Seventy-four Jamaican girls with hopes of pursuing careers in information and communication technology (ICT) are now closer to realising their dreams, thanks to communications and entertainment provider Flow.
The teenagers, aged 13 to 16, are mostly relatives of Flow employees and are enrolled in the Future Tech Stars programme – a 20-week virtual course that is focused on coding and web development.
The programme is being offered at no cost to participants by Flow’s parent company, Liberty Latin America, and is curated by the Society of Women Coders.
Director of communications at Flow Kayon Mitchell says the programme forms part of the company’s continued efforts to support the next generation of girls and young women in the technology field.
“Pursuing greater equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) isn’t just about ensuring access to ICTs today but equipping our young people, especially our girls, with the tools to become tomorrow’s ICT innovators,” Mitchell said.
She added that encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is key to ensuring a more diverse ICT sector.
The Future Tech Stars Programme was launched as part of Liberty Latin America’s International Women’s Day activities last month and forms part of its commemoration of International Girls in ICT Day.
The programme is both timely and critical. According to UNESCO, only 30 per cent of the world’s researchers are women and less than a third of women who pursue higher education opt for degrees in STEM.
“By sensitising girls and young women about career opportunities in STEM, and providing practical means of acquiring ICT skills, Flow is continuing to play its part to narrow the gender gap,” added Mitchell.
In total 800 girls will participate in the Future Tech Stars programme, which includes modules on digital and cryptocurrency, web development and coding in python.
Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April and aims to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the field.
This year’s theme for the calendar day is “Access and Safety”. As an advocate for greater EDI in ICT, Flow has annually hosted and/or supported programmes such as hackathons, workshops, school visits and rap sessions, geared towards inspiring more girls to enter the field.