Jamaica News: Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, is encouraging more female students to get into information technology (IT) and innovation, so that they can be a part of the growing industry.
Addressing the opening ceremony for the 2019 Girls Hackathon, held today (May 14) at the Chinese Benevolent Association in St. Andrew, the Minister noted that a 2018 research conducted by her Ministry revealed that there is a “significant difference” between males and females, based on enrolment in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) for IT.
She also highlighted that a gender disparity of 3:1 (male to female) was discovered at four of the island’s tertiary institutions at the undergraduate level (in IT) over the 2013 to 2018 academic years.
“Get involved in innovation by enrolling more in information and communications technology (ICT) disciplines, especially at the tertiary level, and stay the course after your academic pursuits,” the Minister urged.
Mrs. Williams emphasised that more women are needed in technology as work is done to promote a knowledge-based culture in Jamaica.
“In a rapidly changing era, we cannot afford to have distinctions between men and women. I believe that you, our girls and women, have tremendous knowledge that, when harnessed, can contribute to building a strong technology infrastructure for Jamaica,” she said.
The Minister argued that technology is a great enabler and driver of growth, and it is essential that “we have a digitally inclusive society”, where both men and women can actively participate and share for the benefit of the nation.
Mrs. Williams told the gathering that more girls need to be excited about technology and the wider areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“This must start in the home and at school,” she said, adding that there is a role for parents and educators to encourage and expose girls to the many opportunities provided by the disciplines.
The event was held to observe the global International Girls in ICT Day, which the Minister said was “integral” to creating an enabling environment for innovation, and bridging the gender digital divide, while empowering and encouraging girls and young women to become content creators, and developers of solutions to “real life problems”.
Girls Hackathon is a SheLeadsIT initiative, a Caribbean non-governmental organisation (NGO), which seeks to advance and empower women, with a specific focus on bridging the gender gap in digital skills.
Source: JIS News