Bhutan celebrated the International Girls in ICT Day yesterday

The Department of Information Technology and Telecom of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) marked the International Girls in ICT Day for the first time in the country yesterday.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) initiated the day with the aim to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICT. It is also aimed at enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.

The day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April every year. The day was celebrated in about 160 countries yesterday.

MoIC minister DN Dhungyel said that Bhutan became a member of the ITU in 1988. “Since then we have been getting support from ITU in the development of the ICT sector. As a member nation, we have been taking an active role in the ITU sessions.”

Lyonpo DN Dhungyel, speaking to some 33 girls and representatives from six high schools in Thimphu, yesterday, said that the girls at the event represent what girls can do in ICT in the future.

Of about 300 ICT professionals in the country, some 113 are women ICT officers working in government and semi-government agencies.

Lyonpo pointed out that women have been taking a lead role in ICT in the country. “In some sectors, ministries and dzongkhags, female ICT officers are doing far better than what males could do.”

The 10 ministries have 13 female ICT officers and 17 ICT associates who are women. There are a total of nine women ICT officers and about 21 women ICT associates in all the dzongkhags.

Meanwhile, DITT has 13 ICT officers and an ICT associate.

Lyonpo pointed out that senior female ICT officers with the ministry who have many years of experience had either gone for better prospects or had started their own businesses.

“ICT is a sector that is dynamic, forward looking and has a lot of potential. Therefore, being an ICT officer or an ICT associate now or in future doesn’t mean you stick to the profession and do not grow,” Lyonpo said. “There are avenues to grow and the future is brighter ahead.”

Lyonpo said that ICT is not an option but a compulsion. “Whether you are a doctor, an engineer, a business person or a farmer, a bit of ICT in your knowledge will enhance your skills and you will be able to do better.”

Lyonpo urged the participants to take ICT as a part of their life to move forward with the advancing world. “Take extra initiative and interest in learning ICT and upgrade yourself.”

As part of the celebration, participants included five school girls each from the Dechencholing, Kelki, Nima, Pelkhil and Rinchen HSSs. They also visited various agencies where women ICT officers work to showcase the roles of women in the ICT sector.

Lyonpo said the event was not celebrated in the country before because the ministry was not able to garner support and bring stakeholders on board for the event.

Henceforth, the day will be celebrated every year.

DITT in collaboration with Bhutan Telecom and Tashi InfoComm, organised the event.

Dechen Tshomo