On April 26th, 109 girls studying in second and third year from top 8 secondary schools in the capital city, Skopje, accompanied by their teachers, took part of the very first celebration of the international “Girls in ICT” day in the Republic of Macedonia. Girls were chosen by professors, based on their result, performance and interest in subjects such as information technologies, math’s and science.
The groups gathered on a conference at the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering in Skopje, where they were given the taste of being a university student. The session began with a warm welcome by the Deputy Minister for Information Society and Administration, in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Marta Arsovska Tomovska.
- Information and communication technologies are a great chance for women to make a successful career, she stressed. The fourth Thursday of the fourth month in the year is the day when we celebrate the female creativity and talent and we emphasize the importance of their contribution to better future of the world. She assured that the Government, and particularly the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, will always lead young people on the way to open new life perspectives.
At the conference, speeches were held by the Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, PhD Dimitar Trajanov, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Science, Mrs. Elizabeta Todorovska, Sanja Veleva, professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies, Ms. Anita Nikova, Executive Manager of Macedonian ICT Chamber and Mrs. Valentina Taseva, General Manager at Semos Education, while professor Sonja Filiposka was a moderator of the event.
During the session, it was pointed out that according to latest statistics from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia, currently, there are 6615 students enrolled on all ICT public and private faculties in the country, out of which 73% are male, while 27% are female.
Latest analyses of higher IT education in Macedonia showed that female students studying IT programs with more interdisciplinary courses have a higher success rate. Past experiences in the field indicate that female students’ choice factors are: possibility to discover or create something new, to combine different interests from different science fields, labor market need and future perspectives.
A part of the session was dedicated to the promotion of the http://www.girlsinict.mk/ portal which was designed to encourage girls and young women to take up careers in the ICT sector and where all photo and video materials of the event are placed.
All agreed with the fact that the importance of internet and IT should be recognized not just as a source of entertainment, but as a source for very useful and practical things, such as improving communication, finding valuable information, acquiring knowledge, but also for e-Business, e-Commerce and e-Government services.
After the faculty session, 8 leading IT companies in Macedonia opened their doors for the girls. The girls were divided into 8 groups. Each group visited Ericsson, T-home and T-mobile Macedonia, Nextsense, Ultra, Semos Education, Seavus, Aseeco SEE and Netcetera.
In each company they visited, girls learned about the importance of new technologies. Girls saw how developers work, how web-designers create, how system administrator administer the network and servers, how sales specialists sale ICT products and services. They also learned about procedures, benefits and challenges of this kind of working environment, how it feels to be a woman in a male dominated industry, and how more and more women are becoming leaders in this industry.
They acknowledged that 46% of ICT companies in the Republic of Macedonia are employing more than 5 males in a year. In contrast, 28% of them are employing between 1 and 5 female employees in one year. It can be concluded that generally, on an annual basis, companies are employing double males then females. On the other hand, in an average year, in 70% of companies none of the male persons left their job position, while in 83% of the companies the job positions weren’t left by women. It can be concluded that the female persons are more permanent in their positions.
Women working as CEO’s, engineers, PR managers and lawyers, all talked to the girls visiting the companies about what it’s like to work in this industry. Girls learned about how these women got to where they are. They were shown offices, call centers, programming offices. Girls were also given the opportunity to ask the women about some brief career advices and various tips on how to advance in a predominantly male industry.
Women on leading positions from companies that hosted the girls, agreed to become mentors to their group of students. They will advise them through the university educational stage, as well as in the further process of choosing a carrier. This is considered a significant step to assist and guide the girls on their way of exploring their opportunities.
Most of the girls gained an insight today in a very interesting new world, as it is, but in the same time very challenging and exciting. That is a rapidly developing and dynamic technology which forces all of us to learn all the time, but to learn with joy.
In the end it was concluded that ICT industry does not require physical predispositions. ICT industry is based on intellectual projects with high level of innovation and researching processes, thus brain and knowledge is all what is needed.
We hope that this is just a little piece that will contribute to building of future success and motivating generations to come.