tunis forum on gender equality flyer

Thank you for participating in this online consultation.The final set of recommendations which emerged from this theme at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality can be found here.

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the on-line discussion on the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality 2019. This e-Discussion will take place from 1 – 28 February 2019 and will provide an opportunity for all those interested in gender equality to influence the agenda of the Tunis Forum and contribute to the global debate for 2019 and 2020.

The Tunisia forum will be a follow up to the Stockholm Forum held in April 2018. The focus in Tunisia will be on reclaiming the gender equality agenda before Beijing +25. We will be looking for the key participation of women and men under 35 who can help frame priorities for the future.  Over the last century, technology has helped transform the lives of many women and men around the globe yet we still witness gender gaps in pay, in unpaid work in formal and informal economies.

One of those key priorities is how to ensure that in the new trends in technology and innovation can be used to help and not hinder women's economic empowerment.

To take this discussion forward, we propose the following two questions:

  1. 25 years ago the speed of technological advance was arguably not foreseen. Today as digital technologies and data usher in the 4th industrial revolution, what key issues and concerns should form a part of discussion at the forum? 
  2. Does this affect different areas of the globe differently? Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?


Remember, those who are particularly engaged in the online consultation may also receive an invitation to attend in person. If you would like to recommend individuals, preferably from different areas of society, who would be relevant and interested in being invited to the Tunis Forum, please visit use this form (the deadline is 20th February 2019).

We look forward to a lively and engaged discussion. 

1 Feb 2019 - 27 Feb 2019

Comments (133)

SparkBlue Admin

Thank you for participating in this online consultation.The final set of recommendations which emerged from this theme at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality can be found here.

Anita Gurumurthy Moderator

Greetings to all. I am Anita and work with IT for Change, and along with Emad Karim, Kawtar Zerouali and Leila Salehi, will be moderating this 4 week discussion track on technology and innovation from a gender equality perspective. This, we believe is critical in the run-up to the Beijing+25 discussions. Not only because women's empowerment questions are closely tied to their appropriation of technology, but also given the fact that women's equal participation in the digital society and economy are non-negotiable to the present that we are shaping and the future that we wish to see. The industrial revolution and its impact on social hierarchies has been captured in a rich body of work. Gender equality advocates and scholars point to the incomplete agenda and the immediate imperative to ensure that as citizens, workers, leaders, entrepreneurs, community makers and individuals, girls and women are not left behind yet again, as we face the fourth industrial revolution.

We are not only talking here about putting digital gadgets in the hands of women; that is only part of what we must aspire towards. We are seeking to underline the need to shape the structures of the paradigmatic shift in favour of gender justice. This means the data revolution and the deployment of data and digital technologies to harness social, public, economic and individual value needs to protect and promote the foundational rights of all women in all societies.

So, what are the issues and concerns we are grappling with? How do we take stock of the progress made so far? What are the different policy interventions, community based approaches and techno-social models deployed so far in relation to the 4th industrial revolution? What metrics are necessary to make sure that the new paradigm does not fail women? How can our insights in this regard inform the Beijing+25 deliberations so that the constitutional principles of gender equality given to us 25 years ago can be reinterpreted for a new world?

These are some of the questions we invite you to engage with in the next 4 weeks.

Anita Gurumurthy


Thank you so much Anita for having me here!  Innovation and technology provide exceptional prospects to disrupt trends and reach women and girls who have been marginalized and left behind. Pockets of pilots have started in my country Nigeria at a very small scale though but I know if scholars and activists understand and create awareness then it can be prioritized by policy makers and key industrial leaders.

That is why I am super excited to be here!!

Moneera Yassien

Hello, My name is Moneera I am women's rights advocate from Sudan. 

One question which actually grasped my mind is "What metrics are necessary to make sure that the new paradigm does not fail women?" I believe for us to ensure that the new paradigm is not failing women we need to clearly identify the role of  Women in this paradigm, there is a real need to highlight the role which women can play and contribute to the digital economy era and the cyber-physical system. if we could look at the internet usage rates - in many regions-  we can realize that the gap is not that wide between women and men, which could indicate that roughly women and men have equal presence in the cyber world, so there is an opportunity for women to engage in the digital economy and the cyber-physical system equally to men. But the data about digital literacy shows that women are more digitally illiterate than men for that their contribution to the digital economy is limited, and that was the case also when women education rates were low, which affected on women's participation in the labor market. Thus, the women economic empowerment should focus on how we can develop women's skills and provide tools which are needed for women to play their expected roles efficiently, not for the purpose of achieving gender equality alone, but also to foster the economic development and social prosperity. 

Nazila Vali

Greetings from Istanbul! 

I read some great contributions on this discussion, thank you!

The digital era has opened new windows of opportunity for inclusive business to contribute more significantly to gender equality. Building on the Digital Revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution could improve female participation in economic life and enhance the economic and social autonomy of women in several ways. For instance, mobile and digital technologies can enable BoP women to overcome the traditional cultural and mobility barriers they sometimes face. Innovative technologies are also allowing women to access new markets, work flexibly and remotely, receive training and provide mentoring, and improve financial autonomy.

The digital era also appears to require an increased demand for social skills which can include, for instance, more effective communication skills, better adaptability and less resistance to change, and greater empathy. Some predict that women, given their stronger social skills, will better adapt to the future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and avoid the enormous employment losses automatization will certainly cause. Others are more pessimistic and anticipate massive job loss at the BoP level. Understanding and addressing these risks proactively is critical, while bearing in mind that forecasts on the effects of digitalization on labour markets in the BoP are not actually supported by much evidence yet. 

At the Business Call to Action, we are working closely with innovative Inclusive Business who are leading the way in improving the lives of women in the communities they work in. Examples include Bata and DBL, who are co-creating products with local women and training and mentoring women employees and suppliers in Bangladesh, as well as thought leaders like Mahindra Rural Housing Finance and AFRIpads, who are advocating for essential policy and regulatory environment change in India and East Africa that will enable businesses to make the necessary systemic changes to contribute to empowering women along their own value chains.

Nazila Vali

Another great Inclusive Business example from our membership I want to share here is Sehat Kahani. Sehat Kahani s a health-tech company utilizing sustainable IT solutions to link women health providers with underserved communities. We also featured them as a case study of a company that is engaging local communities and working closely with them in a way that addresses cultural barriers while  promoting and advancing women’s empowerment.

In conservative rural Pakistan, where social and cultural barriers can make it difficult for women to practice a profession or leave the home unaccompanied, jobs and services often need to come to them. Through its innovative e-hub-and-spokes distribution model and its community engagement strategies tailored to local customs, Sehat Kahani is able to reach rural and low-income communities across Pakistan and deliver high-quality health services directly to marginalised women while also garnering support from other community members.

Sehat Kahani not only targets underserved beneficiaries who need a doctor, but also female doctors who need a job. Although over half of medical students in Pakistan are female, less than a quarter of the nation’s doctors are women. Social and cultural barriers often make it difficult for even well-educated women to practice their profession outside the home once they have families. To counter this, Sehat Kahani recruits qualified female doctors to consult patients and staff at their e-hubs through teleconsultation. Examination is aided by local nurses and point-of-care peripheral diagnostic tools.

Under the leadership of co-founders Dr Sara Khuram and Dr Iffat Zafar, Sehat Kahani has reached 653,000 beneficiaries to date via telemedicine, yet convincing families to take up their services hasn’t always been easy. When the Sehat Kahani team first started delivering services to rural communities, families were unwilling to talk to them. “In Pakistan, it can be a hit to a man’s ego when a woman has independence and power,” says Sehat Kahani’s Director of Operations, Makkiya Jawed.

Changing the mindset of the community requires more than just appealing to the women that Sehat Kahani serves, but rather persuading men and families as well. The company has done just that by deploying community mobilisers – influential and trusted members of the community who know the local culture and customs. Mobilisers go door-to-door, educating, marketing, creating awareness and identifying disease patterns in local communities for targeted healthcare and outreach. Mobilisers work with influential local groups such as madrasas, mosques and elders, as well as area health offices, to further promote Sehat Kahani’s work and endorse its technology-based healthcare solutions. Together with Sehat Kahani nurses, who are also well-known members of the community, mobilisers also conduct weekly impromptu meetings on relevant health topics to maintain ongoing engagement with communities.

Being sensitive to local customs and including all members of the community has been critical to Sehat Kahani’s success. Maintaining an ongoing dialogue with communities will play a central role as the company continues its mission to empower marginalised women across Pakistan and make Sehat Kahani a household name.

Kawtar Zerouali Moderator

Thank you dear Anita for the warm welcome. I am intrigued to get this conversation starting and hear from the global community their experience with innovation and technology in enhancing the gender equality agenda. As you mention, Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

Innovation and women’s empowerment are rarely discussed in the same context but each has essential value for human progress.  how innovations have improved women’s well-being, empowered women and advanced gender equality. How can innovation catalyze meaningful change?

Looking forward to a constructive and fruitful debate.

Marwa Azelmat

Hi Kawtar, thanks for this valuable insight! 

I am Marwa from Morocco, an Internet Technology Engineer and currently a post-graduate law student at Queen's University Belfast, UK. I have a passion for innovation and technology, henceforth, I have chosen to conduct my master research on the intersection of ICT and democracy. Within the last ten years, a remarkable shift in communications has undergone certain development throughout history. Therefore, it is crucial to take these changes seriously in order to safeguard and promote human rights and the rule of law within our so-connected societies. The development of social media tools has enabled gender equality advocates to spread their words more quickly and to broader audiences. Emerging technologies significantly improved the quality of data upon which decisions for the benefit of society (and particularly women/girls) are made.

I should point to the fact that answers to your legitimate questions may vary depending on where we live and/or where we come from! Technology is indeed a catalyst for the gender equality agenda, however, technology should be governed through a multi-stakeholder process to make the most out of it. Africa is still struggling with unequal internet access and rooted gendered IT stereotypes whereas the global north is using IoT and AI to improve women's well-being, thus, empower them.

The digital divide is real, the gender digital divide is huge!

So, if we are to use technology for the sake of realizing gender equality. We should work on a multiple level: 

1) Individual: Through education opportunities (digital literacy, digital journalism), trainings/workshops, grassroots movements 

2) State: Inclusive and participatory digital policies, i.e Government + Civil Society + Youth Technology Leaders + Tech Companies + Media+ Technical Community should all be part of the decision making process related to Technology and Innovation

3) Media: Visibility to "normal" role models (women/girls in ICT), raising awareness campaign. * Media should be held accountable for sharing biased contents* 

From my viewpoint, I will highlight again the role model factor that we crucially need when it comes to technology and women's empowerment. Particularly in the MEA region, women and girls need to look up to "ordinary" role models who come from their communities and who are nationals of their countries! Unfortunately, we often believe that opportunities only exist for people who are beyond our borders but that's not the truth. They are so many female technology leaders from Arab and African descent who are working behind closed doors! 

Without technology, I would have never been able to chase my childhood dreams overseas. Opportunities are plenty in the digital environment, but only few women can access to them because of lack of access, or awareness, or FEAR! 


Salam Al-Nukta

I agree with Marwa Azelmat. While, in the MENA region, we spot the light on role models who are blonde or with foreign passports, we are missing out on pioneering women from MENA. Moreover, it is even worse when it comes to people from certain ethnic groups or religions.

My name is Salam, from Syria, and I study Biology with great interests in genetic engineering and evolution. For my whole life, I have heard that I'm welcomed to become a teacher of the subject, however, exclamation marks starts appearing on people's faces when I say that I want to work in the lab. Comments varied. The most popular one was that I will spend too many hours in the lab rather at home with family which will delay, if not diminish, my chances of having a family. Unfortunately, the issue of girls who are interested in codes is very much similar to this.

When we are asked to imagine a female programmer, we often recall thick eye classes, messed hair and somewhat unattractive girls. Nevertheless, when we are asked to imagine a male programmer, we recall men whose intelligence alone is the main attraction tool.

In Syria, I have founded ChangeMakers, which started as a youth-led initiative and is now emerging as a startup tech education and service providing company, aiming to reduce the gender gap in the tech field. I believe that it is a societal issue and if we keep the production of technology limited to men, we are overlooking more than 50% of hidden innovative solutions and product ideas. It is essential for girls to be involved in the production of technology for they are a primary consumer of it.

On another note, I see that the world is developing rapidly resulting in streaming young people's attention and interests to entrepreneurship and technology. 2 of the most powerful tools to build the future we aiming to see and for our children to live in. It is closely interlinked to accessibility to education. Yet, education is not doing enough job to prepare young people, especially females, to the industry of work.

At ChangeMakers, we wanted to tackle the gap in the education curriculums offered by formal methods by designing an adaptable resource to be used while organizing our programming learning bootcamps.

I would summarize actions according tot he following:

Work at the policy level to adapt the education systems to fulfill the needs of today's economic and industrial ecosystems by inserting programming and entrepreneurship.

Work at the community level to raise people's awareness on the importance of such fields and who this impacts their lives.

What are the main areas affected by the development of technology?

Employment: Although many jobs will disappear with the dominance of technology, NEW jobs will be available in the future.

Education: mentioned above.

Mobilization: Smart phones are widely spread today more than ever. A message can be easily disseminated globally.

John Kimani Kirari

Thanks to the Moderators for this useful forum.

I would like to contribute to the question: Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

Undoubtedly, the answer is Yes! There now numerous examples/case studies from developing countries of how women have benefited from technology in terms of promoting gender equality through economic empowerment. However, I am afraid that the recent overemphasis on "technological innovation" has somewhat led to continued marginalization of rural women and the urban poor. From an energy access perspective, in developing countries, the push for innovation is aimed at increasing renewable energy-based electricity generation to the national grid. Unfortunately, rural women and the urban poor have limited access to grid electricity and therefore do not benefit from this kind of innovation.

Consequently, innovative delivery of appropriate technologies that meet basic energy needs such as cooking and heating e.g. energy efficient cookstoves could deliver significant benefits to rural women and the urban poor, both for domestic and income generation purposes. There may not be anything new about energy efficient cookstoves, but they save millions of lives of women and children, reduce the time effort needed to collect woodfuel and can generate some income especially where the cookstove produces biochar. For women entrepreneurs using purchased fuelwood in their businesses, energy efficiency cookstoves could increase their profitability by reducing the amount of fuelwood consumed.

To conclude, the dissemination of energy efficient or the so-called improved cookstoves was a big (read "innovative") thing in the 1990s in developing countries. However, it appears to have faded away - perhaps the effort may have been prematurely terminated in favour of electricity-based renewable energy.


Bonjour à tous

Le sujet est intéressant. Les TIC s'imposent dans tous les domaines pour plus de faciliter. L'accès se développé de plus en plus même en milieu rural. 

Des opportunités s'offrent pour promouvoir l'accès aux informations sur la santé sexuelles et reproductive et les VBG de même que les activités économiques. 

Les TIC sont au Bénin par exemple utilisé également dans les transactions financières des femmes et leur mise en réseau. 

Le défis est la disponibilité d'une connexion internet à moindre coûts. Nous pouvons faire la promotion de l'implémentation des bonnes pratiques dans les sous régions en vue non seulement d'une harmonisation des approche mais aussi une meilleure intégration régionale voir internationale.

Patrice Ehoumi

I agree with you.

However, primary barriers to accessing information via those technologies should be removed first: I mean illiteracy.

Benin government in collaboration with all its partners are already promoting school for all Benin children. Still, there are a lot of adults including adult women that are not literate. The result is that they cannot be fully informed via mobile devices for example.



Dear Kawtar like you I am a firm beleiver that even at the  most fundamental level, innovations can profit women just by improving their well-being in terms of being and staying healthy, their diet, earnings, even their existence.  For me I will try to check in on this platform as often as possible in coming days to learn about policies and practices in other countries on this! Congratulations on facilitating this laudable work!

Anita Gurumurthy Moderator


It is encouraging that countries like Nigeria and Rwanda recognise the need for African nations to be proactive in reaping the benefits of digital innovation. I do feel however that in India and other developing countries, such nascent policies do not explicitly address the how of women's empowerment through digital innovations. It would not be enough to have women be assimilated into lower level segments of the digital economy. Innovations need to be rooted in local realities and development priorities and developing countries need to lead the way in building approaches rather than merely flow with the global discourse. It would be great to learn from the pilots you are talking about.


[~55250] sorry Anita I hope I am not late with this response............

In 2015 the government of Nigeria launched a programme called GWIN; GWIN was a Gender Budgeting initiative of the Federal Government developed to empower women and girls in Nigeria. It involved five Federal Ministries, the Ministry of Communication  was one of the implemeting Ministries , the Ministry carried out specific technology initiatives identified and developed to empower Nigerian women and girls.

The key interventions to empower Nigerian women and girls via ICTs were done through three flagship programmes: The Digital Girls Club; 1,000 Girls ICT Training Programme and SmartWoman Nigeria project (SHE App).

The ministry through the 1,000 Girls in ICT training programme trained 1000 young female graduates of different tertiary institutions from across the 36 states of the federation in the fundamentals of telecommunications. 200 best-performing students were selected and received further training to become Huawei Certified Data Associates (HCDA).
According the government then the Digital Girls Club was created to encourage young girls in secondary schools in Nigeria develop an early interest in ICT-related careers.

