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New Broadband Commission

Call to action provides a guide to close the digital gender gap.

The Recommendations for action: bridging the gender gap in Internet and broadband access and use, sets specific recommendations to address the barriers women face in access and use of the Internet. The report highlights key action areas for different types of stakeholders as part of the group’s efforts to ensure that all women and girls can fully participate in the online world. The report stresses, that despite worldwide endeavors, the global Internet user gender gap widened from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016, with the gap highest in the least Developed Countries (LDCs) (31%) and Africa (23%).

Internet penetration rates remain higher for men than women in all regions of the world.

Through the continuous development of new technologies and their application to economic, political, and social processes is creating new opportunities that can enhance the quality of human life. However, to be sustainable, all new opportunities must be available to all, to empower all, for the benefit of all – especially girls and women. Structural inequalities remain and impede women’s full and equal participation in the digital economy. Greater Internet access and use can not only have a positive impact on women’s lives, but can deliver significant benefits to the wider economy and society, and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 9c, which contains a target for universal and affordable access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) in LDCs by 2020.

The four key areas to be prioritized as proposed by the Commission: 

  • Compile detailed evidence: collect, analyze and track sex-disaggregated data to inform policy, particularly at a national and sub-national level, through a greater understanding of the issue.
  • Integrate policy: integrate gender equality targets and key performance indicators into strategies, policies, plans, and budgets, involving women and relevant local communities from the onset.
  • Address the barriers women face: confront barriers that impede gender equality online, including affordable access; issues around safety; digital literacy and confidence; and the availability of relevant content, applications, and services.
  • Support multi-stakeholder cooperation: develop tools and policies to support national and international efforts, and effective sharing of best practices to address the digital gender gap.