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International Womens Day: The time is now to press for progress

For International Women’s Day, EQUALS, the global partnership that works towards digital gender equality, reaffirms its commitment to innovating with allies and making use of available digital technologies to ensure the tech sector is fully accessible and open to all, regardless of gender.

Led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations University (UNU), UN Women, GSMA, and the International Trade Centre (ITC), and joined by a diverse group of companies, organizations and universities from around the globe, EQUALS brings different voices and capacities together to promote opportunities for women and girls. With over 55 committed partners and growing, we are standing together to show that a group of committed organizations can make great strides through proactive collaboration.

Our leadership will ensure women and girls have the access and skills to take part in, and help to shape, the digital transformations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. EQUALS is part of an unstoppable movement for women and girls in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – and innovation!

“As connectivity grows around the world with more people getting online and using the Internet to communicate, create and innovate, we need to ensure that women benefit equally from Internet access. Now more than ever we need to #PressforProgress and ensure digital equality. When it comes to the future of the Internet – no matter if it’s the policies that shape it, the technology that builds it, or the content that lives on it – it needs to be inclusive.”

Kathy Brown, President & CEO of the Internet Society

"Equal participation of women in the Information Society can only be assured if, apart from being end users, they are ICT producers, developers and decision makers participating in design, influencing content and shaping uses.”

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, UNCTAD

“In all regions of the world Internet penetration rates remain higher for men than women. This situation raises important challenges that need to be addressed with systemic interventions. Bridging the gender gap in access to IT is necessary but insufficient. We need programmes and policies that encourage and support both women and men to act as informed, responsible, and creative users of new technologies; and to be aware and adopt a critical attitude towards gender biases and all forms of discrimination in digital environments. We also need to stimulate the production of gender sensitive and responsive technologies that contribute to the wellbeing and sustainability of all societies.”

Gloria Bonder, UNESCO Regional Chair, Women, Science and Technology in Latin America

“It is of vital importance that policy to promote equality for women in technology is well informed. The United Nations University, through its Gender Tech Lab at UNU-CS, explores the gendered dimensions of the digital age, collects gender-disaggregated data, and leverages research to work towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is with pride that we have joined EQUALS and can contribute to an evidence-based approach towards bridging the digital gender divide.” David Malone, Rector of UNU

“For International Women’s Day, EQUALS celebrates the leadership of the many amazing women and men across the world who are helping to bridge the digital gender divide. Information and communication technologies are proving to be game changers for women and girls—giving them access to meaningful employment opportunities, and education, health, and financial services and more. We call on additional private and public sector organizations to join the global EQUALS partnership. When women and girls have access to information and opportunities, everyone benefits. The time is now to promote digital gender equality and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals!” Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief, Strategic Planning and Membership Department, ITU

Making progress with an evidence-based approach

We can’t change what we don’t know.

Gender Equality and Big Data, a new report from EQUALS partner UN Women, highlights how the appropriate use of big data can help to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (Sustainable Development Goal 5).

An evidence-based approach is a critical component of the EQUALS initiative. Inadequate information can lead to unrecognized challenges, underestimated progress, and misguided policies. In contrast, sound data and information sharing enable effective and efficient decision-making.

That’s why EQUALS launched a Research Group of 26 academic partners, led by UNU. The Research Group is working to produce original, timely, and needed research. A flagship report on the State of Gender Digital Equality will be published by the end of 2018.

We are also mapping the active global organizations and programmes for women in ICTs. As our Action Map shows, many different groups, organizations and industries around the world are leading hundreds of initiatives to bring digital tech to women, and women to digital tech. Add your initiative today!

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we join together to raise our collective voices for women and girls in tech!

For more information visit the EQUALS website and be sure to join the conversation on Twitter: #EQUALSinTech.

Read quotes from our other partners here.

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