The second initiative- the 1000 Girls ICT training programme was designed to provide young unemployed female graduates with job-ready skills to improve their chances of employment in the ICT sector.

While the third, the SmartWoman Nigeria project was designed to bring the catalytic potential of ICTs within the reach of all Nigerian women regardless of their socio-economic background .This third initiative of the Ministry, the SmartWoman Nigeria (S.H.E Mobile App) was developed as a brand of SmartWoman Nigeria to create the largest network of connected Nigerian women. Very ambitious initiative indeed... where the App will provide women with regular content on health, parenting, finance, business, among others, thereby empowering them to improve their lives.

Unfortunately these initiatives where not sustained

Anita Gurumurthy Moderator


Never too late to listen to stories that show pathways of women's empowerment :) I feel that the strategies you describe (which i am sure need to be assessed closely for the lessons) do still suggest the need for all governments to relook at how gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting has to be framed afresh in the digital context. Your description of the initiatives suggests interventions at many levels - from informational empowerment to skill building, education/ curricular changes etc. The setting up of inter-ministerial mechanisms is key I think and if these can be made to work, the system can even move towards harmonized metrics that allow efforts to be tracked for outcomes in terms of actual change in status - from basics like digital skills to complex parameters like autonomy and participation.


[~55250] so true Anita  there is really a need for all governments to relook at how gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting has to be framed afresh in the digital context.  I totally agree, this to me is the 'foundation' of it all. Thank you for your response.

Emad Karim Moderator

Thank you Kawtar and Anita for the leadership. Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities to break trends and reach women and those who are the most likely to be left behind. 

Here are some innovation strategies to empower women:

  • Building market awareness, investment and industry-wide actions to grow an innovation market that advances gender equality and empowerment of women and girls;
  • Developing tools and methodologies with industry partners to take a gender-responsive approach to innovation;
  • Promoting women as innovators and entrepreneurs; and
  • Investing in innovations and technologies that meet the needs of women; made by women for women.
Zedan Mohamad

Thank you, Emad for sharing your inputs, which I believe they are critical and important when it comes to women empowerment economically. I would like to add that empowering women economically should be planned, managed, and monitored as a business/social business. Most of the one to two years projects that aim at training women and building their capacity are limited in their impact if not doing harm. Therefore, in our approach, we created a business model in Iraq that is establishing the foundation of a what we hope it will be sustainable business that led by women and employ women. The goal is that the business and the brand we created will not only provide employment but will inspire the women and the small businesses about how to run business and how to grow effectively as well as giving them access to technical and financial support. 

We believe that advocating and empowering women should be done through models/initiatives that make influence or develop impact organically. Which means that we need to look for existing initiatives that could be either scaled up or replicated within the targeted community. In addition, there is no one fit solution for all challenges even under the same topic such as women economic empowerment. Each country, community, group of women has its own character and barriers that we need to understand and take in consideration before planning an intervention.

As an example, in Iraq we started our first project trying to support widows in Baghdad by giving them training on making handmade candles that we market internationally through the business we established. We were successful in enabling them to become candle makers to earn money out of the orders we place, however, very few women started their own businesses in light of the skills they learned. The same problem appeared when we tried to work with internally displaced women whom we trained on how to make quilts and accessories. Not so many were willing to start their own businesses or even to try. 

After a closer look at the projects and the target groups, we decided that these initiatives should be rooted in the community through women who are already doing what we are trying to do. We needed women who can be example and inspiration to the others to make them believe that they also can be successful. We started targeting businesses that are led by women and now we are providing them with business development training and capacity building with the hope that they can expand and hire more women. 


Thanks Emad......i really suport your point about working with industry partners to take a gender-responsive approach to innovation. During my child bearing years it was usually very difficult for me to drive in my 3rd trimester  because whenever I put on the seat belt  of my car I felt breathless. I couldn't afford a driver so I had to drive without seat belt most of the time. I feel its high time CAR Manufacturers produce  gender responsive seat belts!  Thank you!

Ghada salem

Actually , I am interested in hearing more about innovation and ICT and how using IT would enhance women participation in non conventional trades/ occupations 

Rocco Santoro

The anniversary of Beijing Declaration is the best occasion for understanding what international community has done and what it would have to do. The BD consists of 12 areas of concerns that are developped in 52 strategic objectives. It implies a serious analysis for each strategic objective locally determined and the overall outcome achieved. Nevertheless it is an urgent fact that has overhauled the scenario: the process of withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of US (the incipit) and Russia (the answer). This is the most evident insight that the global governance has still ruled by the dialectic of the menace and the viril exhibition of the power. The point 28 of the BD is ignored and it shows the best representation that 20 years after BD any achievements could be neglected by the decisions of Masculine Chiefs of the Strongest Military Forces in the World.  This event should be worth an extraordinary action of the worlwide women movement at any level for a globally answer coherent with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It is urgent for the destiny of the Human kind.

Willies Chanozga Mwandira

Thank you Anita, Emad, Kawtar and Leila for the leadership on the discussion track on technology and innovation from a gender equality perspective. As a development professional with a lot of passion in gender, and based on practical field experiences there are many gender issues and concerns that come to my mind. But for this discussion I would be glad to get more insight into the following  key questions:

  • Is there digital divide between men and women, boys and girls? If the digital divide does exist, what are the underlying causes? What are the policy interventions to redress the situation? 
  • Are women equally innovating together with their male counterparts or they are more inclined towards being passive recipients of the innovations and technologies? Do we have a platform where top women innovators can showcase their innovations, including digital innovations? 
  • Do we have good examples of governments that are investing in technologies and innovations that meet the needs of women and girls? 
  • To what extent are women benefiting from digital innovations? 

Since we have experts on this forum, I am certain that they will comprehensively tackle the above questions.

Ashwini Sathnur


25 years ago the speed of technological advance was arguably not foreseen. Today as digital technologies and data usher in the 4th industrial revolution, what key issues and concerns should form a part of discussion at the forum? 

During the historical times in the world which is around 25 years ago, technology was at its beginning. Ideologies and computer platforms were still starting its applications. Persons residing in one region were not in a position to communicate with persons residing in distantly located regions. Such were the times then.

But in the current era, digital communications have ushered in multitudes of convenience. Communications, including the areas of entertainment and the areas of information dissemination and the areas of technologies applications for inclusive development and sustainable development, have provided means of ease, convenience and benefits.

Thus in the latest era, there is a requirement for inclusive development. Thus creating opportunities for gender equality and inclusion of women in the work sector which would lead to the progress of society and mankind!


Does this affect different areas of the globe differently? Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

Different areas and regions on the globe have differing cultures and attitudes. Thus the concept of gender equality would be perceived and understood differently in the different regions.

But due to the rapid convergence of technologies and its applications, there is a rise of technology's utilization by women. As technologies are operated similarly by both men and women, it would not require additional energy or roles by women for the objective of building the technological applications or for the objective of utilization of these created technological tools and products. Thus technologies could be termed gender neutral and gender equal!

Thus technologies could be harnessed for women's economic empowerment and enable the creation of a key role in leading to the bringing about the new era in the world about gender equality!


Dace Kavasa

There are a number of issues related to technology, innovation/impact and economic empowerment that could be explored: 

1) Economy/access to resources: there are some studies demonstrating that women's access to resources/investment is limited compared to men's. Malin Malmstrom Like https://www.ltu.se/staff/m/malinm-1.81101?l=en in Stockholm Forum presented their research on biased attitudes towards women's businesses, there should be more data and possible actions to mitigate such realities available. It would be relevant to raise awareness that both entrepreneurs/investors and lawmakers developing laws and policies towards entrepreneurship and innovation support are aware of the biased attitudes towards businesses presented / run by women, or innovations developed by women and FOR women.

2) linked to above - innovations developed for women tend to receive less attention, support. 

3) Finally - the technologies and impact on women - here seemingly gender neutral technologies - open up whole spectrum of challenges of AI and biases (gender, race) built into technology (face recognition, voice recognition). Moreover, while focus is on technology (eg. Facebook) there little regulation or focus on impact and consequences. UN just released today results on assessment of harassment women experience online and to what degree it transfers to real life and threatens their lives, health and wellbeing (including that of families).  = thus, the main question remains - is technology gender neutral? and how systems/biases around those people who create new technologies contribute to further stereotyping men/women. 

Carlos Saúl Mena Carmona

En América Latina como en gran parte de las zonas territoriales que están involucradas en las dinámicas de desarrollo, hay un fuerte rezago en la integración del paradigma de la igualdad, mucho de él se verifica a partir de la existencia de programas educativos y operadores de dichos programas que disienten o ignoran la veracidad y la necesidad de integrar esta realidad en las estructuras educativas, lo que se traduce en una menor inclusión de las mujeres, no sólo en el manejo de las tecnologías, sino a la edificación, programación y construcción de las las mismas.

Creo que un indicador importante que traería la luz sobre el estado y la proyección de la igualdad en el ámbito tecnológico, es el número de mujeres que se incorporan a los estudios profesionales de carácter tecnológico, de la misma forma, vale la pena detenerse y valorar quiénes dirigen y orientan los programas educativos y qué tanto se integra a la visión curricular el entendimiento del género y la igualdad.

Sobre este rubro creo que podría generarse una proyección de cambio certero y definitivo en la mejor y mayor inclusión de la mujer en el sector tecnológico.

Si la igualdad se integra en el pensamiento y creación de nueva tecnología, si quienes construyen la tecnología la proyectan desde bases congruentes, un alto porcentaje de fenómenos de discriminación debieran reducirse notoriamente.

Karolina Mazetyte

Hello everyone. Very happy to join this discussion from Sweden. I think it is such an important topic. All the knowledge and insights, which I have seen come from the work, which I have been doing. I am not a policy person, but I would love to contribute with practical examples, which I have seen in Scandinavia :)

Last year I worked at SingularityU Nordic in Copenhagen. Being exposed to the startup, tech and innovations world, which even in Scandinavia is mainly dominated by men, I would like to raise these questions?:

1. How can we increase the number of women working in startups, and tech related roles, especially, how can we increase the number of women in leadership positions? I see this area as a collaborative work between governments, business, educational institutions and civil society. I believe that it has to be co-created together the strategy by the major actors in the city/country. I have seen quite many initiatives, which were started by one or few actors, making a certain impact, but in the end of the day the impact is on a very small level. For example, in Malmo (Sweden) Malmo Startups started an initiative called ''Women in Entrepreneurship Breakfast'' (https://www.malmostartups.com/events/2018/3/28/women-in-entrepreneurshi…) with the aim to connect women (both women entrepreneurs and women who would like to become entrepreneurs or enter the tech world). It is a great initiative, but in the end of the day it doesn't tackle the structural problem in the society, like the gender biases, etc.

2. The speed in the startup and technology world most of the times is exponential, and yet we as humans are not exponential. People work nights and days at times, which leads to burn outs, depression, anxiety and panick attacks. Only in one year, I have witnessed many people getting the burn out, both men and women. I am a strong advocate that along with the discussion on how to empower women economically and inspire more women to join the world of technology and innovations, we have to talk simulatenously about the well-being strategies, which should be in place to prevent the burn outs as an example. In Sweden alone, every year on average more than 25 000 people take sick leaves due to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Few years ago, Sweden even created a National Commission on Well-being as these problems are rapidly increasing. 

3. Recently the World Economic Forum announced that Lonelines is one of the major challenges the world is facing. Technology unfortunately can be a big contributor to the increasing number of lonely people on this planet. I personally believe that, if we talk about technology & innovations, we have to raise a question on how can we prevent the increase of loneliness and the decrease of human-to-human connection? 

4. I would love to know what programs exist in other countries helping women to increase their self-confidence and to inspire them to take leadership positions as an example? I have worked with hundreds of young women who wanted to start their own business or join the fields, which would be primarily dominated by men. I would hear all over again from my fellow women that they are not confident enough to embrace their dreams. After hearing the same answer all over again, I dedicated a big part of my life to help women to build up the self-confidence and self-love, and help them to find their purpose in life and embrace it. I would really love to know some examples of similar practices in other countries. 

Warm greetings from Sweden,


Victoria Stetsko

Hi all, I'd like to add a voice from Russia on the link between women's digital awareness and ability to go about surveillance, censure and other manifestations of shrinking civic space. States use advanced technologies to tap phones, hack emails and otherwise intrude into activities of civil society. Women are particularly vulnerable - especially those working on women's rights - as often their organizations have small resources to build skills of digital and information security. However, we need to be one step ahead of the States, especially in the repressive environments, in order to protect WHRDs and contribute to sustainable development of women's movements. 

The ways to go about it could be developing digital awareness trainings focusing on countries with the most repressed civic space for women's activism - especially run in the local languages. International donors could include financing of such trainings in their calls.

Bapu Vaitla

Hi everyone, very happy to see this discussion ongoing. I work with Data2X, a initiative set up to fill global gender data gaps. Part of what we do is to evaluate whether big data can help us learn more about the lives of women and girls.

To respond to the above questions: I believe that the issues of privacy, security, and bias should be central to the discussions at the forum. Clearly new models are needed. The key steps are to define what informed consent means with respect to digital data, the definition of legal protocols for safe data sharing for the public good, and procedures for addressing algorithmic bias.

These issues certainly affect different parts of the world differently. Informed consent is difficult enough to authentically regulate in the global North, and much more complicated in the context of power differentials--between women and men, urban and rural, rich and poor--that regularly manifest themselves in other parts of the world. Legal protocols may be more difficult to enforce in countries with weak judicial systems.

Technology can indeed be harnessed for gender equality--cell phone data, in particular, holds great promise for learning about the socio-economic well-being of individual women. But ethical discourse has to keep pace with technological development--something that can only happen if we create formal processes and hard benchmarks for that conversation.

Mary Tembo

I am really happy to join this discussion at this moment, when all things are coming in Technology way, and all things is coming as global continent . As we discuss let us think critically about the rural woman and children. they are the majority in our society. social -economic and empowerment are very critical to our society and to reach out to all.

Salma Belhassine

Hello everyone, 

I'm Salma, a gender equality activist from Tunisia. I'm delighted to see such a topic covered because, as we're living in the digital age, I see technology and internet as a space for artistic creation through multimedia and a new style of writing facilitated by hypertext links.

As a matter of fact, with the mobile app I'm developing with my team, we used technology to decrease the violence women face in public spaces.

So, can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment? ABSOLUTELY ! I personally don't think that economic empowerment is possible in 2019 without the support of technology. If we look around, we can see that the most powerful businesses are giving technology a main role. 

In fact, some technological approaches are accessible and easy, like coding. The real question is: why aren't there more women who code?

Today, we are facing new social inequalities where access to technology is limited for the underpriviliged categories thus, limiting their participation in a knowledge-based economy. 

Mary Tembo

greetings every one on this plat form has much as we agree to all suggestions , we need to look at the human potential in the fourth industrial revolution, its an agenda to shape the future of education for gender and work, 

With education  should be for all and let the Cell phones be made even in our local languages in order for every to be able join face book, twiiter etc, with such production we will see alot of participation from women folks. it will even help to bring different players on the platform to discuss a common vision on emerging issues

Mary Tembo

one of the success story in zambia has lauched a policy for which is social inclusion for all,{bottom up approach is being used} 

Olin Thakur


Greetings to you all! So good to be part of this discussion.

I would like to refer the context of rural Nepal and India. When we are talking about economic empowerment it is very important that we don't overlook women's access to and their ownership over resources. Even till date the parents' properties are divided among sons but daughters do not have access nor ownership. Once they get married they move to husband's house in most cases where too they don't have ownership over land and other financial resources. And this restricts them from decision making or doing what they want to even though they may have plenty of ideas or skills. q1. how to enhance women’s  access and ownership to land and other financial resources, and use of benefits from financial resources and how can innovation/technologies help make this happen? q2. how to bridge the gender gap in digital and financial inclusion? q3. how to change the mindset of investors when it comes to investing into innovations by rural women? q4.how to empower rural women farmers? 

Few things that could be done are- having such laws and policies in place that promotes equality in terms of resource access and ownership and also each of us following such laws and policies and setting examples. 

-we need to accelerate digital and financial inclusion. digital literacy should be part of each literacy programmes in the rural communities. Though cellphones are common these days even in rural communities, yet rural people can't use it properly or are reluctant to use it because of the language. May be if technologies could have instructions in local languages it could boost the number of users and also digital literacy.

-it also requires commitments from different key stakeholders for reducing gender gaps in digital and financial inclusion and assets ownership and use.
-in countries like nepal underbanked population (mostly women)is very high. providing them with mobile phones and engaging banks to reach out those communities and open bank accounts  would bridge gender gaps. social protection benefits could go directly to women instead of via male household member.

-Women’s ownership and use of benefits from financial resources are limited than men’s, even though women’s property rights are guaranteed by law. Achieving women’s economic empowerment would require analyzing patterns of use of technology by women and identifying the right combination of awareness raising, literacy, education and mentoring  to equip them with relevant skills and confidence to use technologies,financial services and assets effectively.

- rural women's voices should be taken into account for innovation in digital , financial and property products services and policies.
-virtual skills school with contents and tutorials in local languages.

