Measuring Gender Digital Inequality in the Global South

10 Oct 2023 01:00h - 01:30h UTC

Event report

Speakers and Moderators

Table of contents

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Knowledge Graph of Debate

Session report

Gitanjali Sah

A handbook has been developed to address the need for making digital policies and programs more gender-responsive. This handbook is the result of assessing successful gender-responsive strategies in 19 countries. It highlights the importance of government support in facilitating effective gender mainstreaming practices. Governments can aid these practices by providing technology, free internet access, or physical infrastructure. Examples of successful government support include the provision of laptops and mobile phones. Collaboration among stakeholders, including the private sector, governments, and international organizations, is key to successful gender mainstreaming. The handbook emphasizes the significance of partnerships in achieving this goal.

Furthermore, the handbook suggests that gender mainstreaming should be interconnected across different sectors. Successful practices are often intersectoral, involving multiple ministries and sectors to ensure gender inclusion. Recommendations for mainstreaming gender in digital policies include incorporating a specific objective in national strategic documents that focuses on women and girls. The handbook also advises implementing projects or programs that specifically address the needs of women and girls. Furthermore, setting gender criteria for assessing project proposals is recommended to actively promote gender mainstreaming.

The sentiment towards these initiatives is generally positive. The creation of the handbook represents a significant step forward in mainstreaming gender in digital policies and programs. By incorporating successful strategies from various countries and emphasizing the importance of government support and collaboration, the handbook provides valuable guidance for policymakers and stakeholders in the field. The recommendation of intersectoral collaboration and gender-specific objectives and criteria further strengthens the approach to gender mainstreaming. It is clear that gender mainstreaming is crucial for achieving gender equality and reducing inequalities, and these initiatives serve as important tools for positive change.

Audience

During the discussion, the speakers highlighted the significant role that leadership plays in promoting women's businesses and shaping inclusive policymaking. They stressed the importance of leadership actively working towards inclusivity to create a more equal and balanced society.

Additionally, the speakers acknowledged the ongoing efforts in the areas of digital skills and education. They recognized the importance of these initiatives in equipping individuals with the necessary tools and knowledge for the digital era. However, they expressed concern about the lack of inclusive policymaking in these fields.

One of the speakers shared the opinion that although progress is being made in terms of digital skills and education, there is still much room for improvement in terms of inclusive policymaking. They argued that policies should be more inclusive and take into consideration various social, economic, and gender-related factors. This is crucial to ensure equal access and opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background.

The discussion concluded on a neutral note, without a clear endorsement or criticism. However, it emphasized the importance of elevating the role of leadership in women's businesses and policymaking towards inclusivity. It also highlighted the need to strengthen inclusive policymaking in areas such as digital skills and education.

From this analysis, it is evident that there is a recognition of the positive impact that leadership and inclusive policymaking can have on promoting gender equality and reducing inequalities. There is also a call for policymakers to prioritize inclusivity in their decision-making processes.

Michael Best

Professor Michael Best emphasised the importance and value of the Equals Coalition in bridging the gender digital divide. The Equals Coalition is a global partnership of organisations that aim to promote gender balance in the technology sector. It is supported by leading research coalitions including KAIST and Georgia Tech. Professor Best himself is a founding member of the Equals Coalition. The gender digital divide refers to the inequality in access to and use of digital technologies between men and women. By highlighting the Equals Coalition, Professor Best acknowledges its efforts in addressing this issue and working towards creating a more equitable digital landscape.

Furthermore, Professor Best acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Ara Basay and Nancy Hafkin in the Equals Global Partnership and the inaugural 'Taking Stock' Report. Dr. Ara Basay, the former director of the gender technology lab at the UNU Computing and Society Institute, played a crucial role in the partnership. Nancy Hafkin, regarded as the dean of gender and ICTs, published her first research report on gender and digital divide issues in 1976. The 'Taking Stock' Report, edited by Dr. Ara Basay and Nancy Hafkin and contributed by 53 researchers globally, is a significant publication that sheds light on gender equality and reduced inequalities in the digital realm.

