Today is Girls in ICT Day, an initiative to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies.
The United Nations believes there is a critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector.
With technology playing a role in all kinds of careers, from art and history to law, primary teaching and graphic design, learning tech skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence.
According to UN Women, the ICT sector needs more girls and women critically.
The jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation—65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist.
“It was just my passion,” says IT specialist, Natasha Ambo, a Dominican based overseas. “I developed an innate desire to pursue technology from a young age and I just did that.
When information communication technology caught her imagination, Ambo she says she never looked back.
“I was just out of community college,” she recounts, “My first job was IT and I never left. Every step along the way I just saw how the results of IT was so beneficial to organisations and their constituents and that’s what continued to drive me.”
Ambo began her career as a systems analyst for the Government of Dominica in 2000. She was a key member of a small team which automated the country’s motor vehicle and driver’s license registration system. Even after several years and more challenging projects, due to the impact, she still considers this her most fulfilling project to date.
She says the field is largely dominated by men but is not actually closed to women.
“I love what I do and the positive impact which I can have on businesses and this is why I am still in the field.”
Ambo believes that increasing the numbers of women and girls in ICT will be automatic if it first takes place the minds of girls.
“From since college, I have been in classrooms and offices surrounded by men and I am the only woman or one of two. For me, that was normal and I never felt uncomfortable,” Ambo shares.
“Because I was there in those rooms as a woman, I always felt that the field was open to women because it was open to me. It was never closed,” she says of her experience.
“I met no barriers in pursuing in my education in IT yet why were the classrooms not filled with women?” she asks. “Maybe because they felt it was not for them or they had no interest…”
“Young girls need to be put in that mindset that ICT is for everyone and they can pursue it and that’s where we start addressing the issue. The jobs are out there waiting to be filled with women…”
Today, Natasha Ambo is the founder and owner of Build It Right First Time Inc.
Her work includes implementing popular software like Salesforce and Sharepoint, integrating HR, CRM and ERP systems, software development, database administration, business intelligence, business analysis and software project management.
In 2019, Girls in ICT day events reached an estimated 20,000 girls around the world who never thought that girls could be impactful in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).