Bhutan celebrates Girls in ICT Day with GovTech challenge

Today is International Girls in ICT Day. The day is aimed at inspiring girls and young women to pursue careers in Information and Communications Technology. Globally, there is a huge disparity of women and girls’ representation in STEM-related fields. In Bhutan, there are still challenges with low participation of women and young girls in ICT and STEM fields. To address this, the Government Technology Agency, GovTech, organised a competition for women professionals and college students to encourage their involvement in the ICT fields.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, women are under-represented in the ICT field. Globally, women constitute only 22 per cent of AI workforce.

In the private sector, they hold less than one-third of tech jobs and earn 21 per cent less than men.

To mark the day, GovTech organised a competition where 13 groups of women professionals and college students presented various ICT and STEM projects. The winners were awarded cash prizes ranging from Nu 10,000 to 17,000.

Sherig AI took first place followed by Going Beyond Boundaries in second place and Dzongkha Text to Speech secured third place.

“The charm of this Sherig AI is that we have an AI tutor called NO LA which guides the students to solve the problem step by step. Unlike other chatbots, it serves as a patient guide that will guide the students without spoon-feeding them and instead give them the procedures and process step by step. I am happy that I won the competition today,” said Tsheltrim Pemo, a participant.

An official from the GovTech said that celebrating the day is significant as it highlights the need to address the gender gap in ICT and STEM careers.

“In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis on the technology for the development of the nation. The global trend says that the engagement of girls and women in ICT and stem fields is very low. For this reason, the International Telecommunications Union started marking Girls in ICT Day and celebrating this day allows us to inculcate interest among young girls and students to take up careers in ICT and STEM fields and then help the nation,’’ said Kiran Kumar Pradhan, officiating head of the Telecom and Space Division, GovTech Agency.

The International Telecommunications Union started celebrating International Girls in ICT Day in 2011 to foster women’s interest in the field of ICT and STEM.

Sonam Yuden

Edited by Sonam Pem

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