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Championing Gender Equality in the Digital Age: What Role for Governments?

Championing Gender Equality in the Digital Age: What Role for Governments?

During this year's Internet Governance Forum in Berlin,IGF2019 a roundtable discussion took place at the EQUALS initiative of the International Telecommunications Union.

Participants from the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications (MTITC) were invited to participate by sharing Bulgarian initiatives for women's equality and women's participation in ICT in particular. ЕQUALS‏ @equals Nov 26

EQUALS kicked off its presence at IGF2019 bright and early in the morning with a round table breakfast with governments working to close the digital gender gap. ЕQUALS‏ @equals Nov 26.

This round table discussion, hosted by the EQUALS Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age,  convened  government representatives and policy-makers to discuss policies and actions to increase the participation of women and girls in ICTs to advance Agenda 2030.

Around the world, being able to access and use digital technologies is increasingly essential to full social inclusion. Basic digital skills are becoming just as important as basic literacy and numeracy skills – and the technology sector is the world’s fastest-growing source of new jobs. Yet women and girls are finding themselves excluded from the many benefits of this new digital age. The global digital gender divide already means women have significantly less access to technologies like the Internet and mobile telephony – and figures just released by ITU show that this gap is getting worse, particularly in the regions where women and girls could benefit most from digital empowerment. At the same time, the ICT sector is one of the most male-dominated in the world; fewer than 20 per cent of technology degrees now go to women, and those who do work in the sector complain of discrimination, poor opportunities for advancement and a “bro” culture that prompts most female professionals to quit the sector within five years.

With the pace of technological change rapidly increasing and the digital gender divide increasing along with it, there is growing urgency to reverse this trajectory of inequality.

Building on examples of governments that are leading the charge for digital gender equality, this session  engaged  representatives attending the 2019 Internet Governance Forum in Berlin in a lively discussion around the vital role of the public sector in accelerating progress towards digital gender equality.

Launched in 2016 by founding partners the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), GSMA, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations University and UN Women, EQUALS contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in three areas underscored by evidence-based research to ensure gender equality in the tech sector.

Achieving parity in access to the internet and digital devices
Ensuring that women and girls have the digital skills they need to participate in the all aspects of modern life, and increasing the number of women with the skills to pursue careers in tech
Increasing the number of women in leadership positions – whether in tech companies or as entrepreneurs in women-led SMEs.

EQUALS convenes private sector entities, governments, international organizations, universities and research institutes, and civil society organizations to set and achieve specific, measurable commitments to close the digital gender gap around the world.

This event is an opportunity for  government officials to learn more about EQUALS and explore opportunities to leverage this global initiative to achieve the shared goal of empowering women and girls through ICTs.

The session was opened by Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU and closed by the Secretary General of the ITU, Hualin Zao.

The Secretary General congratulated Bulgaria and mentioned in particular the Bulgarian women leaders Kristalina, Irina and Maria.

The evening also saw the award ceremony of the winners in different categories of the EQUALS initiative, which was attended by representatives of MTITC. ЕQUALS‏ @equals Nov 26



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