Information technologies (IT) have become an integral part of people’s lives and they have a huge potential to serve as a tool for driving social change including empowering women and girls who face challenges originating from stereotypes and prejudices.
Against this backdrop, IT specialists, representatives from IT companies and hubs, and UN Women officials from across Central Asia came together on May 24 for an online panel discussion on the role of IT in empowering women across different cultural contexts.
Hosted by EPAM with support from UN Women, the webinar offered a space to discuss how IT can be used to empower women in the region and how various organizations support those efforts. Participants discussed the current situation in the region and the opportunities that IT presents to empower women with different cultural backgrounds.
The panelists, including Ana Pashalishvili, Programme Specialist for Women’s Entrepreneurship Acceleration at UN Women, Aiperi Nogoibaeva, Deputy CEO at the Kyrgyz Software and Services Developers’ Association, Daulet Beimurzinov, Head of Educational Programs at Astana Hub, and Nataliya Ni, Project Manager at EPAM Uzbekistan, discussed the current status in their countries and talked about educational programmes for girls and women who want to start their careers and develop in IT. The session was moderated by Eleonora Munsh, Talent Development Manager at EPAM Kazakhstan.
“Women entering the IT sector face various barriers: stereotypes and societal expectations, limited educational opportunities, gender discrimination, gender gap and wages,” noted Ana Pashalishvili, Programme Specialist for Women’s Entrepreneurship Acceleration at UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia.
“It’s not necessary to work in IT or join NGOs or other initiatives to be able to support and live in accordance with the principle of inclusiveness and diversity,” said Eleonora Munsh, Talent Development Manager at EPAM Kazakhstan.
Panelists reported about IT educational programmes for girls and women existing in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Daulet Beimurzinov, Head of Educational Programs of Astana Hub, Kazakhstan, said: “There are many women joining and actively involved in developing the IT industry, as well as many initiatives aimed at popularizing IT among girls and women in the region.”
The event was organized as part of EPAM’s Cultural Awareness Week.
Source: UN Women