Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams (2nd right seated) shares a light moment with participants in the Caribbean.Girls.Hack 2019 Hackathon. Sharing in the moment also are (from left): Canadian High Commissioner Laurel Peters (seated), Co-founder of SheLeadsIT Ms. Bridget Lewis, Managing Director, Spectrum Management Authority Dr. Maria Myers-Hamilton and Co-founder of SheLeadsIT Ms. Nicole Pitter Patterson.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, the Hon. Fayval Williams says more women are needed in technology as Jamaica positions itself to become a knowledge-based and digitally inclusive society.
She was speaking at the Jamaican leg of the Caribbean.Girls.Hack-2019 Hackathon held at the Chinese Benevolent Association on May 14, 2019.
“In a rapidly changing technological era, we cannot afford to have distinctions between men and women. I believe that you, our girls and women, have tremendous knowledge that when harnessed, can contribute to building a strong technology infrastructure for Jamaica,” Minister Williams said.
Minister Williams also called for bridging the digital gender divide so that both males and females can use the advances in technology as catalysts for development.
“Technology ought not to be seen as a man’s world but it is indeed our world, that includes both males and females alike. Technology is a great enabler and driver for growth and it is essential that we have a digitally inclusive society where both men and women can actively participate and share for the benefit of this nation,” she said.
In pointing to a 2018 ICT in Education Research conducted by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Minister Williams encouraged more ladies to, ”get enrolled in ICT disciplines especially at the tertiary level.”
The study showed that based on enrollment in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) for Information Technology, there was no significant difference between males and females. However, a gender disparity (3 to1 male to female ratio) was evident at four of our leading tertiary institutions at the undergraduate level.
The study captured data from the 2013/2014 to 2017/2018 academic year from the University of Technology, Jamaica, Northern Caribbean University, University of the West Indies (Mona) and the Vocational Training Development Institute.
In observance of International Telecommunication Union’s Girls in ICT Day which was celebrated on April 25, the Ministry partnered with SheLeadsIT and Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC Tech Clubs) to stage a two-month interactive experience in the use of technology to address the societal issues of gender-based violence and climate change and resilience.
The hackathon will also take place in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It will allow girls to meet, form solid networks, hack and have fun while creating stronger regional ties between Caribbean countries.