GSMA Advances a Comprehensive Agenda on Digital Inclusion for Women Ahead of G20 Summit
The GSMA is supporting the sixty-second meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this month1 as part of its commitment to the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5 (Gender Equality). The GSMA’s role at the event reflects its status as Topic Chair of the Digital Inclusion theme within the W20 (Women 20) group2, which will advise the G20 member states on issues around gender equality and the economic empowerment of women. At CSW62, the GSMA and its partners will be convening parallel events across a range of topics in this area, bringing together companies in the mobile ecosystem, governments, UN agencies and NGOs.
“Developing forward-looking policies that promote digital inclusion for women is vital to achieving gender equality, serving to empower women in all corners of the world as well as providing an effective catalyst for economic growth,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “As Topic Chair of the Digital Inclusion work stream within the W20, the GSMA is bringing the public and private sectors together to accelerate global progress in bridging the gender digital divide.”
“Ideas and public policies behind technology transform our reality,” said Susana Balbo, Chair of the W20. “Bridging the gap between men and women in the digital world, by achieving true inclusion and development in every country, will be at the heart of the W20 recommendations to the G20 – and mobile technologies offer an excellent opportunity to reverse the current inequality."
Mobile Driving Digital Inclusion For Women
As a W20 Topic Chair, the GSMA will help lead the debate in the run-up to the G20 Argentina 2018 summit taking place in Buenos Aires, 30 November - 1 December 2018. This work will involve creating forums for dialogue with international organisations and experts to help draft the W20 recommendations and influence decision-making groups in the G20 to carry out policies towards gender equality. Achieving equality via digital inclusion is one of the four strategic objectives of the W20, alongside labour inclusion, financial inclusion and rural development.
Mobile is considered a key tool in driving digital inclusion, particularly in emerging markets where mobile is empowering for women, making them feel safer and more connected and providing access to a range of life-enhancing information and services. However, there remains a considerable ‘gender gap’ in mobile ownership and use. According to the latest GSMA research3, women in low- and middle-income countries are, on average, 10 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone than men, and 26 per cent less likely to use mobile internet.
In terms of women in the workplace around the world, the percentage of women working in most industries actually decreased in 2017, with a particularly steep slide in the tech sector, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 4 . The number of women in leadership roles in the tech sector and in tech roles is also lower than in many other sectors, and the gender pay gap remains wide.
The GSMA supports efforts to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women via its participation in W20; the EQUALS initiative; the GSMA Connected Women programme; Women4Tech; the WeCare initiative in Latin America; and the #BetterFuture campaign.
In 2016 the GSMA launched the Connected Women Commitment Initiative through which mobile operators are making formal commitments to reduce the gender gap in their mobile money and/or mobile internet customer base by 2020. To date 36 mobile operators across Africa, Asia and Latin America have made 51 commitments, so far reaching over 2.5 million women.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
2 The W20 is one of seven independent engagement groups comprised of civil society organisations from the G20 member counties. The engagement groups convene in tandem with the G20 and ensure that the position of civil society on important issues is taken on board by the G20 leaders. For more information see http://w20argentina.com
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