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Inspiring marathon for Girls in ICT Day: 32 female speakers from the IT sphere set a National record

On April 23, 2020, a unique online marathon dedicated to the Girls in Information and Communication Technologies Day took place. For 16 hours in a row, 32 successful female IT specialists spoke about their experience and gave advice to schoolgirls and university students on how not to be afraid to go into this extremely interesting and difficult field. 

This marathon broke a record by the number of female participants and speakers and its duration and entered the Ukrainian Book of Records.

The online event was organized by СSR Ukraine, Center for CSR Development expert organization in partnership with UNFPA Ukraine, the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine within the #ДівчатаSTEM initiative. The partners were Snap Inc. and Globallogic.

Over the last decade, the employment in the STEM sphere (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) has been increasing much faster compared with other professions (24.4% vs 4.0%), and it is expected to increase in 2014-2024 by another 8.9% compared with 6.4% growth in non-STEM sectors.

“In today's world, the ICT sector is very promising, because workers in this field are less likely to face unemployment and they have higher wages. Unfortunately, women are often underrepresented in ICT, and their low engagement rates can be traced back to the school years and is due to the strong influence of gender stereotypes in society. Therefore, only 24% of women work in ICT professions, which are prestigious and high-paying. As a result, we have very few women in decision-making positions,” says Pavlo Zamostyan, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine.

The situation related to women’s involvement in this sector is not the same as it was 10 years ago. More and more girls are connecting their lives with ICT, but that number is still very small. Women account for only 20% of the total IT field. There are still a lot of stereotypes around this sphere, and the reason why we have gathered female representatives of this industry is to refute those stereotypes.

“The goal of the International Girls in ICT Day is to increase the number of women in this field by overcoming stereotypes. We decided to celebrate this day by holding a unique online marathon, which was included in the Book of Records of Ukraine in the category ‘mass events, marathons, for the first time’. Schoolgirls and university students from all over Ukraine received valuable advice on IT career planning, interviews, and work, and they really broadened their horizons in terms of the perception of ICT professions," says Marina Saprykina, Head of the Center for CSR Development, founder of the STEMGirls initiative.

The International Girls in ICT Day is an international initiative aimed at creating a global environment empowering girls and young women and encouraging them to choose a profession in the growing ICT sphere. Every year, every fourth Thursday in April, girls from all over the world motivate millions of young women to start their studies and careers in the IT industry, talk about the prospects in this field and increase employers' sensitivity to the need for promoting gender balance in the technology sector.