- investing in innovations from marginalised groups are perceived as more risky. there is limited market awareness and investment in innovations that meets the needs of women. We need to promote a gender responsive approach in innovations and support and connect women innovators and raise awareness of their innovations and gov. and stakeholders should provide mentoring and also financial support.

- empowering women farmers through mobile technologies.here's one good example by UN Women and WFP's PPP platform on how it can empower rural women farmers.

Recently Ministry of land mgmt and poverty alleviation in Nepal has proposed the following plans which is a very good step towards women's economic empowerment through land ownership :
- married couples to have join ownership of land
- additional discount in registration fees if land is registered in a woman's name.
- the gov. will charge only NPR 100 as tax if husband and wife seek joint ownership of land and house.

Anita Gurumurthy Moderator

Summary of Week 1.


It has been a pleasure to read your comments and engage with some of you this first week of an important global discussion with implications for all our societies.

Some wonderful reflections from many parts of the world - with contributions from local to multilateral organisations and individuals working to support women - provide food for thought/ insights for consideration and policy recommendations.

From the rich discussion it is evident that the digital age has changed things around – brought in a revolution in communication, work organisation and opportunity to network. In the knowledge economy, the most powerful businesses are driven by technology. Yet, digital divides, building on old exclusions remain; the lack of gender equality in education, for instance, contributes to the gender divides in technological use, and traditional barriers such as lower access to resources creates barriers in women’s participation in the economy. Already, marginalised women are also impacted more. So, while lack of connectivity and high costs in many places are barriers to women’s participation in the digital economy and society, what keeps women from claiming their share in the 4th industrial revolution is old questions about gender biases and gender hierarchies in both technological and market structures. Not only in developing countries, but even in developed ones, innovations for women tend to receive less attention and support.

There is also the risk that technological progress in the digital universe creates new concerns for which we are not adequately prepared. Biases in big data and AI as well as nascency of regulatory mechanisms to tackle the impact and consequences of things gone wrong is a big concern. The exciting promises of the 4th industrial revolution stand side by side with the specter of harassment that women experience online and the patriarchal push backs women are having to negotiate in online spaces. The discussions in the first week underscored strongly the need to look at gender related policies in a comprehensive way – focusing not only on economic dimensions, but aiming to ensure overall well-being and freedom from violation.

The starting point, and indeed, the goal itself, is women’s self confidence and self perception. Initiatives on the ground show us how much women gain in this regard through interventions like mentoring programs.

The design of technology needs to be seen in gendered terms and reviewed for its gender equality impacts. The degree of autonomy women have over technological and economic processes they participate in is a cornerstone parameter. While ensuring that the benefits of technology reach women is a policy priority, the innovation economy calls for outcomes that can catapult women as creators and mount a challenge to the status-quo stacked against women in techno-social and market structures. Twenty five years after the Beijing Declaration, it is necessary to look forward at how technological change has necessitated a back-to-the-drawing-board situation. What is clear is that innovation must be contextual and embedded, accounting for women’s specific needs and interests locally. Policy stakeholders must study the foundational principles that enabled success in a particular project, and distill these for adaptations at scale and across geographies.

Programs to encourage girls at school level to build higher order digital skills, provide enskilling opportunities for women in the working age group, promote women entrepreneurs and bring new possibilities for women’s businesses through digital value-added are an important priority. While government may run these as flagship initiatives for a few years, that is not enough. A longer term strategy to sustain such interventions is required. The change that is sought is at the level of deep cultures of institutions and enablement – for example, through business incubators – needs to proceed from a long term and systemic, rather than, siloed and project-based, frame. Inter-ministerial mechanisms and gender budgeting initiatives in this regard can help maximise resources and effectiveness.

The governance of digital data, institutional arrangements for managing citizen rights in a datafied society and legal approaches that balance economic and social value as well as private and public interests should go hand-in-hand with interventions for innovation in the digital age.

At all points it needs to be remembered that digital technologies can deepen civic space and promote voice. Women’s digital access as economic actors needs to create empowerment that brings deep awareness about how their civic-political and economic well-being are interlaced.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

When in 2010,before writing my e-novels,which are on KDP,amazon,i had done lots research on Legal systems,and fiance and currency.This idea i developed might have led me to accept certain systems of use of Digital technology for banking and finance.

The legal systems surrounding finances are less than 100 years old,and so the Fiat money itself has less history than just over 90 years.Even the acceptence of currencies across nations was even less than 70 years.

Migration appens for [1]to find livilihood,and to prosper.They even till date do not understand what are Human Rights,and if tey are there,where they are applicable and to what extent.The countries they belong is the one which has to enshrine human rights in their constitution and gyrentee them acess to all prime systems,equally to all of its citizens.After all nature and its activity can not be called as human right.That is like rain ,and water in drougt.Thus te counties are defined as soverign,based on universal princeples on which UN was established.

Innovation is simply under innovation rights, intellectual property, and the patent rights.The IPR is a well protected system world over in almost all the 192 countries.IT ,IOT,IT enabled,Digital technologies are travelling slowly towards,Universal Health coverage.

The NTD[neglected tropical diseases],in tropical areas,which are prone for more changes in the climate action of our globe[happening on globe-for what ever reason] need more dat aqusition,and data assimilation.Similar is the NCD [non communable diseases] needs to be tackled including maleria.

Some newly aquired diseases may crop up due to changes in cold and heat in some of the regions across the equator.Innovation is definitely under IPR,but the society and governments have to accept and give acess to adoptabulity of such innovation.

The innovation in to transporting sector is one of the most needed.The development of innovative societies and making lives possible across all small towns is a must.The companies owing business in Aviation are already in to creating a elicopter of "mass flying at low altitude and across a city ".

Alternative technologies  innovation  is a must in to almost each systems of human living and betterment.

Martine Zaarour

Hey everyone,

My name is Martine Zaarour, from Byblos ,Lebanon. I am an architect and an activist in sustainable development for an NGO called ODDD: https://www.facebook.com/OrganisationdeDD/

After taking part of the YLP4 program and joining the forum last December and meeting all these beautiful and inspiring souls from the MENA region I got compelled to develop my project at all costs.

Jar Thuraya aims to empower women living in rural areas who prepare seasonal food and help them expand their market to a wider audience. The method will be online, however these women live in absurd conditions,and their situation in addition to their age does not allow them to access technology or use it properly.

Imagine if all these women had access to technology and were capable of managing their businesses on their own , we wouldn't have to implement new strategies to help them, but we would support them in expanding and improving.

Maybe the access to technology is limited to a certain age range, however, everyone deserves the right to access information, use it, also protect themselves if needed. Age or location should not be a boundary.

My five years plan, is to expand my project through an application, and train the women to access their own profiles and sell their products on their own. The orientation they deserve will allow them to feel more independent and strong, capable of managing their own business from the comfort of their kitchens. I aim to help these women explore the possibilities technology has to offer, with the right guidance and education. I have also realized that some families only limit the access to the web to men. However, equity between genders claims the access to all the services equally between genders and women can benefit from technology in family matters and education.

I might have related this topic to my personal experience with the development of the project, however, I believe that the issue tackles different aspects and different categories of people.

I enjoyed reading your comments and I look forward to sharing with you Jar Thuraya.

Kawtar Zerouali Moderator

Thank you dear Anita for an impressive summary of the first week. and here I would like to invite  our contributors to not shy away but to share with us more on their personal or professional experiences with digital divides, and how they facilitated access to ensure that technology is playing a positive tole in the gender equality agenda. What should be then a priority when we talk about Technology Innovation and Economic empowerment. How can we ensure that the promises of the 4th industrial revolution is serving an equal society and not leaving anyone behind? I look forward to reading your comments…..

Martine Zaarour

Dear Kawtar,

I believe that it should start by free internet access to all, anywhere anytime. It should be implemented in the countrie's agenda and developed accordingly. However, due to many restrictions and costs, I think that any initiative on a smaller scale could help. They can induce internet spot and interactive centers/spaces in all the public spaces or the village's hubs to motivate people into accessing information.

Moneera Yassien

Hey Kawtar,

One of our objectives in AMNA org is to enrich the online content about women's issues, through technology we are creating a safe space for survivors of violence to voice their experiences, we also encourage male bloggers to share their views and ideas on how to stop violence against women. I believe technology should be used in closing the knowledge gap and create safe cyberspaces for women. 

I believe to demonstrate gender equality in innovation and expand the scale of economic empowerment, we need to facilitate and ease the access for women in different fields which are subject to gender stereotypes, and societies turn to put many constraints for women who want to join and flourish in specific fields like STEM, economics, religion studies...etc.

Patrick Mwesigye

Thanks every body for the great insights. It's nice reading through all the comments and it's clear that we cannot seat back and watch this new digital and technological era influence and shape new development trends and not address the needs and aspirations of women and girls. 

The rising rates of violence, stigma and discrimination against women and girls is something that if well, harness technology and innovations could greatly address. Let me share hear a quick example. The introduction of mobile banking in countries like Kenya and Uganda has been a great relief for many women who are able to save and keep their hard money electronically on their phones hence reducing the risk of their drunkard men taking away and drinking it. For women to benefit from technology, it needs to simplified and applied to their day to day life. 

For example imagine if telecommunication companies worked with the police and judiciary to support women to use their mobile phones to report and follow up on cases of violence.

Additionally also is that we must encourage and support adolescent girls to take up studies in science technology, engineering and mathematics. We cannot stand and watch women being only beneficiaries on innovations and tech, but also they need to be part of the architect of this technology as engineers, inventors, researchers, scientists, doctors among others. Women must have an equal share in designing new tech and innovations because this is the only way to make it gender responsive and sensitive.

We therefor need to see global funding mechanisms to support girls in primary, secondary schools and university to take up science and technological courses and subjects.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

I still remeber year 2001-03 when i was in Addis Ababa.It was a US-AID programme in Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVET.Latter such programme must have the funding from many nations.

The countries have to give in teir doctorine of how better they want to continue and how the training will help their communities in enhancing te living conditions.Each work,including,housing,Roads,Health,and even bakery enhances better lives and more employment.

As far as Internet is concerned India has not only developed and using fastest internet but also improved acess to over a billion people in a short span of less than 2 and half years.This has been acknowledged by ITU,and other agencies. 

Emad Karim Moderator

Thank you everyone for the rich and insightful inputs. Indeed, ICTs offer vast potential for women and girls: from ending poverty, to improving education and health, to agricultural productivity, and creating decent jobs. It has been estimated that 90% of future jobs will require ICT skills, and some 2 million new jobs will be created in the computer, mathematical, architecture and engineering fields. However, if current trends do not change, women will be the most affected by the digital divide.

Here are more guiding questions that we are looking for your insights to enrich the discussion:

  1. Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. How can we ensure that women and girls acquire the right ICT and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills to enjoy greater choice and access better-educated, better-paid jobs?
  2. A recently launched Unilever report on stereotyping shows that 77% of men and 55% of women believe that men are the best choice for high-stake projects. How do we change the sexist messages that girls and boys are receiving?
  3. What are the successful programs that managed to deconstruct negative stereotypes and traditional gender roles?  How to work with marketers and the media to stop sexist – and sexualized – advertising, and ensure women are portrayed accurately and equally in TV, film and the news media?
  4. Who are the positive role models in your country who were a powerful tool in eliminating gender stereotypes, especially those relating to ICTs and women in STEM?
  5. A lot of women studies ICTs but less join the ICT sector and more than 40% leave the sector because of sexist work environment. How to work with private sector partners to engage seriously in rectifying gender inequality to set changes for women in the workplace?
  6. ICTs can also help to bridge the skills gap by extending the reach of education and literacy to a population that was previously excluded due to a lack of infrastructure or political instability. How can we bridge women’s education-to-employment skills gap? 
  7. Access to ICTs remains concentrated in the developed world – around the world, 53% of the world’s population (equivalent to some 3.9 billion people) are not connected, and in several of Africa’s poorer and more fragile countries, only one person in every 10 people is on the Internet. There are some 250 million fewer women online than men, and the gap is widening (from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016). How can we eliminate that gap and make the internet accessible and safe for women and girls?
  8. How can ICTs and innovation be accessible to Refugees and specially women and girls – Leaving No One Behind?
  9. The internet is becoming a nastier and scarier place for many people, especially for women and girls. How can we guarantee a safe online space for them?  

  10. What are the innovative advocacy campaigns that promoted gender equality in  your country?




Saripalli Suryanarayana

I find the women and Girls of new age are far better even in space science,and scientist jobs.That is more abut the first point.

Regarding second point,i would like to state,not only workers but also works contractors are now a days more women than in 1990.

In that aspect today even in major projects ,including mass constructions,women are project managers,controlling several engineers.

We need to fill more in production technologies of STEEL,CEMENT,and allied fieds,also into production of petroleum and its allied fields also the women needs to tread more.

Thank you for right observations.

Mahitab Omar Eltabie

Common stereotypes always result from the ingrained attitudes and values that society imposes, They are the preconceived beliefs and assumptions for men acquiring  high-level intellectual ability more than women, these stereotypes always have a huge role in limiting the development of the natural talents and abilities of girls, preventing women and girls from engaging in some certain activities from early age, losing interest in many fields and discouraging women from pursuing specific majors and careers. And to think about the methods to develop and acquire the ICT and stem skills we should first address the causes for the lower rates for women engagement, from lack of encouragement from the surroundings, the underrated women potentials in many fields, lack of female role models, differences in education chances than ones offered to men and many more. And to try to ensure the achievement for the right skills we should help to achieve fair quality education chances and opportunities like men have, having more activities for girls at small age to engage in to stimulate different and new ways of thinking and dealing with society and gaining desired job skills, we should also work to make internet more accessible and affordable for easy and safe usage. We should also take care of  the surrounding community and attitudes and try to make awareness campaigns to allow the participation of girls with their family and community to try to change the common and strict attitudes, also engagement of men and boys from early age in women’s rights campaigns will have a huge role in changing mentalities and maybe changing  the known stereotype. At last, organizations and companies and even schools should offer more opportunities for women with equal wages to encourage more women to work and even schools should inspire girls to follow new fields and support them through their learning process

Moneera Yassien

Thank you so much Emad for pointing out how the internet is becoming very scary and nasty, I believe the big social media networks should improve their policies against harassment and targeting of women, from a personal experience, many times I have been a target of bullying and online harassment, every time I report a tweet/comment the usual response I get is that the content is not clearly violating their rules on abusive behaviors. I think they don't invest enough resources in investigating the reports, for example, most of the online harassment is written in local dialect which I believe they don't understand, the proof for me was whenever I report something in English response is most likely positive

These corporates should be held accountable for making the internet a safer place for its users, same way they did with the Data Protection Act, or we have to wait for a disaster to happen in order to change our policies?!

Mahitab Omar Eltabie

gender-based messages in general ( sexist attitudes ) always create an environment full of violence and disrespecting, which leads to enhance men's right to handle high –stakes jobs instead of women, and to change the stereotype of sexist messages we should design different programs and campaigns to defy the traditional gender role and collaborate with media agencies to create billboards, flyers, advertisements, and films to portray the real fair image of gender roles and stop those sexist messages, and we must continue engaging with non-traditional allies.  Already there are multiple campaigns about sexist attitudes that have been launched until now (#StandUptoSexism- Doing nothing does harm –stop it at the start)

Teresa Fahim

Thank you Emad for those useful guiding questions.

Although the technology industry is a newly tapped sector in some countries as Egypt, I believe that in broad terms, women are dealing with the same issues faced before in the field of female education and women labor, similar challenges and similar opportunities.                                      This can be beneficiary and time saving if we applied the same successful approaches used before to tackle the precedent issues to the innovation and technology field.

I would like to mention that in Egypt , there are many recently launched programs that aim at minimizing the barriers to entry to the ICT sector by women and promoting them as innovators and entrepreneurs. Among them are:

  • ICT For Women (Ministry of communication and Information technology) and the ICT Excellence Contest. ICT For Women also highlights successful positive female role models.



  • “She Means Business” workshop, the workshop targets women who are interested in entrepreneurship through social media.


  •  “EiTesal” , a private sector , non-profit entity that started an initiative to empower women in ICT.


The above mentioned programs together with many others can lay the groundwork for the media, specially the social media and electronic press, to deconstruct the stereotypes and promote women as innovators and entrepreneurs in a dynamic, fast changing market as the ICT sector.

Mahitab Omar Eltabie

Most refugee women are prevented from accessing ICTs but also limits their ability to exercise broader strategic life choices, also they face crucial situations as being victims of forced marriages for money, lack of medical and financial aid in relation to men, constantly relocation outside the camps and many more. So the availability of ICTs, particularly mobile phone and computer are necessary as it deeply mediates their lives in all aspects from education and development support to basic elements necessary for life. we should make mobile phones and computers more accessible, collaborating with mobile network organizations and host governments to invest and expand cellular network infrastructure for the places where refugees stay, offering low-cost mobile devices and internet plans, biometrics to facilitate the registration, and we can set up a centralized center where refugees could go to study or surf the internet, but we have to take care about the privacy as it remains an issue for refugees that use ICTs, they always have concerns about privacy when browsing websites online or posting on social media as they believe that authorities are surveilling their communities. This limits the types of information that refugees access online and creates mistrust about the content that they see online, so in collaboration with governments, we should create safe websites to encourage them to engage freely and with confidence.

