‘Generation Equality’. It’s the theme – and dream – of this year’s International Women’s Day. We’ve come a long way since the UN’s landmark Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. And yet, a full quarter of a century on, not one single nation can be said to have achieved true gender equality. And in many of the world’s developing countries, women’s fundamental circumstances have changed very little.
As we approach the Beijing +25 milestone, I believe digital technologies represent the most powerful opportunity humanity has ever had to finally overturn the many barriers to women’s social and economic inclusion.
But to leverage the power of that technology, we need three things. We need to ensure that women have access to digital devices and platforms. We need to ensure that they are empowered with the digital skills to use that technology to improve their lives. And we need to ensure that they have the chance to share equally in employment and leadership opportunities in the world’s fastest-growing sector.
These three pillars of women’s digital empowerment are the foundation of EQUALS, the global partnership dedicated to promoting digital gender equality founded by ITU and its partners ITC, UN Women, the GSMA and the UN University. The EQUALS movement now spans over 100 governments, private sector players, NGOs and universities, all committed to promoting technology as the vital catalyst for a gender-equitable world.
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