New tools to support gender equality in the technology sector

Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General

Today, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Stocktaking Repository of Women in Technology.

This initiative was born out of a collective effort of the ICTs and Gender Mainstreaming special track of the WSIS Forum.

New tools

I was pleased to see improved levels of women’s participation in this year’s WSIS Forum as we work to achieve a 50/50 gender balance.

But we still have a long way to go.

Ensuring gender balance still poses a great challenge to everyone.

We need to develop new tools to support women, who currently represent only 30 per cent of the world’s researchers on average, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Identify, connect, engage

The repository launched today will help identify and connect women leaders and practitioners in all sectors of the ICT industry, to engage them in events, forums and activities.

It gives us a platform where we can share our collective insights, ideas, and knowledge. I hope this repository will help young women in tech to connect with their mentors, join training and capacity building programmes, and network with other women working in this area.

This initiative can also help shape the 2022 WSIS Process and accelerate progress on addressing the gender gap in ICTs, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Recently, I attended the UN Women Generation Equality Forum, where I stressed that by holding back half of the world’s population, we hold back human progress. If we do not enforce our efforts now, it will be very difficult to achieve SDG 5 – or any of the other UN Sustainable Development Goals – before the end of this decade.

Transformative potential

Gender mainstreaming is a cross-cutting issue across all WSIS Action Lines.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to harnessing the transformative potential of ICTs to accelerate progress towards gender equality.

And let us step up our efforts, through initiatives like this repository, to inspire, empower and support women in tech.

I want to thank the panelists who joined today’s launch event. I believe their message, and more importantly, their own experiences and achievements will help push forward our common goal to make the world more equal and more beneficial to all.

Based on Mr. Zhao’s opening remarks at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum Stocktaking Launch of the Repository of Women in Technology.

Learn more about the repository and contribute here.

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