Choose to Challenge: International Women's Day 2021

Fontys Information and Communication Technology

Positive change by challenging progress

On 8 March, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women. The theme of this international day in 2021 is 'Choose to Challenge'. The focus is on challenging prejudice, stereotyping and inequality, and contributing to a better world. Not with protest, but by creating a positive impact on the world.

Impact on Society

The theme of International Women's Day is a good match with Fontys School of ICT's ambitions. In our ambition plans 2023, 'Impact on Society' has a prominent role; how can ICT positively contribute and impact our society? Jacqueline van den Broek, Teamlead ICT & Business, works on this theme and underlines its importance: "There is much inequality in the world, poverty versus wealth, but also the opportunities for men versus women. With our ambition theme 'Impact on Society', we focus on what impact our students can make on the lives of people by applying ICT solutions."

More than eduction in technology

As a University of Applied Science, Fontys School of ICT looks to technology as a driver of positive developments. We call it challenging progress. Jacqueline sees a big role for ICT:L" New technologies, including ICT, can create more prosperity in the world when appropriately applied.  By letting students pick and find assignments that enable them to make a difference for others, we make sure they are aware of the positive things ICT can do."

Learning about applying knowledge for bettering society is more than just technology; it's an attitude: "We have the responsibility to let students see there is more to it than companies profit margins. It's about the impact we can create on society as a whole. By letting students experience this during the time in our school, we create that awareness."

Women in ICT

ICT is still often regarded as a field of work for men. Challenging that stereotype is not a matter of words but deeds, says Jacqueline: "I want to show that women are perfectly capable of working in the ICT field. Before my career at Fontys School of ICT, I worked in a managerial position at NXP in the ICT department, and I mainly hired women to make the team more diverse. That really makes a difference, and women were equally strong in their knowledge as male candidates."

There is change happening in ICT, but it's progressing slowly: "ICT nowadays is a more common field, instead of purely technical and appealing to men. Students who opt for Fontys School of ICT as predominantly male still. That's a shame because we offer broad education which includes, next to the technical side of ICT, also Media & Business Studies in which many girls excel."

Create an impact with ICT?

Jacqueline hopes more women choose ICT. She encourages students who are orienting on their future studies to come have a look: "Come to our school, get well informed and don't let the term ICT deter you. If you want to make a difference in the social field, ICT can be a really good step towards that goal. How can you help organisations improve with ICT? How can you invent things that improve lives? How can you enable  healthcare staff to spend more time with clients after we improved registration and documentation for treatment plans with ICT-applications?"

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