The role of women in ICT in Azerbaijan was underlined in the ‘International Women in ICT Day’ conference at the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS, on 25 April 2019.
Women scientists, pedagogues and professionals working in the field of ICT, scientific and educational institutions of Azerbaijan participated in the conference. The event aimed to discuss the role of women in the ICT sector in the country, the role and prospects of ICT in addressing gender issues, ICT and gender culture, personal information security in women’s integration into virtual environments and the role of communications in the development of women’s social status in the cultural environment of Azerbaijan.
Opening the event, Academician Akif Alizadeh, president of ANAS, said that one of the important goals of the information society is to increase the role of women in information and communication technologies (ICT).
ICT, which is a technological platform of the information society, has played an important role in ensuring women’s rights and freedoms, and as well, is a means to effectively eliminate all forms of social inequalities in society.”
The number of women in academic technical professions, including the ICT sector, has increased, and this tendency has also been observed in Azerbaijan recently. In 2018, the percentage of women in technical science fields was 53%, whereas this figure for men accounted 47%.
The Chairman of the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hijran Huseynova gave a report that was focused on the role of ICT in ensuring gender equality and enhancing rights and opportunities for them.
The concept of ‘women in ICT’ seemed to be abstract for some people. When people heard the terms ‘female programmer’, ‘start-up-er’ and ‘female computer engineer’, it was surprising for them. But these stereotypes have already been shattered. Our main goal is to attract more women to this sector and support them.”
Speaking about the role and prospects of ICT in the solution of gender problems, Corresponding Member of ANAS Masuma Mammadova spoke about the factors determining women’s involvement in ICT. In the world, 20-30% of 29 million qualified specialists in the ICT sector are women. “17.2% of IT specialists in the European Union are women,” she emphasised. She presented the percentage of female IT professionals in leading ICT companies, female students in universities studying STEM in Azerbaijan, and reported on the ranking of IT graduates by gender. Also, she presented reasons for the low share of women in the ICT sector and noted that, currently, women have a great opportunity to get involved in the dynamic ICT sector.
Academician-Secretary of ANAS, Director of the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS, academician Rasim Alguliyev spoke on ‘Women and Personal Data Protection Problems’. His presentation mainly covered the normative-legal basis of personal data protection and international challenges, the protection of personal information about women’s personal and family life.
The event was followed by the presentations of Chairman of the Women Council of ANAS, Professor Rena Mirzazadeh on ‘Gender culture in ANAS and ICT’, and Laboratory Director of the Institute of Management Systems of ANAS, Gulchin Abdullayeva on ‘Women in ICT: overall picture in the international sphere and in the country’.
The conference was held on ‘International Girls in ICT Day’. Initiated by ITU Member States this day is annually celebrated on the fourth Thursday of April. The aim of this day to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICT. Every year government ministries, ICT companies, academic institutions and universities around the world celebrate this day.
The event was held jointly by the Presidium of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS.