The ongoing conversations at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) on how technology and innovation impact gender equality brings hope of a digital equal future.
The two-week long global gender equality event that started on March 6, running up to March 17 brings together government representatives from the UN member states, the private sector, civil society and donors.
And for the first time, the delegates are deliberating on Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
This breaks away from the common discussions on increasing girls’ uptake of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses.
“So at the CSW, member states are going to discuss whether digital tools and technology services are designed for everyone,”’ said Michelle Milford Morse, the United Nations Foundation vice president for Girls and Women Strategy, in an interview with Global Dispatches.
“They’re going to talk about closing the digital gender divide, women’s participation and leadership in the technology sector, and gender-responsive tech design.”
Digital tools access
In her opening statement, UN Women executive director Sima Bahous the gap in access to digital tools and opportunities is widest where women and girls are often most vulnerable.
In 2022, she said, 259 million more men than women were online, a worrying reality that jeopardises the global push to leave no one behind.
Going forward, she said, countries must close the gender digital divide, thus ensuring equal access to digital services.
Hence, the outcome of the global conference will be recommendations on addressing the gaps.
“The member states are to give feedback to their populations once they return home and commit to acting on those recommendations,” explained UN Women Kenya Country Representative Anna Mutavati, in a recorded interview for Nation.Africa.
“So it’s very important that we are part of it to be able to hold the government accountable and know the standards we aspire to,” she said.
A year after the CSW, the member states are expected to report back on the actions to actualise the recommendations, she said.