Egypt has created various campaigns for supporting gender equality, and empowering women in all fields, and from the famous campaigns:

  • #HerStory by UN Women in Egypt

Rehab Rayan

ICT in Women Empowerment

  • Creating an enabling environment, regulation & policy and projects with supporting strategies to promote women’s equal access to ICT.
    • All educational institutes should be enforced to offer basic computer skills to women of all ages.
    • ICT awareness camps should be organized on a regular basis in rural areas.
    • Internet facilities should be available at all locations, including the remote ones.
    • Free computer centres should be available in the rural area for providing basic computer skills.
    • Digital libraries should be there, providing all the books throughout.
  • Developing content in response to women’s concerns and reflects their local
    Knowledge, valuable in their daily lives, business, and family responsibilities.
    • Motivating women about ICT to help solving daily problems.
    • Providing e-commerce support.
    • ICT can be used in the women's security field such as installing cameras, emergency apps and providing access to all locations.
  • Supporting representation of women and girls in scientific and technical
    education using ICTs.
    • Establishing technology, knowledge-based groups through e-learning.
  • Promoting employment in the IT sector for women and the use of ICTs for women’s SMEs.
  • Implementing e-governance strategies, which are accessible to women; and promoting women’s lobbying, advocacy and free participation in decision-making activities.





Teresa Fahim

Although some of the advantages of the spread of technology and social media to women, are offering them new channels to better advocate for themselves, and helping to put limits to violence against women specially in the form of street harassment through mobile applications as Harassmap , Guard My Angel and End Sexual Harassment, Internet imposes new threats directed more to women. 

So in order to ensure a more safe space for women, actions needs to be taken on many levels;

  1. Propose and Activate more laws against cyber crimes with clear, detailed description of the nature of those crimes.
  2. Create more awareness among the society about the definitions of of cyber crimes , and their psychological impact on the victims against  the assumption that virtual incidences can't have serious consequences.
  3. Encourage more reporting of the incidences specially the ones that involve direct safety or physical threats, to ensure maximum penalty for the perpetrator.
  4. Take this risk as an opportunity to motivate more women to learn the required skills to join ICT careers specially in the field of cyber security , highlighting the end result of their contribution to the online safety.
  5. Design workshops with simple language about basics of personal information sharing and protection online, specially for the young girls and new internet users.
Basma Eltohamy

Thank you, Emad for pointing out those important questions, I think one of the most important advantages of the spread of technology and social media to women, is offering them new channels to advocate for themselves in a greater manner and opening eyes to a lot of problems which are very important and very sensitive at the same time especially in country like Egypt, now women, men and young boys and girls (I think they are the most important audience) can hear and talk about Family violence and how it is a crime and not like kind of family caring or father rule, they can talk and discuss about Female genital mutilation and how it affects women negatively and women can tell their stories now, It also helps to put limits to violence against women especially street harassment through mobile applications, Internet sites, and Pages and such Social media campaigns turns into Realistic and advertising campaigns discussing issues before it was difficult to discuss openly and draw the attention of the society to it like The national campaign against sexual harassment, which engages with a range of partners, including the Ministry of investment and international cooperation, and the United Nations in the area of transport and communications and metro campaigns against Harassment and other examples.

At the same time and as you mentioned Internet imposes new threats directed more to women as  cyberstalking, sexual harassment, surveillance and the unauthorized use and manipulation of personal information including images and videos.. so social media networks should improve their policies against harassment and targeting of women,

And in order to ensure a more safe space for women, a lot of steps need to be taken on many levels;

  1. Building women’s leadership to engage with national policymakers and other key actors in identifying remedies that may be available in current laws and regulations and, where needed, developing new policies that seek to protect women’s rights including their safety and security and Activate more laws against cyber crimes with clear, detailed description of the nature of those crimes.

  2. Spread more awareness among the society about the definitions of cyber crimes and their negative and serious impact on the victims.
  3. Building women’s ability to influence internet and telecommunications businesses such as social networking platforms, web hosting companies and mobile phone operators to develop corporate user policies and practices that respect women’s rights. This includes the adequate representation of women in policy-making and standards-setting processes and ensuring that policies and standards consider the safety and security of users.

  4. Make more workshops for the public about privacy and personal information sharing and protection online, especially for young girls.
  5. Campaigning to create an online environment and culture that affirms everyone’s right to safety and security. Such an online culture would not tolerate behavior and practices that are harmful and violent to women and girls and it should include engage young people.

And Egypt has created various campaigns for supporting gender equality, and empowering women in all fields, and from the famous campaigns:

  • “She Means Business” workshop, the workshop targets women who are interested in entrepreneurship through social media.


  • Organizations like " Entreprenelle" https://www.entreprenelle.com/about-us that exists to promote great ideas that inspire and empower women economically through a wider range of sources to help them excel.
Mahitab Omar Eltabie

Despite the increased digital access that we have nowadays Women and girls remain vulnerable to different types of gender-based violence not only in real life but also on the online platform with great rates as they are more than twice as likely as men to experience sexual harassment. Women are always worried about the huge minefield of various types of violence and sexualized harassment whether working on specific sites, gaming or just using social media from ( online gender threats, stalking threats, sexual harassment comments, animated images of rape and sexual assault, presence of rape jokes, and body shaming comments) But on the contrary, men spending time online might worry only about identity theft or a virus. These attitudes have become an established norm in the digital society and we should find a solution to it. we should first work on increasing the privacy settings for social websites and to have bots that can detect any sexually abusing attitudes and hateful comments, also governments should work to put punishable offenses to ensure that these attitudes are not repeated and on the top of this, we should design workshops for women to raise their awareness about dealing with any kind of these situations and on how to protect their data on those sites 

Eslam Ezzat

After researching I found another reason for the gap between the education and the employment skills, that the society, the media and Social network critical affect the women in a way that make them lose hope or make stereotypes about themselves, that prevents them from doing a lot of things for example working in STEM and ICTs fields or that the man is more smarter with intellectual ability than women etc…; There are a lot of materials and programs that are available on the internet or offline workshops and programs but the major problem is the lack of awareness of these opportunities and sometimes they just are full of negative thoughts that she will not be accepted in society or that she is not good enough although she has the requirements neede  for the opportunity, So all those stereotype thoughts are resulted because of the absence of these skills, and those required skills are :

"IMT Skills"


  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Technology literacy
  1. Information literacy :

Information literacy is a crucial skill in the pursuit of knowledge.  It involves recognizing when information is needed and being able to efficiently locate, accurately evaluate, effectively use, and clearly communicate information in various formats.  It refers to the ability to navigate the rapidly growing information environment, which encompasses an increasing number of information suppliers as well as the amount supplied, and includes bodies of professional literature, popular media, libraries, the Internet, and much more.  Increasingly, information is available in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability.  This abundance of information is of little help to those who have not learned how to use it effectively.

  1. Media literacy :

Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they're sending. Women take in a huge amount of information from a wide array of sources, far beyond the traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines). There are text messages, memes, viral videos, social media, video games, advertising, and more. But all media shares one thing: Someone created it. And it was created for a reason. Understanding that reason is the basis of media literacy

  1. Technology literacy :

The ability to use, manage, understand, and assess technology. Technology literacy is the ability to effectively use technology to access, evaluate, integrate, create and communicate information to enhance the learning process through problem-solving and critical thinking.

From my point of view, the absence of these skills are one of the reasons that result in the present gender gap, and we should provide the skills mentioned above in a creative, and interesting way with a gamification materiel

why a gamification one?

Because it's interactive and funny and the commitment rate to the normal materials is up to 100%.a-nd it's a critical thinking program about interacting with the info and know how to analyse the info to discover the real reasons for the info or the media etc…

Amira Shawky

In the context of the global movement towards entrepreneurship as an important source of employment and economic growth, start-ups that are based on ICT has grabbed the greatest attention of the entrepreneurship stakeholders such as start-up incubators and accelerators, investors, monitors ... etc. And it's clearly noticed that women are less likely to start their own business specially in the ICT field. Although it's a global pattern, it differs greatly around the world. 

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor - Egypt report, approximately one out of each six established businesses is owned by a woman. However, we can nominate one of the most inspiring women role models in the ICT field in Egypt.

Mai Medhat ​​​​​​​is a technological entrepreneur, she founded Eventtus with her friend Nihal in 2012 in Egypt. Eventtus is an online platform and mobile application for events planning, organizing, and ticketing. Mai studied computer engineering and worked in several start-ups before founding her business. Eventtus now has two offices in Cairo and Dubai, and they are technical partners for most of the events that are hold in the Middle East region. 

In June 2016, Mai joined a panel discussion on stage at Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley. In an iconic scene, The panel was moderated by former president of the United States "Barack Obama" and the panalists was Facebook's founder "Mark Zucherberg" with Mai Medhat and other two entrepreneurs. 

We can also talk about "Samira Negm", the founder of "Raye7" which is a car-pooling mobile app to help reducing traffic jam in Cairo and save the power used to drive private cars in Cairo on daily basis. 

Samira is a computer and systems engineering graduate. She win the 2nd best mobile start-up worldwide in  MWC2016.

esraa rageh

​​​​​​​بالإضافة إلى مداخلاتك
أعتقد أنه يجب الضغط من خلال الحملات حتى يتم إصدار قوانين تلزم جميع مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي بتأكيد هوية المستخدمين لضمان عدم وجود حسابات زائفة والتمكن من معاقبة الجاني في حالة ارتكابه لجرائم الكترونية.
أيضاً،من خلال التجارب التي تجرى حالياً على قدرة الذكاء الصناعي على اكتشاف الكلمات التي ترمز للتنمر ومن ثم اخفائها ، اعتقد انه يمكن العمل على تطوير الخوارزميات لاكتشاف الكلمات المسيئة والتحرش والابتزاز لجعل الانترنت ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي أكثرامناً للفتيات والسيدات.


Nada Nasr

الفكرة اللي كنت مركزة عليها أثناء بحثي هي "العوائق اللي بتواجه الفتيات/السيدات التي تعمل في مجال التكنولوجيا في مصر" واعتمدت على إنى اسأل فتيات/سيدات بتشتغل فالمجالات المتعلقة بالتكنولوجيا عن المشاكل اللي بتواجههم  والعوائق اللي بتعطلهم؛

  • أول سؤال كان لفتيات بتدرس حاسبات ومعلومات في جامعات مختلفة في مصر وبنات تانية اتخرجوا وبيشتغلوا في مجال البرمجة؛
  • وكانت معظم مشاكلهم بتدور حول حكر المجال على الرجال والصورة النمطية لإن السيدات/الفتيات مابيفهموش فالتكنولوجيا وإنهم كمان مش محتاجين يتمكنوا اقتصاديا وبالتالي مطالبين دايما انهم يفسحوا المجال للرجال لأنهم أحق وأمهر للعمل في مجال البرمجة
  • وإن من الأساس كان بيتم رفض رغبتهم في دراسة الحاسبات والمعلومات من منطلق إن "الصيدلة أولى", غير التمييز والتعنيف اللي بيتعرضوله من منطلق "حاسبات ومعلومات كلية الرجالة بس" فأنتم مش بنات/مش جميلات بالإضافة إلى مالكومش مكان هنا!

واحدة من أهم المشاركات كانت: مهما اشتغلت و اجتهدت كل الولاد الى قابلتهم ف المجال دا لازم يبصلونا بصه مش لطيفه الى هو انتى بنت يبقى عمرك ما هتبقى مبرمجة شاطرة, بصى اعملى اى حاجه غير انك تكتبى كود وبالتالي أنا لما اتخرجت بقيت بجرب في كل المجالات البعيدة عن البرمجة لإن ماحدش واثق إني هقدر أشتغل كويس فالكودينج

  • تاني سؤال كان لفتيات/ سيدات تعمل في مجال التسويق الإلكتروني, وهو "في وجهة نظركم إيه الحاجة اللي لو حصلت هتساعدكم أكتر للتطور في مجال عملكم"

كانت الاجابات منقسمة لجزأين:

الجزء لأول: هو إن بالفعل في جهود مبذولة لتمكين المرأة تكنولوجيا

  • برنامج "هي رائدة" وهو برنامج مخصص لتعليم المرأة الخطوات الكاملة المتبعة لإنشاء مشروعها الخاص مرورًا بكيفية التسويق الإلكتروني له
  • منحة "مؤسسة جذور" لتعليم الgraphic والتسويق الالكتروني
  • برنامج "هي رائدة" المقدم من مركز الابتكار التكنولوجي وريادة الأعمال, جميع برامجهم قائمة على التكنولوجيا بمعنى دعم المشاريع القائمة على التكونولجيا "websites, applications, IOT"

     الجزء الثاني: متطلباتهم لدعمهم للتطور في مجال عملهم

  • منح لتعليم السيدات "affiliate marketing, web development/web design"

  • تالت سؤال كان لسيدات أعمارهم +50 سنة لديهم أعمالهم اليدوية الخاصة "إيه هي الحاجة اللي لو اتعملت فالموبايل أو الكمبيوتر هتساعدك في شغلك"

السيدة الأولى: تعمل على تربية الدواجن في بيتها ومن ثم بيعها للناس

قالت إنها لما بتتابع أخبار بورصة الدواجن عن طريق تليفونها الخاص, ده بيساعدها إنها تعرف أسعار السوق وبالتالي تتحاشي جشع وغلاء التجار أثناء التعامل معها

السيدة الثانية: تعمل راسمة حنة "حنانة" بأسوان

قالت إن رسم الحنة انتشر بشكل كبير في الآونة الاخيرة, وللأسف كان بينتشر بمواد مضرة للبشرة وده كان بيخلي الناس تاخد فكرة مغلوطة عن الحنة بشكل عام وشغلها كان بيقل, لما أولادها ساعدوها في نشر شغلها وأنواع المواد المستخدمة لديها على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي, بقت بتشتغل بصورة أكبر بكتير ومش بس على أفراد هي كمان قدرت تكون مسؤولة عن حفلات كاملة بمفردها

السيدة الثالثة: تقوم بعمل المخبوزات في منزلها وتخرج لبيعها في الشارع

قالت إن الناس مش بتثق فالأكل المباع فالشارع وإنها كانت تتمنى يكون في طريقة تجمع بيها رأي الناس في منتجاتها وبالتالي تقدر تكسب ثقة الناس أسرع وتنشر منتجاتها على نطاق أوسع

Maria Emad Ayad Abdelsayed

It turns out that the less percentage of women engagement in ICT is the normal result for the discrimination they faced during childhood .. since then the target is the parents not the children themselves, as parents are the ones responsible for what education their children get at a young age .. It is the parents’ mindsets before the children’s ones and here comes the fact that mindsets do work  .. Socially, we need to become aware of our expectations because they act as self-fulfilling prophecies .. We as a community will never wait for women to do a great job in the world of ICT when all we tell them is that they do not have the ability .. they either believe or try hard to convince the whole community .. in case of believing it, that is when girls are asked about the reason why they are not into the field of ICT and they reply by saying definitely because they are women in a way as if it is only for men, that way women’s engagement in ICT is not waited for .. So the solution for this is always in shaping the mindsets .. to be mature enough about how our minds are the engines for our behaviors .. it is when women believe they can .. And on the other hand, in case of them trying to persuade the world by their abilities, it is thought that men are stronger when they are thought of as being better in high-stake projects .. it is all lost when the world gets it as a fight for which gender will win rather than have it as a world to build it, each in their full ability to get the result needed .. In a world of equality, both men and women are able to give each other the lead and that is what emphasizes each one’s role .. so when no.1 gives no.2 the leadership, no.2 leads no.1 so no.1 is the one who gives and the one who gets benefited .. it works the vice versa, the one who deprives is the one who is deprived, so the one who tries to get a role that is not theirs is the one who loses their role .. this is what we can call giving is receiving .. to make it more specific, if the sexist work environment was the reason for women to leave, then it is that environment that actually lost women .. so when we don’t get the result needed, both halves are losers, consequently, even those who thought of men being of more power now cannot do .. women have to have no one to convince them because the whole nation believe in their abilities, and so have the result needed, that they work in the field of ICT equally as men do .. In the internet zone, to keep women safe, we not only have to teach them how to keep their privacy settings on and make sure their connection is secure, but also have to stop harassers from perpetrating .. the harasser wants to see it in a specific way from his imaginations out so he personalizes his expectations in her identity, so it is all from his mind and not her .. as a result, she can post more freely and be out there in the online space as she wants .. so what she looks like or what she is wearing are not factors to take into consideration for him to be a perpetrator .. Also the solution is always about seeing it happening in real life, the women who exceeded expectations throughout history, because why think of it as an exception to the role when the role does not have any logic to be based on .. We all shall defend women’s rights not because she is of less power and she needs support, but because we have deprived her from her rights when we have been brainwashed to believe that she is a second-class citizen so it is again our role to set everything back to what it should be, from the malformation to the real value

Summary and References:

For the first question, let our target be the parents and get them aware of self-fulfilling prophecies


This reference is highly recommended .. it uses insights from psychological science .. the video is based on a true story that shows the impact of self-fulfilling prophecy on a woman who was deprived of her right because of her gender .. and also an explanation from a doctoral candidate in Harvard’s psychology department


The power of self-fulfilling prophecy and what it actually means


For the second question, let them aware of the women who did prove they can


One of the most jobs that are thought to be not for women is construction industry .. the reference shows women who had successes regarding this field


For the fifth question, share with the private sector partners the methodology of giving is receiving

For the seventh and ninth questions, to make the internet safe, we should eliminate the activity of harassers and educate women, both by the fact that we see our imaginations and they are not related to women as much as they are to the mind of the harasser


In the section 2.1 Imagination and Belief from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Alex McCarthy

Speaking to Emad Karim's guiding question:

9. The internet is becoming a nastier and scarier place for many people, especially for women and girls. How can we guarantee a safe online space for them?  

