International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April to stress the importance of girls in I.C.T. and encourage more girls and young women to pursue STEM education. This year, it takes place on April 25. Did you know that the first commercial computer was developed in 1951? I.C.T., the abbreviation for Information and Communications Technology, is an encompassing term for the technologies required to transmit, store, create, share, or exchange information. These technologies include the internet (social media, websites, blogs, and emails), computers, live broadcasting technologies (audio and video players, storage devices, and podcasting), and telephony (fixed or mobile, satellite, Visio/video-conferencing, and more).
History of International Girls In ICT Day
In 1822, Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, invented the first mechanical computer. This computer, called the Difference Engine, was designed to perform basic computations and solve complex calculation problems. It had storage where data was temporarily held, and outputs were stamped into soft metal. Looking at the limitation of the Difference Engine – it could only perform one operation — Babbage decided to go a step further. In 1833, he devised the Analytical Engine. This automatic mechanical digital computer could perform all calculations and store up to 1000 50-digit numbers (more than any computer built before 1960). The machine consisted of four components: the mill, the store, the reader, and the printer. Inputs were to be entered using punched cards, and the machine will be steam-driven and operated by one attendant. However, the device was not built as he couldn’t obtain funding.
In 1843, Augusta Ada King, the countess of Lovelace, published a paper explaining the Analytical Engine and made a comparison between it and existing calculators. In 1843, she wrote the world’s first computer program by sequencing instructions on the punched cards that the Analytical Engine used. At the time, King was the only expert in the world in programming. In 1945, the University of Pennsylvania academics John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Jr. led a project to build the first electronic programmable computer in the United States. The computer called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was Turing-complete and could be programmed for many complex problems. The programming of the ENIAC was handled by six women, known as the “ENIAC girls.”
Between the mid-20th century and early 21st century, we experienced a significant leap in the development of the computer that dwarfed the innovations of the previous centuries. These advancements include the invention of the transistor, COBOL, FORTRAN, UNIX, floppy disk, and the Ethernet. During this same period, some of the biggest tech companies were established, including INTEL, I.B.M., Apple, and Microsoft. In the early 2000s, portable computers became commonplace due to the advancements in portable battery life and miniaturization of computing resources. This innovation also led to the development of cellular mobile phones in the early 2000s.
International Girls In ICT Day timeline
English mathematician Charles Babbage invents the Difference Engine.
Augusta Ada King writes the first computer program and becomes the first programmer.
John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Jr. lead a project to build the first electronic programmable computer in the United States.
Portable computers and mobile phones gain popularity globally.
International Girls In ICT Day FAQs
What does I.C.T. stand for?
I.C.T. is the abbreviation for information and communications technology. It includes all technologies that allow us to manage data and transfer information.
Why is I.C.T. important to women?
I.C.T. provides career opportunities to young female professionals, access to the global market to women entrepreneurs and female-led businesses, and reduces the gender inequality gap. It also offers access to educational resources and training, building women’s capacity.
How can we close the digital gender gap?
According to experts, we can close the digital gender gap by building digital skills and promoting I.C.T. education to girls and young women, and publishing gender statistics in the tech sector. It is also essential we protect girls’ and women’s online privacy and support women’s participation in technology development, local content creation, and I.C.T. innovation.
International Girls In ICT Day Activities
Attend an event
Organizations such as the International Communication Union and Cisco host an International Girls in ICT Day event every year to encourage more girls and young women to join the tech sector. You can participate by attending one of those events. Check on the internet for events hosted by other organizations that might be happening online or in your area.
Inspire more girls to explore STEM careers
If you’re a tech professional, irrespective of your gender, you can use this opportunity to share your journey in the tech industry and provide a guide on how girls and women can pursue a career in STEM. You can also open yourself to mentorship and help build a girl’s STEM education or career.
Sponsor a girl in I.C.T.
Another way you can make an impact on International Girls in ICT Day is to sponsor a girl’s education in a STEM field. If you know a girl with potential, approach them with this opportunity. If not, you can ask people on social media to nominate a girl for sponsorship. Then you choose the one you consider to be the best from the nominations.
5 Interesting Facts About Women In I.C.T.
The first programmer
Augusta Ada King, the English mathematician and writer, is considered the first programmer in the world.
Female tech startup founders
Women found 20% of tech startups in the world.
A woman brought the internet to Thailand
Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut led the introduction of the internet to Thailand.
The first compiler
The first compiler for a programming language was invented by Grace Hopper.
Female board of director members
Only 37% of tech startups have at least one woman on their board of directors.
Why We Love International Girls In ICT Day
Technology is rapidly penetrating every aspect of human lives
The economy of the future will undoubtedly be driven by tech. Therefore, it’s essential girls and women position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities by pursuing a career in I.C.T. Also, tech is a great equalizer and can be one of the instruments for bridging the inequality gap between men and women.
It encourages more young women to enter the tech industry
Events are organized every International Girls in ICT Day to educate girls and women about I.C.T. and possible career options for them. The day also provides an opportunity for female tech leaders and professionals to share their experiences and inspire other girls and young women.
It empowers girls and young women
International Girls in ICT Day has led to the creation of different initiatives to educate, train, and mentor girls and young women who are looking at a tech career. That includes Girls in ICT programs by the United Nations, Cisco, and Microsoft.
International Girls In ICT Day dates