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(ITU) ITU awards contributors to bringing more women into ICT sector

2014/10/28 11:28

By Kang Yoon-seung

BUSAN, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on Tuesday gave recognition to individuals and agencies that have promoted women's presence in information, communication and technology (ICT) industries in the first awards of their kind.

The ITU had picked 37 finalists from around 360 candidates recommended by 74 countries for the awards given in seven categories. The Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) Tech Award "seeks to create a platform for advancing women's meaningful engagement with ICTs and their role as decision-makers and producers within this sector," according to the ITU.

Winners included UNESCO, iMerit Technology Services from India, Britain-based BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) of Dominican Republic, and Foundation from the Philippines. South Africa's Association for Progressive Communications and the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology of Nigeria were also awarded.

"These awards recognize excellence, and they recognize outstanding performers and role models in gender equality and mainstreaming in ICTs," ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said at the awards ceremony. "Gender equality is very close to my heart, and I passionately believe that women and men should have equal opportunities to prove their merit."

   UNESCO was acknowledged for its e-learning platform that highlights the role of women in African history.

India's iMerit Technology was credited with efforts to help women from rural areas seek jobs in the ICT sector. BCS of Britain was also recognized for encouraging women to join the IT profession.

The Research Center for Feminist Action "improved the quality of life of girls by building their self-esteem, teaching them about collaborative work, leadership, and promoting gender awareness," the ITU said. Foundation bridged "the gender gap in ICT by empowering women... with ICT training, knowledge, entrepreneurship and skills that expand their opportunities for better lives," it said.

The Association for Progressive Communications was acknowledged for "its move to encourage women to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand as part of their activism against gender-based violence," while the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology of Nigeria was awarded for policies that aim to empower women in the ICT sector, the ITU added.

The ITU also announced five female winners of "Global Achievers," which are given to those who have committed to gender equality issues on a long-term basis -- Monique Morrow of Cisco Systems, Renee Wittemyer of Intel, ITU special envoy Geena Davis, and Alcatel-Lucent's StrongHer.

GSMA Connected Women also won the honor as an organization.

South Korea is currently hosting the 19th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, referred to as the PP-14, in the port city of Busan until Nov. 7.

The ITU is an information and communications arm of the United Nations that sets technological standards, allocates radio frequencies and satellite orbits, and works to improve the quality of communications services.