NASSAU, N.P – According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT), less than 30% of persons in the ICT sector worldwide are women. The nation’s leading ICT provider, BTC, is making strides to counteract this trend.
BTC recently teamed up with URCA and Cable Bahamas to launch the inaugural, “Girls in ICT Day” Celebration, a forum and career-fair designed to promote awareness of tech careers and studies to a new generation of young women. At the event, held at the Hilton Hotel on April 23rd, BTC VP of Legal and Regulatory Affairs Pauline Seymour and Eldri Ferguson-Mackey BTC VP of Marketing, Brand and Communications served as examples of women excelling within the ICT sector against international odds.
“As women in leadership in the sector, it is our duty to ensure that young women are exposed to the possibilities and opportunities available in the sector,” said Mrs. Ferguson-Mackey. “There is significant research indicating that women are under-represented in the industry globally, and that those who enter the field do not stay. We want to impress upon young Bahamian women that there is space for them in the ICT industry, not just to contribute, but to grow, excel and lead.”
BTC is no stranger to advocating for gender equality in the ICT sector. Last year August, the telecoms provider was amongst the first companies to sign on to the Caribbean Women in ICT (CWIC) programme, a Caribbean-wide initiative aimed at addressing the issues facing women in the industry at all levels. ‘The Girls in ICT Day’ celebration was one aspect of the pledge BTC gave to CWIC to make concerted efforts to improve the status of women in the sector.
Currently, BTC’s staff comprises of 57.6% women, well above the global average of 30% for the sector. Furthermore, BTC’s retention and promotion of female talent is ahead of the pack, as demonstrated by Ms. Seymour, Mrs. Ferguson-Mackey, and other women in leadership at the company. Forty-four percent of BTC’s executive staff are women, quadrupling the international average. Ms. Ferguson Mackey said that these exceptional numbers are a result of progressive policies and resolute efforts on behalf of the company.
“BTC is an equal opportunity employer, with many women helping to manage the company in a variety of departments,” she stated. “We believe in promoting talent and there has been a concerted drive to better incorporate women at all levels. As part of our commitment to the development of our employees we offer flexible technical training and e-learning suites to all; many women have made fantastic use of these programs. Through these efforts we have achieved high numbers of women in all of the company’s departments and we are seeing previously male-dominated positions occupied by more and more women.”