Moreover, Professor Best advocates for a data-driven approach to addressing the global gender digital divide. The Equals Global Partnership is built on the core principle of driving by data, which means driving with research. Professor Best believes that understanding the global gender digital divide and devising strategies to combat it require a comprehensive understanding of the issue, which can only be achieved through data-driven analysis. This aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals and its emphasis on collaboration and evidence-based decision-making.

In conclusion, Professor Best highlights the significance of the Equals Coalition in bridging the gender digital divide. He acknowledges the contributions of Dr. Ara Basay and Nancy Hafkin in the Equals Global Partnership and the 'Taking Stock' Report. Additionally, he emphasises the importance of a data-driven approach in understanding and combating the global gender digital divide. By shedding light on these key points, Professor Best contributes to the ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and reduce inequalities in the technology sector.

Moon Choi

KAIST, in collaboration with Georgia Tech and other institutions, is actively committed to achieving sustainable development goals and advancing gender equality. They approach gender inequality from various angles, including access to opportunities, development of skills, and promotion of leadership roles. This commitment is reflected in their participation in the eCourse project, which aims to address gender inequality and contribute to sustainable development goal number five.

The annual report, which involves collaboration from 53 authors, focuses on three key themes: access, leadership, and skills. The primary objective of the report is to provide practitioners and policymakers with the necessary information and insights to make informed decisions in order to foster gender equality. By consolidating the expertise and experiences of the authors, the report aims to offer valuable intelligence essential for envisioning strategies and implementing effective policies.

Furthermore, the report offers opportunities for researchers to contribute by either submitting a chapter or a case study. The chapters are expected to be between 4,000 and 6,000 words, while case studies should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. This inclusive approach invites diverse perspectives and encourages researchers to share their knowledge and insights in tackling gender inequality.

Professor Moon Choi, the head of the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy at KAIST, plays a pivotal role in the eCourse Research Coalition, demonstrating KAIST's deep involvement in the project and dedication to achieving gender equality. Professor Choi's leadership and expertise contribute significantly to the coalition's efforts towards sustainable development and gender equality.

The report exhibits a multi-sectoral approach by recruiting authors from the government, non-profit, and business sectors. This diverse participation ensures a comprehensive understanding and representation of various perspectives to address gender inequality effectively. In translating research findings into actionable practices, the report aims to bridge the gap between research and implementation, fostering tangible progress in the pursuit of gender equality.

Notably, Professor Moon Choi encourages the submission of statements of interest related to inclusive policymaking. This inclusive approach welcomes individuals from various sectors, including the private sector, to contribute their ideas and expertise. This collective effort and collaboration further enrich the report, enhancing its potential impact on policy and practice.

In conclusion, KAIST, alongside Georgia Tech and other institutions, is actively engaged in the eCourse project towards achieving sustainable development goals and gender equality. The annual report, written by a diverse group of authors, focuses on access, leadership, and skills, providing valuable intelligence for practitioners and policymakers. Professor Moon Choi's leadership and involvement in the eCourse Research Coalition reflect KAIST's dedication to advancing gender equality. The report's inclusive approach invites chapters and case studies from researchers, encouraging diverse perspectives to address gender inequality effectively. By translating research findings into practices, the report aims to bridge the gap between research and implementation, fostering tangible progress.

Tamara Dancheva

Tamara Dancheva, the senior international relations manager with the Digital Gender Inclusion Task Force for the GSMA, plays a prominent role in promoting gender equality in the digital age. She is also the co-chair of the Equals Skills Coalition, further demonstrating her dedication to this cause.

Tamara introduces the GSMA and the Equals Global Partnership, which share the goal of promoting gender equality in the digital age. This partnership aims to create inclusive innovation ecosystems for women and girls in social innovation and entrepreneurship. It is important to note that this project receives funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme, highlighting its recognition and support at the international level.

The project Tamara is involved in specifically aims to bridge the gap for girls and women in social innovation and entrepreneurship, helping them overcome the challenges and obstacles they face in this field. By identifying and addressing the so-called "valley of debt" that often hampers progress, this project strives to create smart, sustainable, and inclusive innovation ecosystems.

