Broadband access key to gender MDGs
DEVELOPMENT| March 18, 2013, 7:16 a.m.
Commissioners at the 7th meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development have agreed an ambitious new target designed to spur female access to ICTs.
The new target mandates ‘gender equality in broadband access by the year 2020’. At present, ITU figures confirm that in the developing world, women are much less likely to have access to technology than their male counterparts. While that disparity is lower in developed countries, a measureable gap nonetheless still exists, even in the rich world.
“Women’s access to ICTs and particularly broadband must be made a key pillar of the post-2015 global development agenda,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General and co-Vice Chair of the Commission. “The mobile miracle has clearly demonstrated how powerful information and communication technologies can be in driving economic growth. However, figures from ITU and its sister agencies like UNESCO and UNDP show a clear ‘gender gap’ in access to technology. We need to redress that imbalance to ensure that all people are empowered to take control of their own destinies through ICTs.”
The new gender target was one decisive outcome of the first face-to-face meeting of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender, which was launched in New York in 2012 by Geena Davis, actor, advocate and ITU’s Special Envoy on Women and Girls.
Chaired by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Working Group on Gender meeting attracted 69 Commissioners, special representatives and guest experts, making it the best-attended Working Group of the Commission to date.
“In a world where ICTs empower, lack of equal opportunity for women and girls to access those technologies risks thwarting development progress,” said Clark. “If we can find ways to close the gender gap in ICT access, we can not only help empower individual women and girls, and their families, but catalyse the kind of inclusive and sustainable development which benefits us all.”
The gender group meeting, which took place on Saturday 16 March, featured presentations by a number of organizations leading projects in the ‘gender and technology’ space, including Changecorp, GSMA, Intel, Telecentre.org and ITU. ITU’s digital literacy partnership with Telecentre.org has already trained over 625,000 women in basic digital skills, and is well on track to meet its target of one million women trained by 2015.
The meeting was followed by a Commission visit to ‘Aldea Digital’ (Digital Village), a three-day ‘living lab’ showcasing the broadband networks, services and applications at the heart of today’s and tomorrow’s world.
The full meeting of over 30 Commission members and their representatives endorsed the target proposed by the Gender Working Group, requested that members of that group implement a project ‘dashboard’ to track gender and technology initiatives worldwide, and mandated the group to deliver its first set of outcomes to the next meeting of the Commission in September in New York.
The Commission meeting also saw in-depth discussions on roadblocks to faster broadband deployment and potential solutions to impediments such as investment financing, with the focus on innovative strategies to help countries accelerate progress towards achieving the ambitious broadband access targets set by the Commission in 2011.
The meeting also launched a new Task Group on the post-2015 development agenda and the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be led by Ericsson.
Sustainable development is the focus of ITU’s ‘m-Powering Development’ initiative, which was presented to Commissioners during the morning session of today’s meeting. The initiative aims to leverage the huge installed base of mobile handsets to bring new services to communities globally, particularly in the world’s poorest countries. “m-Powering Development seeks to act as a catalyst to achieve sustainability, harnessing the power of state-of-the-art ICTs and smart solutions to meet new Sustainable Development Goals,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), who is spearheading the initiative.
The Broadband Commission Working Group on Youth, led by ITU’s Dr Touré, will also lead a Global Youth Summit on technology issues, to be held in Costa Rica from 9-11 September at the invitation of President Laura Chinchilla. The Summit will welcome over 500 young people aged 18-25 from countries around the world, as well as featuring a stream for 9-17 year old Costa Rican youth.
MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
NCC commits N11m to lawn tennis leagueThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed N11million to lift the game of lawn tennis in the country. Read More
Airtel Kenya aids Bungoma community midwives programmeBharti Airtel has partnered with Fountain Africa Trust to launch a community midwives program to support expectant women, new mothers and newborns in Bungoma County, Kenya. Read More
Vodacom promotes e-Learning in public, private schoolsVodacom Business Nigeria hosted fifty-six students from the S.S. Peter & Paul Nursery and Primary School, Ikate Elegushi on a special tour of the company’s facilities to learn about the cloud computing and the technology behind e-learning. Read More
eLearning Africa: ICTs boost growth but teachers reluctant to changeICT is the key to improving education and thus boosting growth across Africa, but there is still widespread reluctance among teachers, trainers and managers to abandon traditional methods, says a new report. Read More
Microsoft, IICD launch employability hub in GhanaMicrosoft Ghana, in partnership with the International Institute for Communication and Development, has launched the TizaaWorks online platform, a one-stop online hub for employability and entrepreneurship. Read More
SSA power offers growth for new entrants, disruptive technologySub-Saharan Africa's power sector is becoming increasingly attractive to new entrants as business models change and solutions like smart grids are harnessed to plug yawning supply gaps. Read More
Sanofi, MTN Foundation equip Cameroon diabetes clinicsThe MTN Foundation and Sanofi announce the handover of medical equipment to 4 “Diabetes Clinics” on Tuesday 19 May 2015, at the AD LUCEM hospital in Bali, Douala, Littoral region. Read More
MTN Foundation, Oracle to train 2,000 in NigeriaMTN Foundation Nigeria and Oracle have partnered in an ICT training programme to benefit around 2,000 scholars. Read More
Philips, Rhiza Foundation pilot Mobile ClinicOn the occasion of Philips’ sixth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo roadshow, Philips South Africa and the Rhiza Foundation have launched their “mobile clinic” project focusing on delivering basic primary healthcare. Read More
FEATURED STORYThe transformative power of affordable smartphones and unlimited data in Ghana
Smartphones are helping transform their lives of ordinary people in Ghana, Reports Nana Appiah Acquaye.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNIMC infrastructure must be managed by credible people: NIMC chief
NIMC’s chief speaks to Kokumo Goodie about the role of the NIMC and his own legacy.