Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W), parent company of Flow and BTC, in the Caribbean, is calling for more girls to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as the company observed International Girls in ICT Day yesterday.
The company also kicked off several activities across the region to encourage female students to consider careers in Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) industries, a release said.
“Locally, we have partnered with the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries to commemorate Girls in ICT Day 2021,” Flow’s Corporate Comms/Marketing Manager, Shand Merchant said.
“It’s directly aligned with our commitment to invest and innovate in ICT so that we empower our customers and stakeholders to succeed in this connected world.”
The partnership with the Ministry of Education engaged 17 female third form students from public and private schools in Antigua and Barbuda who participated in a day-long seminar and technology challenge to commemorate International Girls in ICT Day.
“This event will serve to draw attention to the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector and create an opportunity for the students’ problem-solve using newly acquired skills,” Merchant added.
The company was represented at the event by two of its female staff — Marjorie Francis and Carissa Warner.
Francis was the first female to be employed as a technician in the Engineering Department at Cable and Wireless. She is currently the IP and Data Network Engineer, responsible for managing the internet and data core platforms.
Warner joined Flow in 2020 in the capacity of Commercial Executive, where she works towards delivering the company’s promise of building, connecting and serving its communities.
The ICT space continues to rapidly evolve, opening up a plethora of career opportunities, yet there are still concerns about the low representation of females in the sector.
“Globally, the percentage of females following a course of study in STEM education remains low. Girls in ICT Day is therefore an opportunity for us to continue connecting with our girls, to provide mentorship, and showcase careers in the sector, while connecting them to female pioneers in the industry.
“As we champion greater inclusion and diversity in the workplace, we are mindful of the need for more balance and female representation in our industry, and so our activities this year are geared towards that purpose,” said Inge Smidts, CEO of C&W.
C&W will stage a video essay competition for female students, aged 12 – 15 years old, across the region. Participants will be asked to submit a 2 – 3 minute video on the topic, “Why is it important for girls/women to pursue a career in ICT?”
Details will be shared when the competition opens on April 26 and winners will be announced at the company’s Girls in ICT Forum on June 8.
Girls in ICT Day 2021 was marked under the theme, “Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures!”
The day is an initiative of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is geared at empowering and encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM education, inspiring them to work in STEM careers, and also engaging the community while promoting collaboration through partnerships.