UN Secretary General meets African girls who code

During the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10 girls from the African Girls Can Code Initiative  met with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, to share their experiences and what it meant for them to be part of the programme. The programme is a joint initiative of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UN Women. Over 80 girls from 34 African countries went through the program and have joined the first 10-days long Coding Camp in Addis Ababa in 2018. It offered courses on digital literacy, coding, and personal development skills, enabling them to compete for jobs in information and communication technology (ICT) field. This initiative is set to run until 2022 with the goal to reach over 2,000 girls within 18 coding camps. ITU data from 2017 shows that the African region has the widest digital gender gap in the world. ‘If more girls and women are not joining these professions, the power relations of the world will remain very male dominated’, said Guterres. He addressed the audience noting that ‘It needs a movement of girls to bring more women into the field of science and technology, including ICT.’. Few days earlier, in his statement,Guterres noted that there is need to do more in order to change current workplace culture and enable girls from are set to become scientists, engineers, or mathematicians to be able to have equal job opportunities and fulfil themselves in these fields.