New UN report shows closing the gender divide can save lives in emergencies, including pandemics

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) released a joint report under the title ‘Women, ICT and Emergency Telecommunications: Opportunities and Constraints.’ The new report found that the digital gender divide is hindering women from becoming equal stakeholders in society and hence making them vulnerable during emergencies. In this vein, it looks at the importance of advancing gender equality in disaster risk management and leveraging context-appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs) which are essential to support women’s ability to prepare for, survive, and recover from disasters. The report further showcases good practices on how to enable women to have inclusive access to, and use of ICTs, and highlights a way forward to reduce gendered disaster vulnerability as well as the gendered digital divide. ‘The good practices put forward in the report, such as including women in all aspects of ICT development and disaster risk reduction, aim to help decision-makers ensure that they get access to the digital tools that can play such an important role in their own safety and security, and that of their families and communities,’ noted ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.