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Press Release: ICANN Celebrates International Women’s Day with Two Female Leaders at the Helm

For the first time in the organization’s 24-year history, its highest leadership roles are held by women.

Los Angeles – 8 March 2023 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is celebrating an important milestone. For the first time in its 24-year history, the organization has two women at its highest positions.

During the ICANN Annual General meeting held in Kuala Lumpur in September 2022, Malaysia, Tripti Sinha was elected ICANN Board Chair. Sinha has been a member of the ICANN community for more than 8 years and has served as ICANN Board member since 2018.

Sally Costerton, ICANN Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement, was named Interim President and CEO in December 2022. Costerton has led ICANN's global offices and internationalization strategy for more than 10 years.

Sinha is the second female Board Chair in ICANN's history. In 1998, Esther Dyson was named ICANN Board Chairman. Costerton is the first female in ICANN's history to serve in the President and CEO role.

"There are many ways that women around the world can participate in ICANN, whether they come from academia, civil society, the public or the private sector," said Costerton. "The ICANN community of Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees offers many opportunities for women to take a seat at the table, and to be at the forefront of policy-making processes that govern different aspects related to the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS)."

DNS Women is an example of how women effectively participate in the DNS space. Founded in 2009 in Mexico, DNS Women is dedicated to promoting and empowering women in the DNS industry globally. The group will hold a session next week during ICANN's public meeting, in Cancún, Mexico, as the U.S. and other countries celebrate Women's History Month.

Overcoming the gender gap in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) can enhance women's economic security and increase their opportunities. It can also help enrich the STEM field by broadening the viewpoints and preventing biases in the products produced and the services delivered, according to research by the American Association of University Women.

"Women leaders have a transformative effect on other women. Not only through mentoring, which I believe is vital to helping women succeed, but also because good representation can promote a sense of belonging. This is particularly important in the technology field," said Sinha.

The ICANN community is convening for the ICANN76 Community Forum in Cancún, Mexico, from 11 to 16 March 2023. This online and in-person event is the first of three ICANN public meetings to be held in 2023.


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

Media Contact

Alexandra Dans
Communications Director, The Americas
Montevideo, Uruguay
+598 95 831 442

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."