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GSMA Encourages Next Generation of ‘Connected Women’ to Explore Careers in Technology

The GSMA will today host an interactive app building workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day1, the ITU’s annual global initiative to empower and encourage young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. A class of 13-year-old schoolgirls from east London school Bethnal Green Academy will visit creative hub BL-NK in London’s Tech City to gain perspectives and insights from four successful women in technology and to build their own mobile apps.

Speakers at the event include:

  • Maria Molina, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology, AT Kearney
  • Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations, Facebook
  • Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA
  • Lucy Paine, Junior Project Manager, Telefónica

Each speaker will share their personal experiences and offer words of advice to inspire the young female audience, a number of whom have yet to decide on their GCSE subjects. Members of the GSMA will also work with groups of students to mentor them for the day and share their own personal insights and experiences of working in the mobile industry. The aim of the event is to encourage these students to consider taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to explore the exciting and varied career opportunities in technology.

“There is much more to be done to encourage girls to pursue learning in subjects such as engineering and computer science, which open up possibilities of working in exciting careers in technology,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile is a particularly dynamic and vibrant area right now and it can also open up career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, for example, creating connected cars, advancing mobile commerce or even designing the master plan for a smart city. We are delighted to support the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day to help develop those critical science, technology and math skills that can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers.”

“I warmly welcome the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative to help close the ICT skills gender gap and attract and retain female talent in the mobile industry. The continued growth and development of vital tech skills and expertise in London and our major cities will ensure the future of the UK digital success story,” said Joanna Shields OBE, Chairman of Tech City UK and UK Ambassador for Digital Industries. “Digital innovation is helping us reimagine entire industries, generate economic growth and create new jobs. I hope that today’s app workshop in Tech City will inspire local schoolgirls to study STEM subjects as foundation for future, exciting careers in the technology sector."

A range of apps will be developed by the schoolgirls:

  • Beat the Bullies - resources and videos to help children who are being bullied or who think their friends are in trouble
  • Local Lowdown – activities to do in their local area including shops, socialising and maps
  • My Digital Hero - pick someone they look up to (anyone from Lady Gaga to Emma Watson) and create an app dedicated to her, featuring videos, quotes and pictures
  • Top Tech Tips - create a set of tips and tricks for new users of a specific technology (e.g. Facebook, iPhone)

“It will be great to see these London schoolgirls inspired to study STEM subjects and get a taste of the varied career opportunities in technology,” said Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations at Facebook. “There is still a way to go to increase women’s participation in the dynamic and innovative technology sector and many organisations are working to drive this change. At Facebook we strive to provide an environment that nurtures, supports and develops talent at all levels, whether female or male. It is exciting to see initiatives like this from the GSMA, which provides a hands-on experience of building mobile apps, influencing young girls’ thinking at an early stage.”

According to AT Kearney, women now account for one third of managers, directors and senior officials in the UK2. The GSMA Connected Women initiative places the mobile industry at the forefront in accelerating the rise of the female economy. This includes working together to close the ICT skills gender gap, to attract and retain female talent and to encourage female leadership in industry whilst addressing the gaps in female participation and skills that have the potential to hold back productivity and commercial success.

The Connected Women programme is focused on creating global awareness of the business case for greater involvement of women in the mobile industry and to motivate the sector to take positive action. In addition to today’s workshop, the Connected Women programme has hosted other successful events in Barcelona, London, New York and Shanghai. To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

1 For more information about Girls in ICT Day, visit http://girlsinict.org

2 The Rise of the Female Economy in B2B, AT Kearney (source: Office for National Statistics): http://www.atkearney.com/en_GB/marketing-sales/ideas-insights/the-rise-of-the-female-economy-in-b2b

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

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