Each year, International Girls in ICT Day is recognised. ICT, or Information and Communications Technology, can be thought of as the field of expertise that encompasses the daily use of digital assets like the internet, computer software and personal devices. Throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, this niche was especially important as it directly impacted remote learning, hybrid work and virtual communications methods like video calling. Given this intersectionality, Digicel Jamaica, paid tribute to Girls in ICT Day on the 24th of April, 2022, in several ways.
First, short stories from talented and passionate female leaders at the company were recorded. Some influential figureheads captured included Antoinette Heirs, Head of Network Engineering, Shannett Walcott, Senior IP/MPLS Engineer and Marsha Lating, Senior Manager for Products and Engagement. In these profiles, all four leaders were empowered to use their voices to showcase their career journeys in the industry. These honest reflections and takeaways acted as small documentary pieces to inspire younger women at the start of their careers to follow in their footsteps.
An uplifting short film was also released on Digicel Jamaica’s social channels and highlighted the triumphs of Sophie, a girl with aspirations of entering the industry. On the Digicel Jamaica Instagram and Twitter pages, the video included the caption “We’re not just here; we’ve been here. We’re not just girls; we’re innovators. We are the future. Today, we’re showing support and inspiring the next generation of #WomenInTech. Happy International #GirlsinICTDay. #IamSophie.”
Digicel Jamaica continues to support women in tech by investing in formal educational opportunities for more widespread accessibility. The Digicel Jamaica Foundation recently donated 2,100 devices and SIM cards to grade-school students. Additionally, a US$110,000 gift was awarded to assist with development plans for ICT labs at Anchovy Primary School in St. James and Harry Watch Primary School in Manchester. Early this year, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation donated J$28 million to the Coding in Schools programme to boost education in science, tech, engineering and mathematics. On top of creating national coding curriculums for grade levels one to 13, Digicel Jamaica delegated 20 paid internships to the island’s top graduates.
These actions come at a time when global change for gender parity in ICT is needed. Only 28% of the tech workforce in South Africa and Australia is female, just 26.7% in Canada are female, and in the United States, women comprise only 24% of the tech industry. As an equal opportunity employer, Digicel Jamaica hopes to educate and enact change that will combat these trends.
The next annual International Girls in ICT Day will be held on the 27th of April in 2023.