In the words of Israa Gamal: “There are talented women out there not only working in the ICT sector but actually leading the way in that field”
Israa Gamal Mohie El-Din, graduated from the Department of Food Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, in 2015. She currently works as a freelance marketing consultant to different companies and was part of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) team at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Mohie El-Din took part in the ICT training provided under the UN Women/UNIDO Egypt Joint Programme ‘Rabeha’, which is implemented in partnership with the National Council for Women (NCW), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), with the generous support of the Government of Canada.
Israa Gamal Mohie El-Din at an ICT career day for women job-seekers organized for Rabeha participants on 20 October 2022 at Sultana Malak Palace. Photo: UN Women/Hady Elzeniry
“It all started when I was searching for organizations that provide grants in the ICT sector. When I came across one, I discovered that it only accepted applicants who had graduated within the last five years, and I had graduated over seven years ago. Of course, I was disappointed at the time, but I kept looking for different grants. Then, I came across UN Women Egypt’s Facebook page, where they had a post announcing the ‘Rabeha’ programme. Although the deadline was only one day away, I still had the chance to apply. It was like a message to never give up.
I applied to the ICT training track and got accepted. The training introduced us to the basics of software testing and the trainers maintained a dialogue with various participants and groups of learners. Their strong communication and interpersonal skills provided us with essential guidance.
What really benefited me in the training was the introduction to JAVA script. Learning JAVA opens up your possibilities in coding. Learning JAVA can open doors to develop large systems, software, mobile applications and even create mobile apps.
Learning JAVA was in fact the key to being chosen for the COP27 ICT team. When I first applied to join, I had to do a test, which included JAVA skills, and I successfully managed to pass as I had an intensive background thanks to the training I received. Also, being introduced to software testing made it easy to figure out any device troubleshooting at COP and solve it.
Of course, I faced some challenges joining this field. First, given my educational background as an agriculture graduate and second as a female joining a field that is dominated worldwide by men, I used to hear jokes that I’m the only woman interested in this field. However, I was never offended by what they said. I actually thought that this is what makes me different. I also received huge support from my family and close friends, which helped me a lot during my journey.
Participating in the ICT career day and seeing all these women around me made me happy and proud. The Information and Communications Technology field has long been breaking barriers and making new waves for human innovation and technological advancement. And there are talented women out there not only working in the ICT sector but actually leading the way in that field. I want to inspire women seeking to pursue their career in the ICT field and highlight the value women can bring to the industry.
I believe it’s time that schools and parents encourage women working in the STEM system, so as to set positive examples for girls to help them imagine their own paths and pursue studies and careers that promote ICT opportunities. My advice to young women is to just start. It’s never easy but it’s also never impossible.”
*The ICT trainings are delivered by the Egyptian Council for Training and Development (ECTD) under the Rabeha Joint Programme.