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Women poised to constitute 50% of ICT workers in 10-15 years — int@j

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 26,2015 - Last updated at Feb 26,2015

AMMAN — Although women’s economic participation in most sectors in Jordan is 16 per cent or less, their involvement in the ICT sector is nearly double that figure, the ICT Association of Jordan (int@j) said Thursday.

Some 30 per cent of workers in the ICT sector in the Kingdom are women. In addition, some 30-35 per cent of start-ups in the ICT sector are founded and headed by women, according to int@j.

“With continued development of women’s skills and more empowerment, the percentage of women working in the ICT sector is expected to reach 50 per cent in the next 10-15 years,” int@j Chairman Jawad Abbassi told The Jordan Times.

“There certainly is a need for continued empowerment for women in the ICT sector,” he said.

“It does not matter if some jobs are technical ... the majority of those studying ICT majors in Jordan are women and — from experience — women in the field tend to be more talented,” Abbassi noted.

According to int@j, total direct jobs in the field reached 11,637 at the end of 2013.

Foreign direct investment registered in the sector in 2013 reached $2.4 million compared to $4.1 million in 2012. 

An Ericsson executive agreed with Abbassi, stressing that women ICT graduates in Jordan should constantly develop their capabilities and skills to compete and keep up with the pace of a fast-moving sector.

“First those female graduate students must realise the role that they can play in the ICT sector under the fast evolution that we are witnessing,” Rafiah Ibrahim, Ericsson’s head of region Middle East, told The Jordan Times.

“In the ICT industry, your gender doesn’t matter; what matters are your capabilities and the degree of responsibility you can handle,” Ibrahim said.

Stressing that the potential remains huge for women in the sector, she noted that several prominent women have been heading the ICT sphere around the world.

“Women absolutely have their place in the ICT industry,” Ibrahim added, stressing the need for more efforts and programmes to encourage them to join the sector, which contributes some 14 per cent to Jordan’s gross domestic product, according to official figures.

“By empowering girls today, we are empowering tomorrow’s generations to come,” the Ericsson executive added, noting that ICT enables women to play an active role in “development, support and dissemination networks”.

Empowerment enables women to take their place in the public space of the information society, creating resources and contributing ideas and opinions, Ibrahim noted.

She said Ericsson has launched several initiatives to empower women in the ICT field, including “Connect To Learn”, an initiative of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Millennium Promise.

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