World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2012 Celebration
Sabda Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman on the occasion of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2012 Celebration: Theme: Women dand Girls in ICT at Indera Kayangan Ballroom, Empire Hotel & Country Club on Thursday, 17 May 2012.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and a very Good Morning
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
First, I wish to thank the organiser for the kind invitation for me to join you today, at this auspicious occasion, in celebrating the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).
I am pleased to see that this Year’s theme focuses on women and girls in ICT, emphasizing gender equality and the empowerment of women through the use of ICT all around the world.
ICT has become a key driver for development that has helped to raise standards of living for much of the world and its population.
It has proven to be a catalyst that allows our communities greater access to a wider and more diverse range of opportunities; be it economic activities, social interaction or for learning and education.
For women and girls around the world, ICT has become a channel of communication and education. It provides them with new avenues to learn, share their knowledge and to compete on an equal basis with their male peers for employment.
However we should not lose sight of the fact that ICT can only act as an enabler. In order to fully exploit the power of ICT, women and girls must be ready to learn new skills, and in particular, to embrace opportunities to use ICT for education and lifelong learning.
Alhamdulillah, under the wise and able leadership of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, through various initiatives undertaken by our governmental agencies, there have always been equal opportunities for women’s empowerment and participation in all forms of activities; be it in business, education, governance or other fields.
Hence, we can see that our younger generation of women and girls in Brunei Darussalam have thoroughly embraced the use of ICT and are very much on par with their male counterparts in terms of its usage in their everyday lives.
Indeed, we should be very proud to see that our women in Brunei Darussalam are now taking leading roles in ICT sector both ion the government and business enterprises.
This is in line with global development where more and more women are un dertaking careers at all levels in the ICT industry, including positions at the leadership or decision-making level.
Of course, we must not be complacent.
There is always room for improvement.
I would therefore encourage our women to capitalise on the opportunities provided by relevant agencies, both in the public as well as in the private sector, to develop and upgrade their knowledge and expertise in ICT.
It is only in this manner, that they will be able to pursue meaningful careers in the ICT industry.
The internet and its vast capacity for education and knowledge transfer holds amazing opportunities for everyone to learn and grow.
Whilst respecting the transformative nature of the internet as a key rationale in promoting the positive use of ICT and its applications, we also need to be mindful of the internet’s negative aspects in the form of rampant abuse of the system by irresponsible elements with manipulative, exploitative and criminal intent.
We should be cognizant of the fact that, while the targets for such abuse are not confined to women and girls, they and the young in particular, are among the most vulnerable groups to be targeted by the exploitative and deceitful schemes of criminal elements.
Hence, all stakeholders must play an active role in educating and protecting online users, especially the younger generation.
In this regard, it is imperative that there should be guidelines and advice, tailor-made particularly for women and girls, on the proper use of the internet, on how to go online safely, and especially on how to recognize the dangers posed by criminal syndicates and individuals that may seek to exploit naïve and unsuspecting women and girls to become part of or be victims of their criminal activities.
The use of social media in our nation has also multiplied exponentially, allowing users of all ages and gender to use technology to remain ever closer to family members and friends.
According to statistics compiled recently by Socialbakers, one of the biggest social media statistics portals in the world, our country ranks no. 1 in Asia in terms of Facebook usage.
Social networking in our nation continues to grow at a rapid pace. In relation to its population, Brunei ranks no. 1 among all countries in Asia in terms of penetration for the social networking site Facebook, standing at 59.25 per cent.
I am especially pleased to see that our female population is also utilizing the power and coverage of social networking in business, to advertise products from their cottage industries especially during the festive seasons.
This is a prime example of how technology can benefit micro business and individuals.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
As we celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let us all move forward and work together to ensure that ICT will continue to contribute positively to our women and girls and indeed to our nation and society as a whole.
I wish you all the best in the celebration activities and look forward to further initiatives that improve the lives of our people.
Wabillahit Taufiq Walhidayah, Wassalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.