While online spaces host a myriad of opportunities to promote human rights and voices of activists, it has also been used to perpetuate discrimination and violence against women. This is further exacerbated when manipulated by authoritarian powers to silence critical voices and sanction online violence.

It looks like state-sanctioned online violence against women’s rights activists such as Mona Eltahawy, whose Twitter campaign #SaveRahaf helped an 18-year-old receive asylum and escape the Saudi male guardianship system, and whose vocal calling-out of Saudi’s repressive regime has resulted in legions of trolls attacking and threatening her online with rape, murder, etc. It appears in the state-sanctioned smear campaigns against imprisoned (and thus unable to respond) Saudi women human rights defenders who were painted as traitors and threats to national security by state media and online Twitter campaigns. It is made scarily clear with Absher, the ‘wife-tracking’ app put out by the Saudi Arabian government to help men restrict the movements of their wives and female relatives under their guardianship, roping in tech companies like Apple and Google to facilitate the subjugation of women by making male guardianship easier to manage.

That said, digital storytelling also can be a really powerful way of telling the stories of women, marginalised people and those who have previously been silenced. Platforms like sister-hood and Beyond the Hijab, prioritise women’s stories not only by amplifying women’s voices, but they also highlight lived realities that are usually absent from more formal processes and mainstream narratives. When those voices become better heard and the realities they face acknowledged, we can start to advocate for reforms to mitigate and ameliorate their situations.

We need women, as well as their male allies, with the coding and ICT skills, institutional support, and online networks to push back against the rising trend of extremist and misogynistic online behaviour from private and state actors. New tools that help activists such as Take Back the Tech to map online violence are also useful for illuminating the problem for policymakers.

Marwa Azelmat

A collective answer to your questions will crucially look at the forefront of the forces that are currently shaping the politics of the digital space. To fully grasp the issues surrounding internet, technology, and gender equality, we imperatively need to shed light on three major social forces: The first concerns the profound change in communication technologies themselves, the second concerns the growing role of the state in internet and technologies, and the third points to the social change of the so called cyberspace. It is the confluence of these three broad developments that have a controversial impact on the gender equality agenda.

The digital environment is an essential dimension of peace-building, henceforth, gender equality because of its multiple activities across political, social, economic, and military domains. Cyberspace was supposed to be a technology facilitating the free flow and exchange of information. It was even seen as the purest form of democracy where everyone's voice would be heard and where information would be freely accessed and shared. And yet, what we see instead is the opposite. In the eyes of states, cyberspace has become too important to be left to itself. Virtually everywhere, there is a dramatic rise of forces that try to curtail our access to information, that invade our privacy, and that seek to stifle the freedoms with which we have come to associate cyberspace. In other words, cyberspace has changed into a politically contested space. And many of the fundamental freedoms of this space and its capacities to liberate, emancipate, even democratize, have come under threat. Unfortunately, women/girls are most vulnerable to these threats. First, it is because women are taught to be less smart than men, therefore this increases more the gender digital divide that we are currently struggling with.

Furthermore, digital environments, from internet-enabled technologies to innovation, tend to become more and more intimidating for women who are seeing men leading the biggest tech companies in the world. So, if we are to fight against ICT gendered stereotypes we need to empower women not only by acquiring them with the right technical skills but also by empowering them on a social level. Women need to stick up for themselves in this field to become able to fight against sexist messages, harassment, and biased day-to-day e-content! This can only be done through digital education from early ages, vocational training opportunities, visible “ORDINARY” role models and awareness campaign.

From a personal viewpoint, I have never had a role model in ICT, it is only the motivation to protect myself on the digital space by myself that pushed me to embrace an IT career. Nevertheless, I believe it is highly needed to build a community for Tech women and ICT for gender equality advocates to raise awareness and more importantly to benefit from their real experiences to build on our advocacy and policy-making expertise in the field.

Marwa Azelmat

Also, I would like to add that debates around this hot issue should be held in different parts of the world and should be transformed into digital contents in local spoken languages. Even if there is access to the technology, information is still restricted to the privileged of the society. If we would like to leave no one behind, we should implement our inclusive policies at all levels. How many summits were held on technology and innovation in English ? thousands! Whereas the issue surrounding digital inclusion, digital gap and digital education is located in regions where only few speak English. This leads to two major questions: 

Is ICT policy-making governed mostly by citizens within the juridiction of developed states? 

How can we decrease all the gaps we are encountering when our policies and actions are privileging the privileged ?

If we are to transform our MEA region, we need to look locally. Otherwise, our work will always mock-up the water and the gender equality agenda will always be enjoyed by the elite!

Anita Gurumurthy Moderator

Very interesting posts Marwa

I wanted to check with you if you can expand your analysis of the forces to include market forces. I am particularly intrigued by your exhortation on why we must go local. I wonder how the funding for STEM or corporate culture or pilots that are partnerships between private and public sectors have really worked to include the non-elite.

This actually is the clincher. When we talk innovation, we do need to know who is participating and at what layer.

Marwa Azelmat

[~55250] Market forces are indeed important to build upon our STEM strategy. However, they could be tricky sometimes. 

Dealing with the ICT market needs just like I stated before, an overall look that doesn't leave the local needs and local demands behind. Consequently, the business development of our market will never rhyme with inclusive policies and advancement of gender equality agenda, if we impose on the market things that go beyond its capacities. For instance, does Microsoft's Market in the Middle East look like Microsoft Market in the US ? Definitely not! 

Therefore, our strategies should be considering both the STEM culture and the social forces of the state we are working at. That's why, I believe that funding ventures that are partnering between private and public sectors would include the non-elite, as they would act on different layers and with different actors to create this sort of harmony and to fill in gaps as well. 

Bharati Sadasivam

Great discussion and very interesting and useful points. There is data from many countries on gender segregation in STEM fields, and also much anecdotal evidence about women not wanting to be in technology workplaces where the leadership and work culture is predominantly male, if not outright hostile to women and gender equality. I think a big challenge for the innovation and technology sectors is to apply a gender lens to the workplace - and not just to bring more women into it. 

It is also to me a troubling trend to see innovation always go hand in hand with technology. People do innovate without technology, and have done so for years, I think that is innovation worth emulating and spreading as well. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/opinion/sunday/end-the-innovation-ob… 


My greetings to all, and here is participation from Kuwait and it is a pleasure to write my opinion on this subject, which I think is very rare in the recent discussion.

in my opinion We are talking about the two sides of the coin, where the internet can be used  to focus on women and to highlight the cases that all women around the world suffering from such as Violence against women or the mandate on the women, on the other hand, women are facing problems through the internet such as bullying and we should first find a way to protect women from this then try as much as we can to share our goals and make all people know more about gender equality targeting poor countries, it is the best way to make all people around the world change their thoughts about gender equality, a .

It is a very important discussion that should be highlighted and other questions in global events.


Saripalli Suryanarayana

UNESCO-GAP MIL,is for better information,media reach,and litercy for all.We have a 2018,meeting in Europe where it was discussed about smart and MIL cities[MEDIA-INFORMATION-LITERCY].That includes free flow of right information,fast and free with out constraints.

These have become a more policy issues,to be solved by the governments,but others can join hands.Education can be from any front,by using digital technologies.I am sure we are to harness,encourage ,and improve the over all human development,with out any bias.That includes all [UCLA-william institute of law]williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu.

While we are into all these developments,let us also remeber the psychological issues of boy and girls,at tender issues.If they are resolved properly,there will be net developers of 16 years age,in each of the country.

Khaled Eyada

Hello I am Khaled Eyada from Egypt and I am an electronics and communication systems Engineer so ICT is actually my field and I am going to make short comment so people would read it =D 

I want to share my short story with women in ICT field because a friend of mine called Sarah Ismail was the reason I got into the field of ICT and entrepreneurship she introduced me to entrepreneurship trainings and taught me by herself a great deal of electronics stuff.

and right now I'me working with a team teens and kids to train them to participate in an ICT competition and nearly half of the participants are girls so I think the stereotype of boys and girls in that field is beginning to change and I believe social media is one of the main reasons for this because now most of women can be heard and share their opinion and campaigns now can be more effective to raise people awareness.

Mahitab Omar Eltabie

We should first understand how to use the ICTs for full women empowerment as technology is the key for raising and improving education, it will be the first phase to solve the gender gap in work labor. So learning ICTs enables girls and women to have quality education like men and give them the chance not only to work with technology but improves it as well. In order to achieve that, we should start by solving the common issues from the lack of adequate infrastructure in undeveloped areas that government and NGOs should work on it, lack of trained professionals in teaching ICTs, lack of self confidence for girls and women because of the common stereotype, also design new teaching content that is attractive to girls and include new techniques ( games,activities,practical workshops…etc ), create new and more opportunities for women in the work environment and at last create new programs and campaigns aims to empower  girls and women by giving them the right information and quality education as men enhance women’s potentials, and skills that will solve the huge gender gap in the work labor. There are programs that already seek to expose girls and women to the impact that technology can have in their lives by building their ICTs skills, (WomenOnline4Dev)and (Social Media for Change)

Khaled Eyada
  1. But still there is a big problem in the field of privacy especially for women on social media so we need policies to control this thing
  2. I guess the key issue to be discussed is how to make women believe in theirselves because as statistics shows still most women doesn't think they can participate effectively in ICT field although the field proved that they can
  3. and we need to work on big media campaign to raise awareness to this matter we can use example like Heba Shiquery she is the assistant of the minister of communication in Egypt 
Mary Tembo

i greet you all, We need the systematic way of Monitoring and Evaluating the formidable policys, by forming a board in each country that will work with the main board. in making sure the issues are being implemented than a loose arrangement. Since we preparing for a global change by 2030. 

May Hachem

Hello everyone,

I'm May Hachem from Egypt. I'm the founder of HerStroy project which uses ICT to facilitate crowdsourced knowledge production and collaboration between volunteers across the Arabic region in order to close the gender knowledge gap.

I definitely see that technology can be harnessed for gender equality at different levels:

-it can be used to fight and to remove the gender stereotypes about intellectual ability by recognizing the contribution of women through history and provide positive models for children.

-it can be used to increase the awareness about the gender gaps and how to increase the technical capacity of women to be able to write their own version of history

-it can be used to extend the reach of education and bridge the woman education gap using for example the Kiwix project which allows an offline access to Wikipedia.

-it can be used to increase the awareness about harassment and to fight it by creating a friendly spaces and implementing policies.

Most of the above aspects are handled by the HerStory project which started in Egypt but now is covering other Arabic countries. HerStory contributed in the two years since its launch, to:

-create more than 2000 articles on Arabic Wikipedia about women in order to recognize the contribution of women through history to our society

-creating articles about gender issues on Wikipedia and organizing campaign to increase the awareness of women and men

-train more than 500 new editors most of them are girls and women and therefore increase their technical capacities

-stick and promoting the Wikimedia friendly space policy in order to create online safe spaces with no cyber bullying against women’s edits and contributions and make the internet less nastier and scarier place for them.


Media has a great impact on how a society thinks and sees women, we can see that this industry is a male dominating one from the movies that you won't see a female leading actor to the commercials that  insist on showing models with specific standards of beauty and shape, we can see it through the commercials of the chocolate brands mostly they have that very skinny female that eat the chocolate in a dramatic slow-motion way , lately there was a commercial from Cadbury that showed a kid that wants to buy a chocolate for her working mom highlighting the role of the working mother in the society which was so empowering , we can see the sexism too in all the commercials related to house works such as dishes washing liquids , food products and so on the whole commercial contains only women giving direct message that it is the female duty to clean , I guess it will be great if the film producer starts to have a female actor as leading actors making them doing much more than crying from a broken heart after a love story. also, sexist commercials that depend on materialization of women has to be controlled. the audience may have a way to complain if they see it as sexist material and it has to stop  media prefers to draw the women as the soft weak part if they can highlight on how much women's life is complicated, how much pain they have to endure to have a child which is miraculous and that show how much she is strong and that she bears a lot 

also, we can see many figures in their movies using sexist comments as a joke and doing multiple gender-based violence images without highlighting that it is wrong along with giving approval to the toxic masculinity of being a man gives u the right to control female's life and restrict her, directors put it in funny context so step by  step it starts to be acceptable, those scenes has to be decreased    

Ghaida Bajbaa

Hello Everyone, 

My name is Ghaida, I am a lawyer who is specialized in international law-environmental law with minor focus on immigration and refugees. 

Thank you very much for bringing this important discussion.

In the past few years, ICT played a transformative role in the gender seen. Further, it played in 1- recognizing gender issues 2- creating platforms for both men and women to communicate/argue/ voice their opinions 3- fighting a heritage that is loaded with many false ideas and stereotypes 4- understanding more about essential unaddressed topic that is sexuality. 5- creating visible communities/ groups who are concerned about gender issues.    

However, there are still some concerning issues that are: 

1- Taking in consideration that more than half the world still don't have access to the internet. Thus, not everyone has equal opportunity to benefit from the internet’s potential for economic, social, cultural, civic, and political advancement. The question would be: How technology can be harnessed for gender equality among migrants, and refugees, and "unprivileged people"?

2- The gender gap in the cybersecurity field e.g. education.  

3- The protection for people who work on subtle and difficult issues like bodily rights, sex-work, sexual and gender equality. These are all highly polarising issues that challenge the status quo – religion/culture in institutions, media, arts, and personal relationships. This sort of work makes them targets for violence and censure.

4- How the online gendered hate speech could be sustainably eliminated and prevented? The 'report abuse' button as in Twitter showed some progress but the question remains is it a step in solving the issue? 

5- How to regulate technology in balance with privacy, security and right to freedom of expression?

Thank you again for the opportunity. 

David Owolabi

There is a general consensus that STEM and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science and technology, yet women and girls still have a long way to overcome systemic exclusion.

In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science and technology for women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Over the medium to the long term, ensuring that STEM and women and girls economic empowerment continues to be given attention at the global, regional, national and subnational levels will facilitate adequate resonance that will reinforce shifts in policies, laws and practices at all levels. Among others, an innovative approach will be to strengthen engagement with the private sector for initiatives that help to promote gender-sensitive workplaces and benefits; promoting women in senior leadership and facilitate education and training for women and girls.

Martine Zaarour

Hey everyone,

Since I last wrote a post on this forum, my project on women empowerment got selected to showcase at the UN ECOSOC and since then I realized that drastic changes in how we perceive women in technology should be implemented in my case.

My target is mainly women aged above 40 who are living in rural areas and not financially capable of expanding their market.

In order to do so, I am willing to help women who will be part of the project in becoming more independent in terms of access to social media platforms and the web in general, so they can access their own profiles, update their info and communicate with the customers in order to start growing their own businesses apart from my startup.

In this matter I will be developing a curriculum of actions and courses that I will offer these women for them to be able to advance in the project on their own.

I think for such an initiative, whether the women are part of a project or not,we should create a hub of people who would like to volunteer/draft strategies in order to teach these women how to use technology.

I am an architect and I am trying to develop a small team of experts to guide and mentor these women before the launch of the project, however I think that it should be implemented on a larger scale and supported by international organizations that will adopt these strategies of teaching people the right way to use technology in all its forms.

Emad Karim Moderator

Summary of Week 2

Thank you so much everyone for the insightful analysis, ideas, and question.  Here are some of the most important inputs that dominated the discussion. Empowering women through tech and innovation requires work on a different but parallel level:

1) Individual:

  • offer educational opportunities (digital literacy, digital journalism), trainings/workshops, grassroots movements.
  • Defying the common stereotypes result from the ingrained attitudes and values that society imposes. They are the preconceived beliefs and assumptions for men acquiring high-level intellectual ability more than women, these stereotypes always have a huge role in limiting the development of the natural talents and abilities of girls, preventing women and girls from engaging in some certain activities from early age, losing interest in many fields and discouraging women from pursuing specific majors and careers.
  • Show no tolerance to harassment, sexism, and inequality in opportunities and resources in the work or education environment.

2) State and institutions level:

  • Inclusive and participatory digital policies, i.e Government + Civil Society + Youth Technology Leaders + Tech Companies + Media+ Technical Community should all be part of the decision making process related to Technology and Innovation;
  • Creating an enabling environment, regulation & policy and projects with supporting strategies to promote women’s equal access to ICT;
  • Developing content in response to women’s concerns and reflects their local Knowledge, valuable in their daily lives, business, and family responsibilities;
  • Big social media networks should improve their policies against harassment and targeting of women;
  • Building women’s leadership to engage with national policymakers and other key actors in identifying remedies that may be available in current laws and regulations and, where needed, developing new policies that seek to protect women’s rights including their safety and security and Activate more laws against cyber crimes with clear, detailed description of the nature of those crimes;
  • Close the gap between the education and the employment skills;
  • Implementing e-governance strategies, which are accessible to women;
  • Apply a gender lens to the workplace;
  • Close the gender gap in the cybersecurity field;
  • Protection for people who work on subtle and difficult issues like bodily rights, sex-work, sexual and gender equality;

3) Media:

  • Visibility to "normal" role models (women/girls in ICT), raising awareness campaign. Media should highlight the role model factor;
  • Make the internet free of the gendered hate speech;
  • Promote women’s lobbying, advocacy and free participation in decision-making activities;
  • Regulate technology in balance with privacy, security and right to freedom of expression;
  • The digital environment is an essential dimension of peace-building, henceforth, gender equality because of its multiple activities across political, social, economic, and military domains.

