International Girls in ICT Day
In 2011, the International Telecommunication Union (an international organization that compiles and approves standards in telecommunications and was founded in 1865 in Paris) declared International »Girls in ICT Day«.
In the 21st century, girls and boys have equal opportunities to choose a career path, but there is still a mindset that there are typically male and typically female occupations. Therefore, International Girls in ICT Day encourages girls to choose their career path based on personal interests and talent, not stereotypes. It stimulates girls’ interest in technology, computer science, new communication media and engineering, offers them networking opportunities for future careers and inspires them to take up leadership positions.
The theme of the International Girls in ICT Day in 2022 is “accessibility and security”, as girls and women who cannot access the internet or do not feel safe online cannot develop the necessary digital skills and participate in the digital environment. This, in turn, affects their STEM careers and education, which combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The University of Maribor strives for gender equality, and especially encourages girls to enroll in study programmes that are “atypically female”. Activities in this field are reflected in the annual increase in the enrollment of female students in ICT study programmes.
What did the students of the 2nd cycle study programme Informatics and Technologies of Communication from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor say about the position of girls in ICT?
»As a girl who comes from a family of teachers, I always thought I would choose the profession of a teacher. However, in high school in the subject of Informatics, the professor inspired me to study in the field of ICT. Because of him, I deepened my love for computers even more and decided on this field of study. I started my studies without special knowledge and now, as a master’s student, I do not regret my decision. In my studies, I was most attracted to information security. It is a very important option in the field of ICT, as the protection of systems and data is needed everywhere. During my studies, I never noticed any major differences between boys and girls. At the beginning of the study, it was known that more boys came from computer oriented high schools, which was also the reason why most boys found it easier to cope with programming problems than girls. I also believe that assistants try not to treat students according to gender, but according to their knowledge. ICT is a profession dominated by boys, so we girls need to work harder to »secure our position«. As a result, we become much more skilful, thoughtful and analytical than the boys, as we strive for a profession that is close to our hearts. I think that we should start encouraging girls in ICT already in primary school, because that way more would decide to study in this field. The easiest way to achieve this is to organize fun workshops tailored to children, where we primarily encourage girls to choose ICT professions.« Nika Jeršič
»The decision to study in the field of ICT began to develop already in high school, where I focused on a more natural sciences and mathematics, and I was also happy with programming. When choosing a study program at FERI, I noticed that the Informatics and Technologies of Communication programme has an extremely good balance between what I wanted, what is highly desirable in the economy, as well as creative expression through various projects, workshops, etc. From my own experience, I notice that there is no difference between girls and boys in their studies. Nor do employees differentiate between us. There were students in our class who attended computer schools, as well as those who had no prior knowledge in this field. Regardless of gender, some had to work harder to make up for the backlog during their studies. I think we girls are by nature very creative, professional and we strive to achieve our goals. I believe that even though we are a minority, we have enormous potential and it is in our hands to seize it. Therefore, girls should be encouraged in primary and secondary school to choose to study ICT, as ICT is becoming an increasing part and a growing need of our daily lives.«Vasilka Saklamaeva