To achieve this, the project has conducted extensive research and held focus group discussions in 22 countries. Through these activities, four fundamental elements for an innovation-friendly environment have been identified. This valuable insight has led to the formulation of key policy recommendations for promoting gender-inclusive innovation standards.

Tamara emphasizes the importance of a gender-inclusive innovation standard, signifying her commitment to ensuring that women and girls have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed in the field of innovation. She highlights that gender-transformative innovations form the core of the gender-inclusive innovation standard, going beyond the mere creation of products and services. This focus on transformative change aims to address the underlying barriers and biases that exist in the innovation ecosystem.

In addition to promoting gender-inclusive innovation standards, Tamara also encourages the use of gender-inclusive language. As a key recommendation of the project, this call is supported by the publication of a vocabulary guide detailing the steps needed for implementing gender-inclusive language. This approach contributes to fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment in all aspects of communication and discourse.

In conclusion, Tamara's role and involvement in various initiatives, projects, and partnerships highlight her dedication to promoting gender equality in the digital age. Her work in creating inclusive innovation ecosystems for women and girls, as well as her advocacy for gender-inclusive innovation standards and language, is crucial in breaking down barriers and creating a more equitable future.

Moderator

The Equals Coalition is a global partnership that aims to promote gender balance in the technology sector. It champions equality of access, skills, and leadership for both women and men. This coalition includes organizations such as KAIST, a leading research institution, and Professor Michael Best from the Georgia Institute of Technology who is influential in the fields of computing and global development. The coalition is actively seeking authors to contribute their writings to further their mission.

The Equals Global Partnership is embarking on a three-year project to create smart, sustainable, and inclusive innovation ecosystems for women and girls in social innovation and entrepreneurship. This project, co-led by GSMA and funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, focuses on four main objectives: raising awareness of the gender gap, encouraging sustainable collaboration, involving young people in the design process, and creating better opportunities for women and girls.

The coalition also recommends a gender-inclusive innovation standard based on research and focus group discussions conducted in 22 countries. This standard aims to create an ecosystem that allows products and services to develop in a manner critical for sustainable development.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) places great importance on gender digital inclusion in digital policies. ITU Secretary General - Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin recognizes the significance of addressing gender inequality in digital policies. Consequently, a Handbook on mainstreaming gender in digital policies has been developed. The handbook includes successful gender-responsive policies, strategies, programs, and projects from around the world.

However, women still face challenges in benefiting from the digital revolution. These challenges include limited access to digital technologies, lack of digital skills, limited access to digital finance, and inadequate representation in digital leadership roles. The institutional setup for implementing gender-responsive policies does not differ significantly from other digital policies, highlighting the need for specific measures and government support to address gender equality in digital space.

Successful gender mainstreaming in digital policies requires efficient collaboration between governments, the private sector, and international organizations. Strong partnerships, based on good collaboration, are crucial for achieving the goals of gender equality in the digital realm.

KAIST and Georgia Tech are partnering on the eCourse vision, which focuses on gender equality as an essential element for achieving sustainable development goals. This collaborative effort aims to leverage the expertise of both institutions to drive progress in this area.

Additionally, the eCourse group publishes annual reports to document their work and progress. The most recent report, published in 2019 and authored by 53 individuals, discussed various themes such as assessment, leadership, and skills. The group is currently calling for authors to contribute to the upcoming annual report, providing an opportunity for individuals from different sectors to share their expertise.

Moon Choi, from KAIST, is interested in recruiting authors from the government, non-profit, and business sectors. The aim is to translate research findings into practical solutions and initiatives that will benefit women and girls in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship.

In conclusion, the Equals Coalition, along with partners such as KAIST and Professor Michael Best, is actively working towards promoting gender balance in the technology sector. Their efforts include initiatives such as the three-year project to create inclusive innovation ecosystems and the development of a gender-inclusive innovation standard. ITU prioritizes gender digital inclusion and has developed a handbook on mainstreaming gender in digital policies. However, challenges persist, and government support, collaboration, and gender-responsive policies are essential for achieving gender equality in the digital world.

Speakers

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Audience

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Gitanjali Sah

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Michael Best

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Moderator

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Moon Choi

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Tamara Dancheva

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