Women in ICT Feature

Women deliver. They lead. They help foster better and more connected communities. One of these remarkable women is Director Sittie Rahma V. Alawi of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) – Mindanao Cluster 2

In her seven months of service, Director Alawi had been working to provide better Internet connectivity services to the Filipino people.

She managed to ceremonially turnover 168 free Internet hotspots for the Provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental on March 7, 2021 under the DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program. Under her leadership, the DICT MC2 plans to roll out these Free Wi-Fi hotspots with a total of 300 including those for CARAGA Region on the 2nd quarter of this year 2021.

“Personally, this is special to me—as a Moro, being able to be given equal services provided to other Filipinos says a lot about how our Government cares and pay attention to the welfare of all its citizens,” Director Alawi shared.

“By providing internet connectivity, it bridges the digital divide – we open opportunities to these communities, we give them a chance to have a better life, and we make them feel socially relevant,” she added.

She shared that the greatest challenge of implementing connectivity programs, especially in conflict-ridden areas, was the mobilization and security of the personnel and equipment involved. There is also a lack of digital infrastructure due to the absence of telcos or internet services providers in select areas.

To this end, their team had been closely coordinating with military and local government units during program implementations.

She believes that Philippine Internet be improved, particularly in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and in conflict areas, when the government has to prioritizes the buildup of digital infrastructure.

Director Alawi is also passionate about advocacies relating to women in tech, diversity and inclusion.

She believes that few women are pursuing a career in the field of ICT because the industry is still dominated by men and women are underrepresented. Similarly, she feels that it is important to engage more women in the tech field for them to contribute more diversity of ideas and to encourage the future generations that ICT is not only for men.

“Break the myth that women have non-technical minds.Schools as early as primary should encourage girls to actively participate in science/technology related activities/programs. Companies should have equal footing in terms of representation, salary, career growth and opportunities both for men and women employees,” Director Alawi asserted.

When asked about her message for women who wish to pursue a career in ICT, Director Alawi stated: “Just go for it, if ICT is your passion don’t be discouraged and doubt yourself, show them what you can—use that stubbornness as a woman to showcase what you’re capable of stand tall!