Organization: TechWomen and ICT Strategies
Title: Day Zero: Creating a World of Inclusion in social and economic opportunities for Women from developing countries
Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly recognized as vital to improving individual and family lives, but also to contributing to the economic growth of countries – whatever their size. There is a Chinese proverb that “Women hold up half the sky”. While this a reality in terms of population distribution, it is not yet a reality in terms of social and economic opportunity. This Day Zero session will be focusing on building more awareness across a diverse geography about projects that are focused on economic empowerment of women and girls. Numerous projects are underway that are focused on STEM initiatives, and on creating digital skills for girls, as they progress through school. Yet, this is not a full solution, as many of the jobs that could be self-developed, or may be emerging from the digitization of all work require that women of all ages interested in meaningful and paid work, have digital skills, basic literacy, access to technology and the Online/Internet services are yet to be fully developed. While supporting building digital skills at all levels for girls and women, this Day Zero event is focused on the practical realities: Creating a path to employment for women, wherever they are in the world, and regardless of their level of digital skills so they can contribute to their own economic security, their families, their villages, and their countries economic and social development.
Drawing from experiences of Tech Nation’s TechWomen in Afghanistan, and organizations now working in Nigeria, South Africa, Pakistan, and joined by invited experts from the World Bank, UNCTAD, CSTD’s Gender Advisory Committee, Alliance for Affordable Internet, My Digital Bridges - Namibia and other successful women entrepreneurial initiatives are invited to a working roundtable. Each presenter will have a five-minute slot and are invited to provide a one to two-page summary of their initiatives. Outreach is underway to different and newcomers to the IGF as contributors, such as Goldman Sachs, Walmart, Starbucks. Mastercard Foundation and others who do not normally attend the IGF but have a strong interest in women empowerment.
After an initial round of 5-minute lightning talks, the group will be sub divided into small working groups to draft an shared agenda for action for 2018, to be presented again at Day Zero IGF2018.
So many of the countries that we are focused on are very “young” with more than 40+% under that age of 30 – the digitalized world is the world that they have to succeed in. Yet, we have to also recognize that "digitization" is affecting many jobs – those of health care givers, farmers, … these areas can be opportunities for women to gain skills and move into a work force, that was previously closed to them. But to make that step forward, in many countries, changes are essential in many areas: they need legal acknowledgement of their rights, they need education in literacy, in digital skills, and in encouragement to find their role in a working environment. And they need basic and affordable access to the online world, affordable devices
We are inviting a number of entities that are engaged in community action activities that lead to women employment – whether in agriculture, community service, healthcare, government services, tech world… to discuss what the critical success factors are to encourage catalyzing that as we focus on bringing the next 1.5 billion online are at least 50% women. The output of the Day Zero event will be taken back into the participating organizations at the national levels to help catalyze further engagement, and plans are to provide a report on Day Zero in 2018 from the activities that occur as a result of this interaction at 2017.