Girls in ICT – Girls lead the way and inspire peers in a COVID19 digital world

New York, 6 May 2021 – Special Representative Maalla M’jid joined ITU and inspiring young girls to celebrate the 10th anniversary of international Girls in ICT Day in an interactive dialogue entitled #GirlsinICT: Online Safety Moment.

The event is part of the series of events and activities under the theme Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures throughout the year to raise awareness about closing the gender digital divide and encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics to pursue careers in these areas.

In this inter-generational dialogue on online safety for girls, young girls and child rights experts shared their online experiences, both beneficial and harmful, and their insights into the issues children and young girls faced online and solutions to fostering a safer online space.

Special Representative Najat Maalla M’jid recognized that there is a continuum between violence online and offline, and the protection of children online remains insufficient.

“The increasing digital interactivity has provided young children with new opportunities but also new risks. In this regard, we need to do more and do better to make the online world an inclusive and safe place for children to engage, participate, and empower themselves”said Dr. Maalla M’jid.

The young panelists Audrey, Lella, Megan, Valentina, and Shaikha, representing five different regions, demonstrated their great commitment and engagement in ICTs. They shared their personal stories and works associated with ICT and how ICT contributed to their personal development.

Aya, a fifteen-year-old child rights activist, shared her suggestions for the protection of children. Reflecting on their personal experiences, the young girls hold a global vision of children’s engagement in ICT and underscored the importance of empowering girls and bridge the gender gap in this area.

“Today, girls around the world are supporting their peers, they are raising awareness in their school and communities, they are feeling empowered thanks to the digital world, and they will continue to help us to understand better what the digital world is for them,” said SRSG Maalla M’jid. “They’re innovating and leading the way when it comes to bridging technology’s gender barriers and protection challenges.”

Dr. Alkhzaimi, an assistant research professor, specializing in cyber security, addressed the increased global online presence and formation of digital identity posed a challenge in cyber safety and security.

She highlighted the need to build cyber safety and adopt an inclusive and holistic approach towards this problem through collaboration among technology, academia, industry, and global entities around the world.

The office of the Special Representative will continue to collaborate with ITU to develop solutions built by children and for children and create an enabling, empowering, inclusive, and safe digital world for children and young people.  

For more information, please visit the Girls in ICT website.