"Dear girls from all over the world..."

Message from Nurjan

Nurjan Tolibova
Nurjan with friends
UNICEF Tajikistan/2020/U. Fazylova
05 October 2020

Dear girls from all over the world,

We all know that Silicon Valley today excites the young minds of the world. Decades ago, children wanted to become astronauts, now they dream of becoming programmers. Our life is inconceivable  without computers and digital technologies and this area is developing at a rapid rate. And the need for professionals in this area is enormous. Yet, most programmers are men.

Some say that programming is difficult, painstaking and that it requires a special mindset that women cannot comprehend. But there are many historical cases, when women played a key role in the development of computers and tech. Some of them like Ada Lovelace, Adele Goldberg, Marissa Mayer, Ellen Hancock are my role models. These women make me feel proud and are incredible sources of inspiration. These women worked at a time when the programming world was not accepting of women, and the world views on female roles in the labor market were completely different. And yet, they are the ones who catalyzed change.

Nurjan with the computer
UNICEF Tajikistan/2020/U. Fazylova

In a nutshell, I want to convey my message to all girls.

Follow the examples of the above role models. It’s up to you to prove to the world that programming is not more suited for boys.

Do not be afraid to study tech, regardless of the general perception of how programmers should "look like." If it’s something that you like, do it.

Also, it’s important to study digital skills, finding new ways to raise visibility and voices of girls and teens.

And do not hesitate to change the world around you and explain to others why phrases like "Why should a woman have a tech career?" are not appropriate.

Because only together can we help each other, and society overcome such harmful gender-based stereotypes.

Good luck to everyone on the way to success!

Nurjan Tolibova, 17-year-old Dushanbe, Tajikistan