September 21, 2016
Written by UN Women
This post originally appeared on UN Women.
Geneva– ITU and UN Women joined together today to launch EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, a coalition of programmes dedicated to women and girls in technology with a vision of harnessing the power of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate global progress to bridge the gender digital divide.
“It’s time to make the world more equal,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General. “ICTs are an essential pathway towards gender equality and gender empowerment. So today, it is my honour to announce—along with UN Women—the launch of EQUALS, the Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, a programme where we will collaborate with partners to generate an unstoppable global movement where women and girls are equal participants in the digital technology revolution. Big challenges like these require better data, just as global problems require global action.”
As the UN specialized agency for ICTs, ITU estimates that there are some 250 million fewer women online than men. ITU’s ICT Fact and Figures 2016 suggest that the global Internet user gender gap grew from 11 per cent in 2013 to 12 per cent in 2016. At 31 per cent, the gap remains largest in the world’s Least Developed Countries. UN Women is already the de facto agency on global equality for women. And ITU is the world leader in ICT data collection and knowledge sharing. Together, both agencies are challenging their extensive network of private companies, civil society, governments and the UN family to step up and enable women and girls around the world to contribute to a digital renaissance.