The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser ElKady, accompanied by the Governor of Luxor Mohamed Badr, inaugurated, today, the First Conference on ICT for Women, under the theme “Awareness, Capacity Building, Role Models”, organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), in Luxor, on March 30 to April 1.
The Conference is organized in cooperation and partnership with the National Council for Women, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Microsoft, Telecom Egypt (TE) and the Governorate of Luxor. The Conference is held in conjunction with the International Women's Day, where 2017 has been dubbed the Year of Women in Egypt. The opening ceremony was attended by the President of the National Council for Women Maya Morsi.
The Conference aims to raise awareness of Egyptian women and girls—particularly in Upper Egypt— of the significance of integrating ICTs in all aspects of life to take advantage of the benefits of women's abilities and help them overcome the challenges they face in society.
In his speech at the opening session of the Conference, ElKady said that MCIT is keen to support, raise awareness of and provide training to girls and women, enabling them to use ICTs in their academic and career life. He stated that MCIT launched the "ICT for Women" initiative in 2016 for empowering females in the ICT fields, and established the ICT for Women portal: http://www.ictforwoman.gov.eg, during Cairo ICT 2016 held in November. The portal provides optimal opportunities for Egyptian women to learn and compete in the labor market; opens new horizons; helps them to hold managerial positions; and enhances their political participation in society.
Moreover, the ICT Minister said Luxor governorate was chosen to launch the Conference in line with MCIT keenness to communicate directly with women and girls in Upper Egypt. The target is to support Egyptian women and develop girls’ skills in Upper Egypt to use ICT tools and encourage more of them to enroll in scientific faculties. In the coming period, several relevant conferences are due to be held in other governorates of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, he added.
During the first session of the conference, MCIT Director of Central Department for Information and Decision Support and the Conference Chair Nagwa El-Shenawi presented a number of key indicators that refers to the percentages of ICT uses in the Egyptian society. The percentage of males who use computers is 49.2% of total males, while the percentage of females is 41.9% of total females in 2015/2016, with an increase of 13% compared to 2011/2012. The use of the Internet is 40.8% for males and 34.8% for females for the same year, with an increase of about 15% for females, compared to 2011/2012. El-Shenawi also hailed the distinguished and great attendance of female students and entrepreneurs in different Upper Egypt governorates and the active participation of the students of South Valley University— Luxor and Qena branches, and Aswan University.
The portal is designed to be a comprehensive website related to women and ICTs relevant issues. It provides many services including the latest indicators, publications, initiatives and contributions of international and regional organizations. This is in addition to providing training and e-learning opportunities and access to vacant job opportunities required by local and international ICT companies. Furthermore, it displays news and events related to women and ICTs and success stories of female entrepreneurs in various fields.
During the three-day Conference, sessions and workshops were held, aiming to build the capacities of women and girls in two ways: a technical side for students of scientific faculties, and an administrative one for students of literary faculties, where students of technical disciplines participated in developing ICT prototypes, from which distinguished ones were selected and incubated by specialized entities.
The conference is scheduled to conclude on Saturday; a number of training courses with different parallel tracks— which entail a number of technological applications are to be held. It will also feature organizing competitions, useful for female entrepreneurs to launch small businesses. Moreover, certificates will be awarded to trainees.