Helping Shape the Future of Women and Girls in Latin America Through Technology
An issue that has been analyzed often in the context of Latin America’s socioeconomic development, is the disparity between women and men when it comes to access to equal opportunities to improve their living and learning conditions, particularly access to technology and its use.
Girls in ICT day is a day championed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that aims to highlight the importance of governments' and private sector’s engagement in empowering women and girls through technology. The day also looks to inspire girls and young women to consider and take up careers in the technology field, where there are vast opportunities and a need for more female engagement as the sector is primarily male-dominated, especially at senior levels. At TIGO, we celebrate Girls in ICT day by reaffirming our commitment to empowering women through digital literacy and digital tools.
For years, we have worked to address the digital gender gap starting from early childhood through our flagship program Conectadas. This corporate responsibility initiative trains women and girls in Latin America on digital literacy and provides entrepreneurship tools to make the opportunities associated with the digital world accessible to them. The widespread inclusion of women in the workforce could increase continent-wide gross domestic product by up to 34 percent, according to the CAF Development Bank of Latin America. From 2017 to 2019, over 324,000 adolescent girls and women have been trained through the Conectadas program, regionally.
Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 global health crisis, access to the digital economy has become even more of a necessity. That’s why we have moved the Conectadas program to a virtual platform to continue with the work of empowering women and girls without congregating in groups. In addition, Conectadas will expand its curriculum to include chapters to address issues arising from the crisis such as mental health concerns.
In Guatemala, through our partnership with Sheva, Conectadas is already offering women and girls from 15-50 years old free online capability trainings and courses on digital tools such as google docs and digital creativity, how to take advantage of social media and social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, and Canva.
In El Salvador, TIGO’s Conectadas program has partnered with the Entrepreneurial Foundation for Social Action (FUNDEMAS) to train women business owners on technical skills and how to use technology to grow their businesses. Topics include digital sales techniques, the use of social media networks to communicate with clients, and promote their businesses, digital inventory management, personal and business development, and the safe and productive use of the Internet.
In Bolivia, TIGO is also working on empowering girls and helping their education through Conectate Segur@, another flagship program, that educates children on how to safely use and explore digital tools. This initiative is teaching girls and boys through STEAM education online -an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics in an engaging way.
Within our own organization, we also work to promote an environment of inclusion where female employees have the same opportunities to grow and succeed as male ones. From 2018 to 2019 the percentage of women in senior management positions rose 28% to 36% respectively. Our female leaders play a key role in executing the company's strategy.
For us, Girls in ICT is every day - as an opportunity to highlight our commitment to their protection, education, and inclusion.
EVP Chief External Affairs Officer
*Millicom (NASDAQ U.S.: TIGO, Nasdaq Stockholm: TIGO_SDB) is a leading provider of cable and mobile services dedicated to emerging markets in Latin America and Africa. Millicom sets the pace when it comes to providing high-speed broadband and innovation around The Digital Lifestyle® services through its principal brand, TIGO. As of December 31, 2019, Millicom operating subsidiaries and joint ventures employed more than 22,000 people and provided mobile services to approximately 52 million customers, with a cable footprint of more than 11 million homes passed. Founded in 1990, Millicom International Cellular S.A. is headquartered in Luxembourg.