Some of the good examples of initiatives and programs to promote women in Tech and Innovation:

  • ICT For Women 
  • EiTesal” non-profit entity that started an initiative to empower women in ICT
  • #MakeWhatsNext”
  • Taa Marbouta
  • Women's Campaign for Women by the Egyptian feminist union
  • HerStory by UN Women
  • Harassmap
  • Guard My Angel
  • End Sexual Harassment
  • Girls Who Code
  • She Means Business
  • Entreprenelle
  • WomenOnline4Dev
  • Social Media for Change
  • Mentor Her

Thank you so much and hope you all continue this amazing discussion with Kawtar.  

Kawtar Zerouali Moderator

Thank you all for your meaningful contributions to the conversation we have going in this chat room, we are learning a lot from your valuable insights. I am happy to tell you that the moderators of all four chatrooms are now extracting potential topics from these discussions to be part of the agenda of the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality. THank you Emad and Anita from making this task so easy.

To stay true to our co-creation process, we will be sharing the list of proposed topics on Tuesday/Wednesday for all of you to comment during our last week on this online consultation.

This week, I will be posting a different question everyday to keep the conversation going. We still need your help to further narrow down the themes and get to the un-tackled topics.

Here’s today’s question:

Many of us have raised the issues of the accessibility and exclusivity of technology and the threat that it can have to our security and privacy. From your own experience how can we harness technology for inclusion of women to catalyze meaningful change? What are some successful and unique approaches that could enable us to make technology a safe and accessible tool for women?

Thank you all again for your valuable contributions!

Marwa Azelmat

Hi Kawtar, 

From my viewpoint, the best strategy is to focus on the social forces that curtail safe access to technology by women! It is not enough to make technology safe when women are not able to change settings and read beneath the surface of digital screens. In parallel, it is not sufficient to make technology accessible when it would impact women's lives negatively. 

What I am trying to say is that we always need to adopt a multi-layer approach that tackles safety, accessibility and awareness all at once. Those layers would directly involve a multiple range of stakeholders and therefore work on a variety of dimensions that technology is made of by nature. 

Julie Gromellon Rizk

Hi Kawtar,

Sorry for our late contribution, I work with Kvinna till Kvinna, and with our partner organizations we would be interested in having a discussion about WEE and knowledge networking for women's rights organizations and activists. Activists and Women’s organizations working on WEE in the MENA region have benefited fully from ICT’s in the domain of knowledge networking.
Focusing on the economic empowerment means to focus on the role of women’s autonomy, agency, choice and decision-making in relation to markets; it tackles deeper structural issues of gender inequality. In order to do that, extensive resources (knowledge and skills) should be available which will support in enhancing sense of agency and empowerment. In this context, digital technology and social media are an important tool for Women empowerment and movement building, allowing networks and feminist organizations to organize and share knowledge. ICTs have been used by gender equality advocates in the MENA region for putting out rights-based information. Feminist activists at local levels, in particular, are involved in creating, collating and disseminating material on rights – legal rights, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s human rights. This is done through websites, e-magazines, apps, community radio broadcast, newsletters,, tele-centres, Facebook groups and email. We want to look at the following questions in particular: 

- good practices with regard to how to adopt a feminist approach to WEE mobilization in the region, that supports women’s agency and incorporate intersectionality.

- Reclaiming digital technologies and framing a feminist development agenda for WEE and knowledge networking in the region

- Making use of ICT’s to better coordinate on the development of regional level campaigning and activism adopting a holistic rights-based / feminist definition of WEE

Thank you very much 

Moneera Yassien

Hey Kawtar and Thanks Emad and Anita! 

To answer the question, I think we first need to raise awareness about the existence of the issue, online harassment is not taken seriously because so many people don't consider it harmful, while in fact it deepens and normalizes the culture of violence and harassment, blocking harassers is not going stop them from harassing another woman. 

This website collects data about the online harassment http://www.onlineharassmentdata.org/ it's a way to raise awareness about the issue using real data and looking at different aspects of it, I think such data needs to be collected and shared as a way to educate internet users about the issue. 

Sangeet Gopal Kayastha

To take this discussion forward, we propose the following two questions:

  1. 25 years ago the speed of technological advance was arguably not foreseen. Today as digital technologies and data usher in the 4th industrial revolution, what key issues and concerns should form a part of discussion at the forum?  

- From the women's perspective, many things had changed such as access to updated information. The use of a mobile phone to get the information is increasing and in past, the focus was mostly on books or other forms of traditional means.

- From the user side as well, the issues of safety is always a concerns. Such as shown in news, Whatsapp in India was used by unknown individuals to spread false messages. In many countries such as my own country Nepal, the online law or law related to online fake news or online violence is limited. 


- On other side, as these techlonogy is easy to track by government or un authorised person, the issues of privacy is always a concern. This issue is universal among all genders but women may be more in risk, especially in the rural community who dont have proper awareness but cheap and easy access to techlonogy (social media, smart phones, etc)


2. Does this affect different areas of the globe differently? Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

- Definitely, the technology has it's positive and impact and it does affect in the different area with a different social or economic background. Looking at the positive side there are many but for the other side, for the women in the developing country such as Nepal, the additional financial burden is caused as the data is not cheap.

- Also in another side, the technology had   This, however, is not limited to the use of mobile/internet.
gave the women more idea especially in the remote place where there are limited technicians or experts, the women themself can access the internet and other modern technology to get information of agriculture, etc.

Kalpana Viswanath

One way we can make technology more accessible and safe for women to use is to enable collective and community processes for engaging with technology, rather than just individual usage. The smart phone is often only seen as a tool to be used by individuals. For example, with the app the I have developed Safetipin - we have devised a method of engagement called Safety Chaupal ( means community space in Hindi). Here we encourage women and girls to jointly conduct safety audits using the app - it therefore becomes a collective exercise. By this we make sure that not having a smart phone does not prevent anyone from participating and it also empowers them to use technology. We found that even women with low literacy were both enthusiastic as well as proficient in using the technology

Kalpana Viswanath

Recently we worked with young women in a low income neighborhood in Delhi and encouraged them to maintain whatsapp diaries of their experience of the city. The data thus gathered was made into an exhibition and was up at a metro station in Delhi for a month for public to interact with it. It gave voice to these young women and gave them the confidence that their voice mattered. We need to reclaim these spaces using technology.  Their experiences were also made into a rap song in which these young women shared their experience of the city. You can see it at 


Hello everybody , I'am Sandra from Tunisia, working in the field of Human ressources 

I want to share with you good news about tunisian woman and technology.

According to the latest statistics published by UNSECO, show that Tunisia is indeed a country, where the parity between men and women in scientific research is perfectly respected.
Indeed, data from a study based on a gender approach, indicate that in Tunisia 55% of researchers are women, a better rate than that recorded in technologically advanced countries such as France, 27% and Germany 28% or Sweden 34%.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics indicates that, in Tunisia, 65% of the students holding a degree are female and 69% of the doctors are women.

However, in terms of employability the situation changes, since women occupy only 44% of jobs in the public sector, and 30% in the private sector.

It is really something that make us proud as a women, but indeed we need to work about that more and more in order to more improove our  place as a woman in technology ans science.


Heba Katoon

Hi all! Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this. Here are some points/ideas to add to the great comments:

  • Digital Behavior Measurement and Change: How modern digital tools and methods can be harnessed to measure human behavior rather than traditional ones. I am studying an interesting concept called ‘Communication Neuroscience’. It looks at how activity in the brain is linked to behaviors at the individual, group, and population level. Using fMRI and other imaging techniques, researchers investigate how our neural responses to stimuli relate to attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, receptivity to messaging, and the structure of our social networks. Much of the work focuses on health communication and the design of better interventions, programs, and policies. Specific lines of work include predicting behavior change following exposure to persuasive messages and understanding what makes successful ideas spread (e.g. through social networks, through cultures).

  • Public Health Informatics: and its new multidisciplinary prospect in dealing with gender issues in an innovative approach. How to build public health information systems for gender-related health issues such as breast cancer, FGM, reproductive health, domestic violence, etc.

  • Foster collaborations with technology-driven companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Oculus, Google, Samsung, etc.

Responding to Kawtar’s question on how can we harness technology for inclusion of women to catalyze meaningful change? 

In my opinion, core levers essential for innovation to catalyze meaningful change for women in developing countries:

  1. Break boundaries for strategic partnerships
  2.  Engage women in design and diffusion
  3. Cultivate champions
  4. Create “buzz” to make it “stick”
  5. Capitalize on opportune timing and context
  6. Address unconscious bias in hiring processes
  7. Target efforts to reach poor women
  8. Synergize top-down and bottom-up approaches
Heba Katoon

Also, Responding to Emad's last question about innovative advocacy campaigns that promoted gender equality. Some good examples as following:


1. The oral contraceptive pill in the United States

2. Grameen Village Phones in Bangladesh

3. Look at Me facial recognition campaign to end domestic violence in the UK


3. Anti-foot binding campaign in China

4. Legislative gender quotas in Argentina

5. Campaign to end female genital cutting in Senegal


6. Labor-intensive, export-led economic policy in Taiwan

7. Microfinance-plus in India

8. Land titling in Peru

Kawtar Zerouali Moderator

Dear contributors to chat room 4,

Thank you for your insightful engagement during the last three weeks. The four moderators of this chat room are pleased to share with you below a synthesis with the identified topics that have emerged from all your engagement. Your feedback is much appreciated to help us finalize the agenda of the forum through the below proposed summary and please do continue to engage especially on how these topics can be presented in an innovative way at the Tunis Forum.

Looking forward to reading your reactions and ideas.

1. Idea for session I: Technological innovation- empowerment or marginalization for women?

  • Has technological innovation been overemphasized, leading to continued marginalization of rural women and urban poor? If so, how? What steps can we take to ensure these populations benefit?
  • What technological innovations have provided benefits for women, especially to alleviate their care work burdens and to enhance their economic autonomy.
  • How can we support technological innovation in developing countries that supports and empowers women entrepreneurs and consumers?

2. Idea for session II: Gender Mainstreaming in the Digital Context

    • How can we root innovations in the local realities and developing countries in building approaches rather than merely following the global discourse?
    • How do we compel our major stakeholders and governments to relook at gender mainstreaming in the digital context? How can the individual contribute?

3. Idea for session III: Economic Empowerment: No One Size Fits All Solutions

    • What unique strategies do we need to set up in different digital spaces: corporate, small businesses, non-profit, education, etc. to ensure gender equality?
    • What models/initiatives should we established to make influence and develop impact organically as well as be replicated for sustainability?

4. Idea for session IV: How Ethical Discourse can keep pace with Technological Development

    • How should we define legal protocols and informed consent with respect to digital data, to ensure safe data sharing for creating digital pubic goods for women’s empowerment and gender equality?
    • What formal processes and hard benchmarks need to be established for measuring technological development towards the well-being of women?

5. Idea for session V: Thinking Outside the Box: Women’s technological participation in non-conventional trades/occupations

    • Where and how do we need to expand our ideas and perspectives in options for women’s technological engagement?
    • What occupations and opportunities are we not acknowledging or supporting enough that promote equality and the digital economy?


  • What are ways that technology is being used as a safe space for survivors of violence to share their stories and gain support?
  • How can we provide a space for men as well as women to show solidarity and share ideas on how to end violence against women?

7.  Idea for session VII: Digital Storytelling: Amplifying voice, influencing discourse

  • How can we amplify women’s voices so that their lived realities are legitimized in mainstream narratives?
  • How do we push back against the rising trend of misogynistic online behavior? What is the role of private and state actors in this regard?
Dr Yinka Falola-Anoemuah

These 7 ideas are great and speak to wide areas important for discussion towards developing clear actions to take forwards after the Forum. Additionally, I was thinking the issue of opportunity for capacity strengthening, mentorship and sharing experiences and good practices at south-south and North-south levels could be added to discussion on Idea 5. Kudos to the team. Best wishes.

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Thank you, dear Kawtar, for the comprehensive summary of the contributions of the last two weeks.

These topics cover different aspects of women's economic empowerment through innovation and modern technology. When it comes to economic empowerment of women, the role of financial resources and legal frameworks cannot be emphasized enough. Many women in developing countries don't have access to loans, which inhibits their ability to establish or expand their businesses. I would be interested to hear from those of you working on creating innovative financial solutions for women-run businesses on what are the main challenges and how we can address those?  

Likewise, how can lawmakers create innovative legal frameworks to help women's economic empowerment? What are some of the approaches that you or your organization have found effective?

Another area that requires tailored innovative solutions is the economic empowerment of women in fragile settings. Women are agents of change in their communities and their role in the economic recovery is evident through research. Donors, such as the OECD, are emphasizing the need to integrate women empowerment in donor programming. However, creating jobs for women in post-conflict settings remain a challenge for governments and international organizations alike. I would be interested to hear some examples of how you have addressed this challenge and what you see as a need to become more successful?


Moneera Yassien

Hey Kawtar, thanks for the summary, I believe the sessions should go out of the discussion scope to be more practical and action-oriented discussions. I suggest that each session should look at the topic on three pillars:

  • What is the problem from the participant's personal observations?
  • What is reality tell us? show statistics and numbers about the issue 
  • Suggest ways to address/ actual solutions to the identified problems?  
Patrice Ehoumi

IDEA FOR SESSION 1: A possible strategy should consist in setting up Innovation Centers (for gender equality)

As comparison: In Benin, the former Benin Government set up some business promotion centers including a Women Business Promotion Center. It is a very good idea. The current government has set up another type of Business promotion center "SEME CITY", which is also a very good idea. 

What is important is working with each country to develop those kinds of initiative and making sure they are carefully oriented to support and empower women on the one hand and women entrepreneurs and consumers on the other hand.

However, the initiatives should be taken to the local community level, commune and arrondissement (the case of Benin) to make sure that women of various education backgrounds are involved. 

Emphasis should be put on training those women entrepreneurs to really promote economic autonomy that is inclusive of both sexes and all members of the community.

So the idea of Innovation Center is creating centers for the local population to meet, think and innovate via activities that give them access to instructions/literacy (***) and to practical information to help both sexes, especially young women innovate.

The way of setting up the centers should meet sustainability criteria. Centers should not stop operating or should no longer operate well once the initial funding has stopped (the case of the Women Business Promotion Centers for example)

An assessment of similar initiatives per country may be necessary.

(***) About literacy: Literacy must be tackled if any technological innovation should be successful. It is the paramount condition.

Literacy is the first key to get women out of marginalization.

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

dear [~55286] I agree with your suggestions and that we need to focus on action-oriented solutions. I would be interested to hear from you what format you would suggest to engage with practicioners? Could specific working groups or workshops help to come up with better solutions?

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Dear [~55641] thank you for presenting the case of business promotion centers in Benin. Indeed, it is essential to develop tailored programmes and initiatives based on the needs and circumstances in each country. I am interested to hear from you how to present some of these successful examples at the forum. 

Patrice Ehoumi


Thanks for the feedback. 

First, a quick assessment of those initiatives in Benin should be carried out. The initiatives as well as the result of the assessment should be presented at the forum. (UNDP Benin and the concerned ministries can take care of that).

Second, the current Benin government is really bringing in a lot of technological innovations. For example, there must be currently a new Mobile Transfer System called OWO parallel to the existing private mobile transfer System. A few questions are "How do the technological innovations tackle  the issue of women empowerment?" , " Is there any methodology to develop innovations that tackle several issues at the same time?" , 

Third, if we take the case of Owo, for illustration purpose, how can a woman that is not literate use the technology ? How can he read instructions alone?

Thus the issue of literacy matters in any technological innovation especially if it should empower women from low school education background or get them out of marginalization.  ("Idea 5: What occupations are we not supporting enough that promote equality and the digital economy?)

Setting up Innovation Centers, an idea introduced earlier in my first contribution, that integrate literacy classes, brainstorming/discussion groups, information sharing and project development activities should be considered.

Thinking out of the box... (still the case of Benin) : Agri-business respecting the ecosystem with educated and well-trained women for business, family and society management. In other words, it is possible to achieve a high level of technological innovation in the agri business sector. The condition is training women (practical trainings, not academic though academic trainings may be necessary to some women)(***) in business management, project management, family management and participation in decision- making at the community level.

(***) An action may be granting some scholarships to some young women to get some university degrees in fields that can help them improve leadership and participation of women of the local communities of their country via a varieties of initiatives that they should take on completion of the courses. The young women may be identified among those that are to some extent already interested in community development.


Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Dear Patrice Ehoumi, thanks for the comprehensive response that addresses different aspects of women empowerment through job creation in the developing countries. Your response also points out the importance of the use of technology for analphabets. This is a challenge and at the same time an opportunity to develop innovative solutions to improve women education to use technology for income generation. 

Moneera Yassien

Hey Leila Salehiravesh 

I suggest to use some innovation tools, for example, design thinking, for example, I think it's a very flexible tool and can be adjusted in a way that would engage the participants on the setting of a workshop with specific themes, it can help them in empathize with problems related to the theme, define them in depth and even ideate actions for these problems/insights

Also, DIY https://diytoolkit.org/tools/ have many tools which could be adjusted and used for the sessions. 

Margherita Boccalatte

Hello Kawtar, thanks for the summary!  

I would like to suggest the following under topic for session III: gender lens investing and the rise of "gender capitalism", or how to invest for financial return and positive impact on women and girls.

Gender lens investing is a form of impact investing that can include, by instance, funding women-owned businesses, businesses with a strong track record of employing women, or companies that improve the lives of women and girls with their services and products.

I believe that it would be useful to showcase this impact investing strategy since in recent years quite a few studies have found that companies with greater gender-balance in management roles tend to outperform more traditional and less diverse companies. 

Here is the link to a TEDx talk about this practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soCCwKSLn1M

Patrice Ehoumi

[~55698]  Great practical ideas

Laurine Peyronnet

Thank you very much for this comprehensive summary. 

I would have a comment on the 7 subjects proposed. All the subjects concern, in a way, the technology. However, Innovation and Women's economic empowerment don't always run through technology and we may forget some issues if we only focus on technology. Moreover, technology is not accessible to everyone in terms of cost, knowledge, and technical tools, especially in remote areas and for rural women. 

I would also like to propose 2 themes/subjects : 

- How to use Big Data to promote Women's Economic Empowerment (are there any good practices) ?

- How to promote women's economic empowerment without adding a responsability to women, especially when cultural mores expect from women to be in charge of education and household ? (question that can be related to the do no harm principle).


Hola! Lamento mucho haber llegado tan tarde a la discusión, me enteré de ella muy tarde. 

Gracias por la síntesis, con ella me pude enterar rápidamente de lo discutido en el foro. Creo que los 7 elementos que tiene la síntesis resumen en gran manera las problemáticas desde las que se deben abordar las barreras de acceso de las mujeres a las TIC. Por ejemplo uno de los puntos de preocupación que tenemos en la Red Nacional de Mujeres de Colombia, organización a la que pertenezco, es como incentivamos e incrementamos el uso de las TICS en las mujeres para que fortalezcan su activismo y liderazgo local. Es importante pensar en cómo las TICS pueden apoyar y hacer parte del trabajo que las mujeres en las diversas regiones del país y como enseñamos a estas mujeres a aprovechar las TICS de mejor manera para que puedan tener mayor acceso a la información y en la misma vía, puedan hacer visible su trabajo.

Dr Yinka Falola-Anoemuah

I am Yinka Falola-Anoemuah. I work with government in Nigeria to coordinate the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes to ensure gender and human rights responsive prevention and care support services for Nigerians especially  HIV infected, affected and vulnerable women and girls including key populations and persons with disabilities.

There are a number of innovative and technology-based approaches and interventions in Nigeria, particularly to empower poor and vulnerable women, for example GWIN, YoUWIN, Tradermoni etc. However, like in most developing countries, they are ad-hoc, development partners driven and hardly sustainable because they are politically driven when they are organized by government and lack policy and legal backing.  Some of the interventions covered wide areas as already highlighted to include use of technology to impact knowledge and skills especially education and health related issues at individual level, improve access to services through various call centres or use technology to improve farm work and food processing to the benefit of farmers and rural women. For coordination, continuity and sustainability, government institutions are expected to play leading role especially in ensuring conducive policy and legal environment. This is lacked in most of the innovations, such that most of the innovations lack continuity.

In 2004, with support from other institutions, the Ministry of Budget and Planning commenced taking responsible for coordinating social protection programmes in the country, most of the issues addressed in the policy documents are geared towards resourcing, designing, developing and implementing programmes to address social, economic empowerment for sustainable livelihood and gender disparity issues in health, education, and access to improved technology. It also included national health insurance, housing and the minimum wage, which are important drivers of poverty and inequality in the country.  This government engagement resulted in the first Social Protection Strategy. At the State (subnational) level, government have Social Services Ministries/institutions while others handle social protection through their Social Welfare Ministries. A revised Strategy is currently being validated at the National and State level to address the gaps and challenges in the current social protection policy and programming especially in terms of policy implementation.

With my experience working with the coordinating entity for the national HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria, NACA, I have come to the realization and the importance of the need to mobilize all sectors including government and non-governmental partners and actors including women in their cohorts to integrate and own equity focus in the design and implementation of programmes through a gender-responsive strategies in addressing social issues fueling unequal power relations which perpetuates disproportionate access of men and women to available technologies and opportunities. This is critical at the BD +25 engagement and efforts to fast-track the achievement of SDG’s by 2030.

Martine Zaarour

How can we support technological innovation in developing countries that supports and empowers women entrepreneurs and consumers?

We can make the women engage in online communities that host them based on location or interest, and through these platforms, they get to share the same interests regarding any social issue in their societies and launch it over different modules and topics, also connect the womenpreneurs to each other to discuss ideas, update and help each other also get mentored and trained by prominent modules in the domains.

Hanane Saouli

the idea of innavotion and the effectivenss of sustainable develpment through how to support women in this area and make in into enterpreneurship what are the unique strategies wee need to build projects to diversify into the national economy

David Owolabi

Data for Nigeria reveal that there is gender equality in key areas such as secondary school enrolment, child health, labour force participation (with a parity score of 9) and the share of the population without HIV. In tertiary school Enrolment, the percentage of women (61 per cent) surpasses that of men (39 per cent), with a parity score of 16. Gender equality also exists for children under five in terms of their survival rate and absence of stunted growth. However, for access to credit and employment in the non-agricultural sector, the data indicate an above-middle parity score. The parity score for women and men holding accounts in financial institutions and having borrowed from financial institutions is 6. For employment in the non-agricultural sector, the parity score is 7.

To address this wide gender disparity in access to credit and employment in the non-agricultural sectors including ICT, one of the policy interventions and techo-social model deployed by the Federal Government of Nigeria is Tradermoni. This is a loan programme, created specifically for petty traders mostly women and artisans across Nigeria. It is part of government enterprise and empowerment programme (GEEP) scheme of the Federal Government of Nigeria being executed by the Bank of Industry. It is designed as a continuous and incremental loan that is provided to those furthest behind as they payoff of earlier loans. So far it has been launched in 10 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

It is a response by the government to the poverty, financial exclusion, and vulnerability of about 20 million Nigerians in the informal trading sector, mostly women who require capital to grow their businesses and who most often do not have bank accounts nor have access to loans by the traditional lenders because they lack collaterals. The data of traders, mostly women and artisans are captured by agents of the Bank of Industry and they receive alert on their phones for their first loans. For subsequent loans, the beneficiaries are then required to have a Ban Verification Number and a bank account number. It is being administered by the Bank of Industry with the structures and processes to reach out to the applicants.

To ensure the new paradigm does not fail women, it is important to ensure that it is not just a tokenistic intervention but one that is embedded in policy and appropriate legal framework. For sustainability, it will be important for State governments to fully buy in into the programme by incorporating it into their social protection policy and scheme by having a gender sensitive financing for gender equality across sectors. This will require inter-ministerial collaboration involving Planning, Finance, Women Affairs and Social Development, Education, Science and Technology and partnership with the private sector.

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Thanks,  David Owolabi for presenting this programme here. This is definitely the way to go to close the gender gap in non-traditional sectors such as ICT. As you rightly pointed out, to secure the sustainability of such initiatives, they need to be embedded in the country's development policies, legal frameworks and requires close collaboration between all stakeholders. I believe that there are many such interesting and innovative programmes that can be presented at the forum and would be interested to hear from you how best we can facilitate that?

Dr Yinka Falola-Anoemuah

Tradermoni is one of many strategies deployed by various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government  to respond to poverty and improve access to resources especially among indigent rural and urban women in Nigeria. The national Social Protection Policy in Nigeria mandates the MDAs and their partners to develop and implement such interventions. However, they lack national coverage. Providing platform for such sharing from various settings and countries would be instructive and help achieve one of the goals of the Forum. 

David Owolabi

Thanks Leila Salehiravesh for your comment.

As requested, I want to suggest this is listed for intervention in plenary discussion by participants from different countries under Idea for Session 111 below:

3. Idea for session III: Economic Empowerment: No One Size Fits All Solutions

    • What unique strategies do we need to set up in different digital spaces: corporate, small businesses, non-profit, education, etc. to ensure gender equality?
    • What models/initiatives should we established to make influence and develop impact organically as well as be replicated for sustainability

It can also be a topic for panel discussion comprising identified panelists to share country experiences.

Abdelrahman Elzein

There was a point that was mentioned in another consultation which I thought was brilliant. It was about how AI can become biased, which relates more to this consultation.

Basically, an AI will learn whatever you teach it. If you give it data that has historical bias against women, it will learn to be biased against women. This can have unforeseen effects on women empowerment.

For example, assume Bank X has a history of very subtle bias against loaning women who want to start businesses, and later on decides to automate the process by developing their own AI to analyze applicants risks and hand out loans. The end result will be the solidification of that bias in the system.

The same example can be applied to numerous things like employment, salaries, promotions, scholarships grants, etc.

Technology is often thought of as unbiased, but that's only true until we teach it to be so. While there are fields like ethics of technology that somewhat address this, it's worth a special mention. To avoid biased scenarios, datasets need to be looked at through a gendered lens before application when it's relevant, and rule out gender data when it's irrelevant.

Ani Zonneveld

As an organization we work with partners in the most rural areas of Burundi and it was shocking to discover that a broadband connection can cost USD280/month.

The conversation seems to assume that internet connection is available and the gap to fill is training women in the tech industry. While that is certainly the case, the cost of securing internet connection in many rural areas is a high bar. We should discuss the infrastructural changes that need to happen to enable for tech and entrepreneurial trainings, and all the ideas listed above to come to fruition.

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Thanks, dear, Ani Zonneveld, excellent point! The high cost of technology makes it inaccessible for the poor and increases the gap between developing and the developed world. I have seen facebook free basics in some countries providing limited access to the internet in a selected few countries. Do you know of any initiatives that can be showcased at the forum? What is the role of the governments and private sector in providing the access?

Ani Zonneveld

[~55252] As Muslims for Progressive Values is paying for internet connection for our partner on the ground we are now proposing to make better use of the connectivity to train teachers and students, boys and girls. Having a private entity like Facebook contribute would be good publicity for them not to mention potential future users. For our cause, it would be honey! Happy to share a concrete proposal at the conference.  

Raya Khreis

Greetings from Jordan!
Thank you for the conference organizers for the rich content, technology is an important tool and it can be used wisely to enhance the participation of women in the economy, due to the low wages and difficult transportation in the Arab countries, many women don't contribute in the labor market, to make the technology accessible or those women they can be active and productive, it is a win win situation for the society and the women. 
Looking forward to meet all of you in Tunis 
​​​​​​​Raya Khreis 

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator

Thanks, dear [~55628] for your input. Indeed, technology can play a vital role in the provision of access to economic opportunities for women in developing countries. Do you know of any examples in Jordan?

Best, Leila

Raya Khreis

Hey Leila, actually there is a huge debate about young females entrepreneurs to utilize the technology for their start up, in order to open the door for the women to participate and be active

Meegan Scott

Considering peace, security, technology, and the economic empowerment of women.

“How Can Stakeholders Act in Cooperation for their greater good?”

I believe the following should be key points of discussion:

  1. Cost & access to technology for low income women and business women
  2. Technology and culture (Ensuring access to and embracing technology does not seem to or conflict with wholesome aspects of culture if different from mainstream Western)
  3. Safety will always be an issue especially for women and girls
  4. Technology, relationships, and family

Question 2:

Where there is no justice, there will be no peace.  Where members of conservative society feel their esteem, image, and social cost of allowing or upholding same rights and opportunities for men and women is too high, women will not be able to access their rights.

While there might still be room for public education and awareness, technology provides an opportunity to add a solution.  Internet technology can be leveraged to help women entrepreneur tap into more steady and higher earnings by supporting larger businesses, or businesses within economic development clusters.

AI can be expensive and not necessarily worth the cost for major investments by many small and medium sized companies.  But women, can be trained in AI, and analytical roles thus enabling them to deliver services at home and crossborder to entities thus accelerating their economic freedom and financial independence.

Perhaps funding for training women to take on analytical roles, to create and apply bots to web sites and softwares might be an action item for the event. Finding technology, financial, and government partners, and leaving the event with a commitment that is publicly announced would be great.

Those skills along with others in management etc., can be plugged into Economic development groups, Clusters, etc. Cluster members can provide a small contribution in partnership with tech companies for ensuring greater levels of access.  The women could be organized to deliver services without their gender being disclosed at first (Using a virtual access platform), business and service delivery support for strengthening their capacity should be provided and as their incomes increase they can begin to pay for such support and so take on the responsibilities and functions of real entrepreneurs.

Later client success stories and women behind the successes can be showcased in exhibition, national or local event with publicity for helping to change the mindset. 

The Tech clusters, work, school, incubator connections can be used to connect, industry, tech, women, and things cultural for creating innovation by and in partnership with women.  Solutions should strive to include men so they become partners in empowering women through tech, and innovation.

I recommend that approach along with public education, for ensuring families are given time to adjust to not operating as usual with women being denied their rights. Without properly functioning families there will be nurturing, and well as wealth transfer issues, even safety and security issues that plunge women, children, and then men into greater poverty.  Therefore men and women must be prepared for the new liberations that comes with tech and the reassurance that there will be social, image, and even cultural gain instead of loss.

Advancing gender equality while strengthing families, and leveraging tech up to push more women up the value chain, would be another topic for me.  

Rights, duties, benefits, possibilities, and opportunities will be key ingredients in making it work.

A big move from stakeholder engagement to “How Can Stakeholders Act in Cooperation for their greater good?”

Jaime E. Conde Matos


Emphasize the importance of:

  • Developmentally appropriate practices for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, which parents and caregivers can apply in a variety of settings to engage girls in STEM.
  • Early formal and informal STEM experiences and education for girls.
  • Strong education and related career pathways to increase girls’ engagement in STEM.
  • Environmental and social barriers that block women’s participation and progress in STEM.
Saripalli Suryanarayana

The understandings of STEM Education is so complicated for reasons unknown.The students do parcticles on seedlings,the see how new plants come out from soil.They see all vehicles running under their nose,but not aware what is kinetic energy.For get PE or KE,but how to calculate the area of circle,segment,what are mathematical theorms.Ask peace voulenteers from other countries like India,for 2 to 3 months a years.

It is the education of teachers that has to be taken care,not the students.

Abdelrahman Elzein

Saripalli Suryanarayana 
If you're talking about the low quality of education (material and teachers), then I agree, it's a problem that needs to be resolved. We actually suffer from the same thing in Sudan.

However, those with internet access became - at least in part - self-taught, which makes a good case for accessibility to technology for everyone. Regarding STEM fields specifically, there are successful projects like Khan Academy that really put math within the grasp of those who take the courses (I've tried it, it's awesome). Worst case scenario in today's world: you can bypass the teacher figure almost completely; Best case: you can have trained individuals running programs that facilitate learning for everyone.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Discussing about 4th Industrial Revolution and SDGs (what to do when not many people know what to do and how to do) the enclosed paper by   Milica Begovic, PhD, Knowledge and Innovation Team Leader, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe and the CIS, shows how these decisions have shown greater uncertainty and often without an adequate knowledge as well data base.

 They must also contend with low capability in the systems of academic and policy research, government and non-government policy analysis and research, data analytics and foresight research.Every thing has to be from low level.But Forensics application in analytics could be complicated,but should not be ruled out.



Danilo Arevalo

Muy buenas tardes, muy contento de poder participar en este foro; soy Ginecólogo Oncólogo y estoy interesado en el tema  mejora de la tecnología sanitaria, específicamente en el tema sobre cáncer de cervix y su erradicación. Anualmente recibo en la consulta publica un gran numero de pacientes con cáncer del cuello del útero, en los últimos años el diagnostico se ha realizado en adolecéntes y mujeres jóvenes con una expectativa reproductiva baja sin mencionar  la prevalencia que esto implica. Temas como vacunación gratuita contra el VPH, aplicación de tecnologías emergentes a los actos quirúrgicos, son temas que creo afectan mi país y la mayoría de paises en vía de desarrollo y que son indispensables no solo para la erradicación del cáncer del cuello uterino también para un mejor tratamiento e inclusive abrir una oportunidad a las jóvenes que padecen esta enfermedad..

Saripalli Suryanarayana

How cleanliness can come for women is from the" film on menstruation, set in rural India, titled Period. End of Sentence, has won the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category at the 91st Academy Awards. Award-winning filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi has directed the short film, which has been produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga's Sikhya Entertainment."It won at Oscars.

