistics from the International Communication Union (ITU) indicate that less than 30 per cent of the ICT workforce are women; 19 per cent of ICT entrepreneurs are women; nine per cent of app developers in Europe are women; Only 20 per cent of European women aged 30 have who have ICT-related degrees work in the ICT sector; 19 per cent of ICT managers are women; 10 per cent of corporate officer positions in Fortune 500 technology companies are held by women; and five per cent of IT patents are held by women in the US.

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