Broadband access key to gender MDGs

DEVELOPMENT

|
Image: By ITU
Broadband access key to gender  MDGs

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.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Dangote, Airtel 40,000 mobile phones for indigent Lagos women

Dangote Foundation this week started the disbursement of N400 million micro grant and mobile phones to 40,000 indigent women in all the local governments in Lagos State. Read More

Evolve with STEM initiative reaches central and Brong Ahafo regions

Airtel Ghana’s corporate social responsibility initiative Evolve With STEM (EWS) has reached some public schools in the Central and Brong Ahafo Regions of the country. Read More

Safaricom Foundation commits Sh36million to free medical camps

More Kenyans are set to benefit from free medical services after Safaricom Foundation increased its funding towards the initiative to Sh36million. Read More

Social Entrepreneurs provide sustainable solutions for Africa's development priorities - Report

Is social entrepreneurship the new face of development? A recent impact report released by Reach for Change suggests it might be. Read More

Dimension Data, Cisco to protect rhino by tracking people

In a bid to reduce rhino poaching in South Africa, Dimension Data and Cisco will leverage technology to proactively intervene and stop people entering game reserves illegally. Read More

Global partnership launches programme to save children affected by HIV in Lesotho

Mobile technology will be harnessed to help Lesotho combat the impact of HIV in a new global partnership programme. Read More

Rockefeller Foundation funds nonprofit bringing online business course to Africa

In May, the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE) will offer a unique online course designed to provide practical management expertise in emerging platform business models opening up new opportunities across Africa and the global economy. Read More

Ethiopia gearing up to transform education through technology

Microsoft and the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia are coming together to transform education, further innovation and develop employability. Read More

Next Einstein Forum launches global call for a new era in science and technology in Africa

The Next Einstein Forum has launched a global call for support for Africa’s scientific and technological emergence.  Read More

MTN Ghana rewards Heroes of Change for their selfless acts

Madam Paulina Opei, Founder of “Save our Lives Orphanage” and a trained nurse was crowned the overall winner of the MTN Heroes of Change Season II at the Accra International Conference Centre.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor Networks

FEATURED STORY

Government should encourage youths in ICT earlyGovernment should encourage youths in ICT early

Youths should be given more encouragement to develop their ICT skills, an 11-year-old app developer told Kokumo Goodie.

IN DEPTH

IBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South AfricaIBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South Africa

IBM is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.  

COMPANY NEWS

Things to ask your MSSP to increase your network’s security

Arbor Networks has drawn up five questions to ask an MSSP to better ensure security throughout your organization.

Networks Unlimited officially launches Mellanox Technologies Open Ethernet Solutions

Networks Unlimited, a value-adding distributor of converged technology, data centre, networking, and security technology throughout Africa, has hosted the official Johannesburg launch of Mellanox Technologies,