Report
14 Mar 2019
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Taking Stock: Data and Evidence on Gender Equality in Digital Access, Skills, and Leadership

EQUALS Research Group, Led by the United Nations University Individual ...+3 more
EQUALS Research Group, Led by the United Nations University
Individual Authors: Fifty-three researchers, from more than 20 member organisations and associates of the EQUALS Partnership, have contributed to this inaugural report of the EQUALS Research Group. Editors: Araba Sey and Nancy Hafkin
Global
60 mins
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What you'll learn
Addressing the barriers to gender digital equality
  • The inaugural report of the EQUALS Research Group reviews research and data on the three EQUALS action areas: Access, Skills, and Leadership
  • Comprises over 30 multidisciplinary experts focused on generating knowledge about the existence, causes, and remedies for gender digital inequalities and motivating key stakeholder groups to collect and share gender-relevant data
  • A planning resource for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers interested in solving gender inequality challenges in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs), development of basic and advanced ICT skills, and participation in the ICT industry
Closing the gender digital gaps
Identifying the barriers
The report provides recommendations for addressing the barriers to gender digital equality across six broad domains: 1) infrastructure; 2) financial constraints; 3) ICT ability and aptitude; 4) interest and perceived relevance of ICTs; 5) safety and security; and 6) socio-cultural and institutional contexts.
Further evidence is needed
Overall, there is a great need to support original research to conceptualise gender digital equality, identify specific gender gaps, understand socio-cultural contexts, and find solutions. Efforts should also be made to develop better measurement tools that can facilitate the collection, tracking, analysis and sharing of sex-disaggregated data – especially in developing countries. Importantly, improvements should be made to collect and utilise intersectional gender data to shed light on other intersecting and interacting identities.
Multi-sectoral collaboration is key
Additionally, multi-sectoral collaboration between academia, government, the private sector, and non-government organisations, as well as meaningful consultation with beneficiaries, is needed to facilitate action and share best practices and lessons.
A woman in a bright pink dress and cap looks at her phone, in South Africa

In addition to carrying out targeted systematic reviews and meta-analyses to make sense of existing research, more data collection as well as original quantitative and qualitative research are needed to conceptualise gender digital equality, identify gender gaps with greater specificity and geographic coverage, understand the contexts in which they occur, and determine what works and why in different socio- cultural contexts.

Key Takeaways
1
Expand digital infrastructure
Expand digital infrastructure
Expand digital infrastructure to underserved communities and explore models of service provision that are more attuned to the lifestyles and concerns of women.
2
Improve accessibility
Improve accessibility
Overcome financial constraints by improving the affordability of ICT services and removing gender-based barriers to acquiring business capital.
3
Promote women and girls' empowerment
Promote women and girls' empowerment
Improve the ability and aptitude of women and girls by investing in digital literacy capacity-building; addressing gender stereotyping of STEM; and investing in entrepreneurship capacity-building.
4
Implement initiatives targeted at women and girls
Implement initiatives targeted at women and girls
Raise interest and perceived relevance among women and girls by providing relevant content and services; increase awareness and demonstrate potential and relevance of ICTs and ICT careers; and address gender stereotyping of STEM.
5
Implement systems and safety and security initiatives
Implement systems and safety and security initiatives
Improve online and offline safety and security by developing social, technical, legal, and regulatory measures that shift restrictive gender norms and prevent violence; promote monitoring and duty-to-report systems; facilitate multi-sectoral consultations on the cyber civil rights agenda; and enforce compliance through effective punitive consequences for perpetrators.
6
Take a gender-transformative approach across all levels
Take a gender-transformative approach across all levels
Address context-specific socio-cultural gender stereotypes, biases, and discriminatory norms at individual, institutional, and societal levels by, for example, increasing media awareness and sensitisation; establishing and enforcing legislation and diversity policies and programs; promoting gender-sensitive learning approaches and environments; spotlighting role models; fostering work/life balance; and creating an enabling environment for gender lens investing.
A woman in a bright pink dress and cap looks at her phone, in South Africa

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