Women 20 In­ter­na­tional Summit ad­dresses world­wide dig­i­tal gender in­equal­ity

The GSMA has also weighed in on de­vel­op­ing ac­tion plans for the dig­i­tal em­pow­er­ment of women.

Comms MEA - - Snapshot Digital Equality -

Dig­i­tal in­clu­sion was a ma­jor theme of the Women 20 (W20) In­ter­na­tional Summit in Buenos Aires last month, with the Global Sys­tem for Mo­bile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (GSMA) of­fer­ing in­put for how to pro­mote gender equal­ity and dig­i­tal in­clu­sion through smart­phone adop­tion.

Buenos Aires hosted the W20 Summit from Oc­to­ber 1-3. The summit marked the end of a year-long in­ter­na­tional di­a­logue process aimed at de­vel­op­ing ac­tion plans for the em­pow­er­ment of women.

Through­out the year, the GSMA served as Topic Chair on Dig­i­tal In­clu­sion, one of the fo­cus top­ics of W20. The GSMA’s rec­om­men­da­tions for bridg­ing the dig­i­tal gender di­vide were part of a fi­nal com­mu­niqué pre­sented to lead­ers of the world’s 20 largest economies, a group more com­monly known as the G20.

The GSMA’s Mo­bile Gender Gap Re­port 2018 found that in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries women are, on av­er­age, 10% less likely than men to own mo­bile phones, and 26% less likely to use mo­bile In­ter­net. Given that for most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion mo­bile is also the pri­mary way to ac­cess the In­ter­net, this gap must be closed to en­sure women do not lose out on the so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits of full par­tic­i­pa­tion in the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

With this goal, the GSMA’s work as Topic Chair in­volved cre­at­ing di­a­logues with in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions and ex­perts, as well as co­or­di­nat­ing a re­mote net­work of del­e­gates for the prepa­ra­tion of pa­pers on the sub­ject. The main prod­uct of this work was a pol­icy brief, which set out rec­om­men­da­tions for bridg­ing the dig­i­tal gender gap.

The doc­u­ment points out, among other things, the need to ad­dress key bar­ri­ers re­lated to ac­ces­si­bil­ity, af­ford­abil­ity, safety, dig­i­tal skills train­ing and con­tent rel­e­vance. It also high­lights the po­ten­tial of dig­i­tal in­clu­sion to con­trib­ute to the other three fo­cus points of W20: labour and fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion, and ru­ral women’s devel­op­ment.

“The GSMA has been priv­i­leged to help shape the W20 rec­om­men­da­tions, which will pro­vide an ac­tion­able roadmap for the G20 na­tions to drive gender equal­ity poli­cies around the world,” said Mats Gran­ryd, GSMA di­rec­tor gen­eral.

At the W20 Summit, Gran­ryd was part of the “Look­ing into the Fu­ture of Work” panel, along with W20 Ar­gentina chair Su­sana Balbo, the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment’s Gabriela Ramos, and UN Women ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Other GSMA lead­ers in­clud­ing Con­nected Women and Con­nected So­ci­ety and Mo­bile for Devel­op­ment head Claire Sibthorpe and Latin Amer­ica re­gional mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Paula Fer­rari, also took part in pan­els and dis­cus­sions at the W20 Summit.

“The GSMA has been priv­i­leged to help shape the W20 rec­om­men­da­tions, which will pro­vide an ac­tion­able roadmap for the G20 na­tions to drive gender equal­ity poli­cies around the world.”

- Mats Gran­ryd, GSMA di­rec­tor gen­eral

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