How to bridge gender gap and inequalities in digital field?
Despite the speed through which every part of the World is getting closer and closer to digitization, it is essential to ensure accessibility to the digital world to every sector of the population, ensuring that minorities are included in the process of transformation into a digital society. Although many efforts have been made to bring women closer to digitization, stark gender inequality is pervasive in terms of access, ownership of digital devices, digital fluency and literacy as well as the capacity to make meaningful use technological resources. Even though affordability is one of the main obstacles to inclusion, there are also socio-cultural norms that restrict access for women.
Gender differences in education and employment, the wage gap between genders and cultural dissimilarities worldwide make an even distribution of digitalization arduous to achieve. Access alone is not enough! Being women in need of agency and tools to leverage access, it is necessary to assess the global gender gap and develop worthwhile indicators that contribute to the implementation of effective policies that drive adoption. The promotion of digitalization is a goal that both governments and private sectors must accomplish, along with civil society, to lead the digital adoption for women around the world.
Digital agriculture is one of the topics addressed on December 3, 2021, during the 21st edition of the Infopoverty World Conference, an annual UN Flagship Event organized by OCCAM – the Observatory on Digital Communication affiliated with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
During the event, experts have examined the gender gap in digitalization, bringing enlightening considerations to the table. Prof. Syed Munir Khasru, Prof. Tony Ojobo, Prof. Giovanna Seddaiu, and Prof. Nicol Turner-Lee all agreed on the necessity to reach digital inclusion, broadband connection, and mobile technologies.
Furthermore, reducing gender disparities is one of the SGDs of the UN- Agenda 2030, aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination and against all women and girls everywhere. Target 5.b in particular intends to promote the empowerment of women through technology, enhancing the use of telecommunications and ICTs and overall enhance women’s empowerment.
“We can achieve digital equality and digital inclusion by following the four A’s: Access, Availability, Affordability, and need of Adoption”. Awareness means that we have to create that awareness to education, information, and knowledge sharing, sensitization, publicity and, enlightenment”.
(Tony Ojobo, Speaker at 21st edition of the 21st Infopoverty World Conference)
As of today, the ongoing Digital Transformation provides new ways for economic empowerment of women and can contribute to greater gender equality. Digital platforms, internet, mobile phones, and digital financial services offer ample opportunities for all and can help bridge the divide by giving women the possibility to earn additional income, increase their employment opportunities, and access knowledge and general information. In addition, measures of digital inclusion should be improved by making them comparable across countries, to close the gap not only between genders but also between countries. More research needs to be done to better understand the dynamics and the underlying causes of the gender digital disparities. A synergetic effort of all must be ensured if a fairer and more inclusive (Digital) Society is to be established.