With more than 40 male participants from the Pacific region, three Ni-Vanuatu women had successfully participated in the recent 5-day 31st Pacific Network Operators Group (PacNOG) training conducted at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Emalus Campus.

“Just because it’s a male dominated field its doesn’t mean women can’t be part of it…I do believe that more female should participate in this world of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)…if men can do it, so can we,” said one of the female participants, Emma Scadeng.

Another female participant, Cynthy Sandrina Hosea, believes that breaking societal and cultural barriers where women are seen as inferior, and only doing what they are told, will help a female as an individual, to excel in her career especially in the ICT industry.

“It comes back to our traditional cultures as men always the head and we women are only allowed to speak or do things when we are told to do in our level of custom and respect and other ways of doing things. To be an ICT professional, you have to break this barrier, overlooked it, or you will never grow your knowledge up in an ICT world,” she said.

Jennifer Vira Alilee, the third Ni- Vanuatu female participant, stressed that nowadays, everything encompasses of ICT, therefore more females should start engaging themselves in this field of work.

“We want to encourage gender equality in work forces, so more females should be encouraged to attend this workshop in the future,” said the Policy Manager in the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), Mr. Joseph Robert,

“I would like to encourage the Ni- Vanuatu females to engage more in the ICT industry in Vanuatu…it is a growing and very demanding industry…you will be well placed, in terms of Job Security.”

The women relayed that their biggest challenge throughout the training was that they were nervous on the first day, to ask questions or speak up, seeing the room filled with, not just men from Vanuatu but from other Pacific countries as well.

“On the other hand, I am proud of myself to be one for the few women among these men to have the same knowledge information based on ICT/networking, experiences and more, with all those ICT men,” said Mrs. Hosea.

“Thanks to all ICT male out there, to be giving us women the space in learning our way up seeing a potential in us that we all can do whatever we think and believe we can become and be who we are, as ICT technicians.”

The PacNOG training is an annual event that was first established in 2004 as a mailing list for Internet Service Provider (ISP) operations engineers in the Pacific region, who participated in the ISP Routing Workshop held in Fiji in August 2004.

This is the 31st training since its initiation, and this is its third time it is hosted by the Vanuatu government through OGCIO, with support from USP Emalus Campus, Governance for Growth (GfG), Vodafone, Digicel and Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR).