World Radiocommunication Conference Event
Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto
Palais des Nations, Room XXV
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Good evening, everybody. It’s great to see such a talented and energized group of women and men engaged in ICTs. Information and communications technologies are all around us — changing the way we work, live, and communicate.
Unfortunately, study after study shows that women are vastly under-represented in ICT and STEM fields and in leadership positions. Statistics from major tech companies — including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn — reveal that, broadly speaking, the number of women in tech jobs is well under 20%.
That’s just unacceptable, especially when ITU estimates a global skills shortfall of over two million ICT jobs in the coming ten years. We need to empower women — all of you — to enable you to play a critical role in this important and fast-moving sector.
I said it at last year’s GEM-TECH Awards at the ITU Plenipot and I’ll say it again — “There is no better way to bring women into the economy and to facilitate their full participation in society than by enabling them to succeed through training in and access to ICTs.”
There are only 38 women in the U.S. delegation to the WRC — 38 out of 170. We all need to do better. I agree with Julie Zoller, the Deputy Head of our delegation, who said recently that “It is essential that women take part in shaping the future of ICTs.” It’s essential. And I think all the women delegates who participated in UNITAR’s first “Women’s Leadership Workshop” last Sunday will agree.
International Geneva is doing its part. It’s in this spirit that U.N. Director-General Michael Møller and I recently launched a new leadership network called Geneva Gender Champions focused on advancing gender equality. Already, more than 65 Ambassadors and heads of International Organizations based in Geneva have made specific commitments — commitments that will drive real institutional change.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Secretary-General Zhao for signing on as a Gender Champion and making women’s digital empowerment and full participation in the digital society one of his key objectives.
Under this initiative, the ITU has committed to amend its recruitment procedures to increase the number of female candidates. It has also committed to track and publish the numbers of female delegates attending ITU conferences and meetings, and to recognize delegations with the highest level of female representation.
I hope this tracking starts today with the WRC and I look forward to analyzing and building upon the initial data.
According to Global Tech Women, less than 1% of women in technical fields connect with other technical women outside of their organization on a regular basis.
Networking and mentorship are proven drivers of success, so any strategy to empower women must have these tools at its core. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned negotiator, mentors can play a critical role at all points in your career. I’ve certainly benefited throughout my career from great mentors and a strong network of peers.
Which is why I applaud the Federal Communications Commission for its WeLead initiative, with its goal of raising women’s voices throughout the ICT community, and its efforts to help establish and nurture valuable relationships both here in Geneva and back home in your workplaces.
The FCC could not have chosen a better time to launch this initiative than the WRC — in a world where radiocommunications play an increasingly important role in connecting people.
It is my pleasure to introduce Mindel De La Torre, the architect of WeLead, who will tell us more about this exciting initiative.