For International Women’s Day (IWD) I reaffirm my commitment to ensuring that the information and communication technologies (ICTs) of today are accessible to all, and offer benefits to all, regardless of gender.
It is well accepted that gender equality is a fundamental human right and key to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. I believe that ICTs play a key role in the empowerment of women, and ITU plays a lead role in supporting the achievement and monitoring of the indicators related to SDG 5.b: “Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.”
This year’s theme for IWD – “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” – reflects the approach we at ITU have taken to ensure that technologies benefit everyone, everywhere.
As the lead UN agency for ICTs, ITU works every day to promote equal access to the infrastructure that supports connectivity in the modern world.
Still, there is more work to do. The digital gender divide exists in nearly every region of the world, and, in fact in some regions disparities are widening. Only by working together can we ensure that men and women equally can access the technologies that will enrich their lives.
This year, the upcoming Commission on the Status of Women will focus on “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
This is a great opportunity to look closer and make more effort to promote sustainable infrastructure for gender equality. As an International Gender Champion, I have committed to the following actions for the year 2019:
Data is key to understanding the digital gender divide and how ICTs can be more equally available and beneficial to all. It helps clarify where we are and what needs to change globally for a more gender-inclusive world of ICTs.
I invite you to get involved. Share your stories, challenges and successes in promoting equal access to, and equal benefits of, ICT infrastructure. Thoughts and contributions can be sent to us by email at ICT4equality@itu.int throughout 2019, and we will share the highlights at the end of this year or early next year.
Happy International Women’s Day! Together, let’s think equal, build smart, and innovate for change!