GSMA makes case for women’s digital inclusion in W20 communique

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W20, women in tech, GSMA, 5G, Mobile Internet, Broadband, Internet of Things, Spectrum

 

The GSMA has called on Women 20 (W20), the official engagement group of the G20 that advocates for policies towards gender equality to include women’s digital inclusion in the W20 final communiqué.

GSMA believes this will help to address gender gap in Internet access and use, saying the inclusion of women is crucial for a digital economy.

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The Final Communiqué was delivered to Heads of State, represented by the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, during the W20 Summit held on October 1-3 in Buenos Aires. The document includes recommendations to implement policies in four areas of action: digital inclusion, labour inclusion, financial inclusion and rural development.

As part of its role as Topic Chair of the Digital Inclusion Workstream, the GSMA led the discussion on the digital agenda, which is key to achieve Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality.

“At GSMA, we are committed to increasing digital and financial inclusion for women, reflecting the fact that mobile is the primary way for people to access the internet in many parts of the world. The Communiqué places women’s access to and use of digital technologies and the internet at the top of the call to action to ensure women’s digital inclusion. It echoes many of the issues that GSMA’s identifies as important for bridging this digital gender divide,” it said.

The Communiqué calls for the development of holistic and cross-sectoral policies that abolish the barriers to women’s access and use of digital technologies, including affordability, safety, digital skills and availability of relevant content. It also includes a call for gender disaggregated data to inform evidence-based policies as well as initiatives to improve digital skills and boost women’s participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies and industries.

The cross-cutting nature of digital inclusion was made clear during the W20 Summit; speakers pointed out that it was not only relevant by itself, but also essential for financial and labour inclusion, and for the development of rural women. Digitalization was one of the key topics at a panel on the future of work, which featured Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “It’s imperative to include more women in the ICT industry,” said Granryd in his remarks. “We need all the good brains, not just 50 per cent of them.”

The Business 20 (B20) Communiqué also highlighted that digital inclusion and addressing the digital gender divide is an enabler of a developed and inclusive future. The engagement group representing the voice of the private sector delivered its recommendations two days after W20, also in Buenos Aires. The B20 underlined the importance of accelerating investment in digital infrastructure, bridging digital skills gaps and facilitating free data flows for development.

The groups’ Communiqués will now be presented to G20 Heads of State at their Summit in December. Leaders are expected to act on these recommendations by developing implementation plans with timelines and targets, and to report publicly on outcomes.

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