This ITU-UN Women Open Forum panel discussion focuses on the global gender digital divide and highlights EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age which aims to create “an unstoppable global movement where women and girls are equal participants in the digital technology revolution”. EQUALS is committed to closing the gender digital divide by bringing global stakeholders to a centralized platform for coordinated action including data and information sharing.
EQUALS was announced at the annual meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on September 18 in New York with high level support from the ITU Secretary General and UN Women’s Executive Director. EQUALS launched a social media and communications campaign that has received tremendous feedback from prominent leaders, high level representatives and professionals.
Several Consultations amongst partners have taken place virtually since then, with the first physical meeting and coalition discussions took place at ITU Telecom World 2016 on November 16 in Bangkok to discuss the priorities and action steps. The priority areas identified by partners will be the focus of the partnership and will allow EQUALS to set measurable targets that support the achievement of commitments made by partners. The formal launch of EQUALS is planned to take place at the 2017 WEF Davos meeting.
Areas of action:
Providing a shared platform, the partnership is committed to leveraging on and optimally utilizing the strengths, talents and reach of the partners to focus on three key thematic areas: access, skills, and leadership. Without access, no participation is even possible. After access comes the need to educate women and girls about the numerous opportunities of the digital age and develop in them proper skills leading to a real and positive impact on their lives, families and societies. And by encouraging female leadership, EQUALS ensures longevity and mentorship, enabling this movement to grow and evolve organically.
Moderator: ITU, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of the Strategic and Planning Mem - Moderator
Opening remarks: Lara Blanco, Deputy Director for UN Women Americas & Caribbean Regional Office, UN WOMEN
Microsoft, Paul Mitchell – Private Sector
GSMA, Claire Sibthorpe– Private Sector
Mexico, Yolanda Martínez Mancilla - Government
Web Foundation (Alliance for Affordable Internet), Nanjira Sambuli – Civil Society
IGF Secretariat, TBA – Civil Society
UNCTAD, Cecile Barayre – International Organization