BEIRUT: A joint initiative between five Lebanese NGOs to deliver hands-on IT workshops to young women aims to bridge the gender gap in the Lebanon.
Over 1,500 students have participated in workshops across the country since “Girls Got IT” launched in 2016, with its fifth edition held Friday in Tyre having gathered over 450 students.
The workshops educate female students on the latest innovations in technology and digital literacy and equip them with hands-on skills in science, engineering and mathematics.
The initiative, which is supported by UNICEF’s Youth Innovation Labs program and funded by the Netherlands, is led by the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) in collaboration with the Education Ministry.
LLWB collaborates with four other NGOs - Arab Women in Computing, Women in Technology, Women in Engineering, and Digital Opportunity Trust.
“The involvement of women in the field of technology is an effective and fundamental step towards sustainable development in Lebanon,” Inaya Ezzeddine, Minister of State for Administrative Development, was quoted as saying in a joint statement released Monday.
“The time has come to build a new partnership between technology and development, in which individuals in general and women in particular, can develop their abilities and allow them to enhance their personal lives and their communities,” she added.
UNICEF inaugurated its first “Innovation Lab” in November, with a network of 14 labs all over Lebanon. “The presence ... will not only provide access to digital and entrepreneurial skills for the youth population in the country, but will also provide the needed skills and support to these young girls and adolescents,” UNICEF representative Tanya Chapuisat said.
Asmahan Zein, president of the LLWB, said the initiative has a “nationwide agenda” that aims to “augment and diversify career opportunities” for the young participants.
Through the workshops, women experiment with various career options and develop the necessary skills for the field.
“The main goal ... is to promote digital literacy amongst young girls by introducing them to various careers, enriching their knowledge and developing their skills in digital and STEM fields, thus bridging the gender gap in Lebanon,” Chapuisat said.
The next edition of “Girls Got IT” will be held in Beirut in February, 2018.