The other entities which have to be followed are[2].William Brieger via Knowledge Gateway <malaria@my.ibpinitiative.org>and Tropical Health Update;https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(18)30757-6/fulltext   

Venezuela used to have one of the best health systems on the continent. Now it has the most problematic. The ongoing political and economic crisis has caused major shortages of food and medicine, hyperinflation and millions of refugees flowing out of the country. Venezuela now has two men who both claim to be the legitimate president.

The country's downward spiral began in the waning years of Hugo Chávez's presidency in the mid-2000s. Despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela's national vaccination campaigns for most diseases started falling apart in 2007.

Measles is highly contagious, and Linkins at the CDC says that to stop outbreaks, health officials need to keep 95 percent of the population immunized. Each year that children weren't vaccinated in Venezuela, the pool of people whom measles could potentially infect grew. And the country became fertile ground for the virus.

El Salvador or other countiries may be far away but the problems of sinking health in the near countries needs to be understood.One washing and sexual preferences are most important needs which can eardicate the problems to major extent.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Some more on CDC as i get the views as per new CLIMATE are[1]

An at-home screening test for colorectal cancer may be as good an option as a colonoscopy, a new review study finds.

The FIT, or fecal immunochemical test, works by determining whether there is blood in a person's stool sample that is not visible to the naked eye. Blood in the stool may be an early sign of a colon polyp (a small growth that's typically not cancerous) or of colorectal cancer.

In the review, published yesterday (Feb. 25) in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers looked at data from 31 studies that compared the performance of FIT tests to colonoscopies. [5 Lifestyle Tips that Lower Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer]

[2]Nigeria-APHPN report states-Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) is defined as a sudden onset of paralysis/weakness in any part of the body of a child less than 15 years of age. This syndromic reporting strategy, of investigating all AFP cases rather than just “suspected poliomyelitis”, serves many purposes.


Malaria is one of the most severe public health issues that result in massive morbidity and mortality in most countries of the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study aimed to determine the scope of household, accessibility to malaria care and factors associated with household malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Public health and women and child health are key to gender equality.Let us work for making sucess of health protection.

Zafar Gondal

25 years ago the speed of technological advance was arguably not foreseen. Today as digital technologies and data usher in the 4th industrial revolution, what key issues and concerns should form a part of discussion at the forum?

Response: This is challenging time, offering lot of opportunities and time in the making.  The 4th Industrial Revolution is there and will stay with us. We can not stop it rather we must treat it as opportunity and ensure its benefits are shared by all countries and all individual humans. Women representation in technology, science and math is admittedly very low. It is policy makers and UN responsibility to make sure the governments and states are committed to mainstream and encourage more and more girls in IT, in AI, Science and math. Technology may also help gender neutral IT tools, process, procedures in all social, economic and political arenas, IT models and also ensure gender responsive and women empowering tools in IT and in all other field of life. I believe women are more suited and more productive for IT and AI fields. The digital technology and data must ensure gender equality and in developing and underdeveloped countries digital technology must ensure gender responsive and gender empowering aspects. Of course, we need global principles, themes and  norms but local solutions. The solution, the tools, actions and processes will vary from country to country from context to context. The approaches may vary from context to context. Most of the gender inequality challenges are legacy of the past, some are cultural norms, some are traditional and some are religious. All must be reconsidered, restated if not changed. The change must start from review of some historical facts, review and restatement of some folklores, literatures and education books. The strategy must focus on mindset change through projecting male and female as equal, and in some areas even better than male.

Does this affect different areas of the globe differently? Can technology be harnessed for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment?

Digital technology will affect differently to different countries depending on level of education, level of development, past culture, tradition and religious traditions. Note all these barriers, obstacles and inequality are human made and developed over the centuries. In the past, we were living in a different environment, our needs were different. Physical power was more important, self protection were norms as state was weak or non existent. The humans were divided into clans, then into national states. The 4th Revolution is disruptive of all old structures, power structures, tradition and customs. The AI, and digital technologies have huge potential and offers unprecedented opportunity for gender equality and women empowerment. The world in general and the UN in particular must rise to this opportunity and must harness AI and IT for this purpose. It must start from review of our curriculum, reform and review of our laws, review and reconsider some tradition that are wrongly attributed to some religions. We have examples where some countries established project to review bulk of their laws for gender equality and gender neutrality. The IT ad AI tools are gender neutral and many more may be developed and used for women empowerment rather I would say it is must. If we fail to ensure that benefits of AI and IT are equally shared amongst countries and equally enjoyed by men and women, we will miss the opportunity and we will plan more inequalities. The strategies, the approaches and tactics may vary from country to country, region to region depending on the problems and context. Only UN can do this. The UN has convening power, skills and knowledge to ensure this. I also believe this is our moral, ethical responsibility to ensure fairness and justice for all and remove all stupid  barriers, obstacles of the past, superstitions of the past, rules and norms set by illiterate in the past. It is time to break and come out of stupid traditions and superstitions. It is our moral responsibility. 

Waajid Hussein

Hi everyone,

I would argue that Information Technology is rapidly changing the world; it has significantly changed the way we do, the way we communicate with people all over the world. I.T has also advanced the teaching system used in all learning and teaching institutions as well as the way we protect ourselves. People are better informed, and the method of disseminating quality information across the world has improved. The gradually transforming of the IT industry into a household name has been an labour of both male and the female gender who have worked relentlessly to the acceptance of the field; particularly in high developed countries who support the practise of information technology in all fields of life.

However, inequality between women and men has persisted in hiring and retention of women at all levels of information technology (I.T), this accounts from the few number of girls who have had an understanding of computer modules in schools, to the low percentage of women/ females who take up any IT course as an undergraduate level and more visibly the lack of female in excellent organisational and academic positions. What seem to have been a common ground and industry for both gender has now become a seemingly man’s world due to the low participation of women in this sector.

Gender differences in IT careers seem to be affecting the competitiveness of companies globally. It posited that given the current labour shortage in the IT industry, it has become more critical than ever to reduce sources of leakage in the IT career paths of women. 

I would also emphasised that in some countries such as INDIA and Africa, the population for women is high and the illiteracy among them is quite high. However, in such particular country, there is big advancement for technology whereby women work as cheap labour in a low position in their companies but despite this, they have not yet been able to use a mobile phone and alas! forget the internet.

Martha Omoekpen Alade

 [Technological innovation- empowerment or marginalization for women]

Marginalized groups like the physically challenged,  illiterate women as well as those in rural and remote communities are still alienated from the digital economy. Interventions that would bring them sustainably online has been proved to be effective. A typical example is the GWEIT project which brought the businesses of about 3000 marginalized women online in 2011. Eight years later, even after the urls no longer exist, they still have online presence, receiving patronages through basic google search(see http://wit.ng/gweit/ ) with some of their turnovers increasing exponentially. Today ecommerce has become more sophisticated but still not impossible to include such groups in this explosive digital revolution

Idea for session II: Gender Mainstreaming in the Digital Context]

The leaky pipeline plagues not only developing countries but rather a global canker worm. Through intervention like http://teachers.ng , a sustainable bottom-up approach is employed to sensitize and equip teachers on strategies to employ to encourage and strengthen girls in STEM.

I am also priviledged to work closely with the Nigerian Government on the digital girls club for public schools( see http://digitalgirls.org.ng/) since 2014, an intervention aimed at encouraging girls to pick tech careers.

Idea for session IV: How Ethical Discourse can keep pace with Technological Development]

The role of women as key technological influencers in society need to be re-emphasized and mainstreamed in policies. Donor agencies therefore need to create awareness amongst women and continue to provide digital literacy interventions. For example Intel She Will Connect.

Mary Tembo

Technological innovation has been over emphasized leading to continued marginalisation of rural women and urban poor the how will be in agriculture were a small holder farmer is affected by increasingly complex natural and global agricultural innovation and technics shifts are very critical amoung these of change and integration with small being one of the largest sector that employees mores people and more small business groups are amoung the poor. Their services depends largely on local resources, but still faced with local problems 

Steps,  there is need to do research of how much people have understood technology and how it has helped them. Or survey. 

Do the need assessment 

There is need to end all forms of discrimination in order to enhance equal rights, empowerment, women can be agents of change for sustainable sociology economic development security around the world. Although these changes are not just in agriculture but even in domestic work s


Dear All,

The Dimitra Clubs' Support Team is happy to provide some inputs to this interesting discussion. 

We work at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in the fields of gender equality, empowerment and community mobilization in rural areas. For this discussion, we wish to share with you our experience in implementing a good practice and approach of our Organization: the Dimitra Clubs. You would like to showcase the importance of information and communication technologies as a driver for for rural women's empowerment.

Videos are powerful and we wish to invite you to take a look at this video to get a sense about the Dimitra Clubs.

For the last 10 years, FAO has been promoting this gender-transformative community-driven approach in rural and isolated areas of sub-Saharan Africa. In a nutshell, the Dimitra Clubs are informal groups of rural women and men who decide to meet, discuss their daily challenges and identify solutions together to overcome them, using their own resources. In this process, access to information and networking of the clubs from different villages are facilitated by the use of solar powered radios paired with mobile phones connected into a fleet. This is an empowering process, in which community radio stations are used to relay information requested by the clubs, broadcast the debates and the clubs’ achievements, thereby facilitating exchange and networking. It should be emphasized that rural radio is still today the most used media tool in Africa (European Parliament, 2015), particularly in rural isolated areas and among rural women (FAO, 2011).       

Thanks to the clubs, rural women and men and entire rural communities take their own development in hands by identifying their own priorities and implementing local solutions to improve their livelihoods.  Individual and collective agency is promoted and people are empowered, particularly women and youth, through community mobilization and self-development activities.

An important aspect of this approach worth sharing here is that by combining capacity development processes with the use of ICTs, the Dimitra Clubs contribute to people’s empowerment, women’s leadership, collective action, social cohesion and gender equality. ICTs are enablers for social inclusion and improved dialogue but they should not be considered as a development objective in itself. This means their usage in development initiatives should be accompanied by empowering processes of change that are inclusive and gender-responsive. By making use of ICTs in support of transformative processes, the Dimitra Clubs ensure better and inclusive participation and ownership, and thus sustainability.

To date, almost 3 500 clubs in seven countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (Burundi, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Ghana, Niger, Mali and Senegal) have contributed to improved local governance and rural livelihoods for an estimated 2.5 million rural people. Impact has been achieved in a variety of areas such as nutrition, agricultural production, resilience, climate change adaptation, marketing, women’s leadership, gender equality, education, social cohesion and community governance.

We are interested to expand this conversation with those of you who are familiar with similar community-led approaches that use ICTs to empower rural people, particularly rural women. For example, it would be interesting to know your experience in working with different kinds of ICTs, in particular in the Least Developed Countries, as well as sharing experiences on how methodological adaptations should be put in place with the use of different ICTs.    

Ani Zonneveld

Christiane, "... development initiatives should be accompanied by empowering processes of change that are inclusive and gender-responsive." is key and Muslims for Progressive Values have been taking the same approach as Dimitra Clubs in that, both men and women need to feel empowered together. Our program is called #ImamsForShe, working with religious leaders in Burundi and now expanding to Rwanda and DRC. We incorporate a weekly radio program called  “La Femme En Islam” and for our program we have to go the extra mile in empowering young women with Islamic human rights language as young women are often discouraged to pursue education "in the name of Islam". So the first step for us is to undermine religious justifications for curtailing girls' rights with the help of our feminist male imams. 

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Unlike 2 nd and 3 rd industrial revolutions which took some time to spread across world,the third is yet to penetrate deep in to some parts of the globe,the fourth revolution is going leaps and bounds with many alternate technologies appearing in the horizon for social uses.

The adoptability is more in human nature irrespective of the laungages [not C,C+,Visual Basic,Jawa,Python etc] it is made.The human capacity to adopt has crossed the requiremnts of universal education,that has been preached all along.Now the countriesregions/social groups need only one educator to make the versatile transactions/transformation to be made.The depth of sensors/acutators,and other equipment from AI is so powerful that they them-selves make the unique learning possible.

Maïmouna Diouf

Responsible: Gender-Energy and climate change at Enda Energie

In Africa, particularly in rural areas, innovation would be to provide people with access to modern energy services (technology and modern energy sources) which is one of the keys that can contribute to the empowerment of women. Access to this service makes it possible to improve the living conditions of women, to develop income-generating activities, to access information to know external innovations but also to facilitate the education of children, especially grls. 

The use of modern energy technology also contributes to the reduction of women's working time. For example for cooking: the woman who should walk for miles to collect firewood, the use of efficient and energy-efficient cooking technology will save her time to develop income-generating activities but also to be able to contribute to the social activities of the community because the empowerment of is not not only economic. 

Development of value chains (livestock, agriculture, fishing, ect.) through access to sustainable modern energy services allows women to be autonomous. For example, at Enda Energie, to help empower vulnerable populations, especially women , we have developed the milk value chain through access to renewable energies, particularly solar energy in the North and south zones of Senegal. Regarding agriculture we used drip irrigation with the solar pumping system to develop market gardening. Solar dryers are also important for the processing of non-timber forest products, cereals, ect. 

Liliana Flórez

Hola a todas y a todos,

Sólo hasta el día de hoy me enteré de este espacio. En Colombia el uso de la tecnología no está ligado directamente al empoderamiento económico de las mujeres, esto se ha convertido en un reto para los últimos gobiernos.

En la actualidad, Colombia enfrenta grandes retos para la creación de programas que involucren la inclusión financiara de las mujeres jóvenes rurales. Las mujeres jóvenes conforman pilares fundamentales para el fortalecimiento socioeconómico de los países que han sufrido conflictos internos durante tantos años, en el caso de Colombia, hablamos de una guerra que duro 50 años entre el Gobierno y las FARC-EP. Es importante crear proyectos que faciliten y promuevan el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres en Colombia, las mujeres de bajos ingresos se les imposibilita ir a la escuela, a la universidad o tener acceso a los cuidados de salud, ya que algunas viven en lugares muy alejados de hospitales. Promover la bancarización en las mujeres rurales, por ejemplo, con el uso de billeteras electrónicas, permite autonomía y empoderamiento.  Vale la pena hacer un mapeo de las organizaciones que en la actualidad están realizando proyectos relacionados al empoderamiento económico de las mujeres jóvenes rurales.

En Colombia el programa Familias en Acción, logró capacitar a 3000 mil jóvenes en el fortalecimiento de sus habilidades en liderazgo y capacidades financieras, pero esto no es suficiente, es importante crear alianzas con organizaciones para que estos procesos continúen y se fortalezcan, el enfoque de género y el uso de las nuevas tecnologías fortalecerán las capacidades de las mujeres y lograrán convertir a Colombia en un país más igualitario y justo. 

Leila Salehiravesh Moderator
  1. List of topics

I. Technological innovation- empowerment or marginalization for women?

Innovation and technology have left rural women and urban poor behind as these groups lack the resources required to harness the advantages that these developments provide. Access to financial resources and digital literacy are key to ensure that no one is left behind. The session will focus on following key questions:

  • Has technological innovation been overemphasized, leading to continued marginalization of rural women and urban poor? If so, how? What steps can we take to ensure these populations benefit?
  • What technological innovations have provided benefits for women, especially to alleviate their care work burdens and to enhance their economic autonomy.
  • How can we support technological innovation in developing countries that supports and empowers women entrepreneurs and consumers?

II. Gender Mainstreaming in the Digital Context

  • What implications to social cohesion does gender mainstreaming in the digital context provide? How do we create potential paths for environments that foster inclusion?
  • How does gender mainstreaming and equality directly relate to and interact with innovation and technology?
  • How can we root innovations in the local realities and developing countries in building approaches rather than merely following the global discourse?
  • How do we compel our major stakeholders and governments to relook at gender mainstreaming in the digital context? How can the individual contribute? 

III. How Ethical Discourse can keep pace with Technological Development

The fast-paced technological development has left us with an enormous gap of appropriate ethical frameworks around data collection, storage and dissemination. The expanding use of technology in all areas of life makes the need for legal and ethical frameworks to protect users in general and women in particular more inevitable. This session will focus on identifying solutions to address the lacking ethical and legal frameworks in utilizing technology.

  • How should we define legal protocols and informed consent with respect to digital data, to ensure safe data sharing for creating digital pubic goods for women’s empowerment and gender equality? 
  • What formal processes and hard benchmarks need to be established for measuring technological development towards the well-being of women?

IV. Thinking Outside the Box: Women’s technological participation in non-conventional trades/occupations

Start-ups and tech related industries are booming, and entrepreneurship has become an important source of employment globally, however, the number of women engaged in these sectors are still limited. Outdated educational policies, traditional practices and a lack of role models in the developing countries and systematic disadvantage of women entrepreneurs in accessing mentorship, investment and opportunities in developed countries are only a few of the root causes. This session will assess the barriers facing women in “non-conventional” female sectors and focuses on ways to overcome them.

  • Where and how do we need to expand our ideas and perspectives in options for women’s technological engagement? 
  • What occupations and opportunities are we not acknowledging or supporting enough that promote equality and the digital economy?
  • How can we increase the number of women in leadership positions?
  • What is some of the ways to raise awareness at a young age (role models/education etc.)?


The cyber space can offer a refuge and safe space for victims of violence to inform themselves, share their experiences with others and seek help that otherwise would not be available due to cultural, societal or economic bareers. This session will focus on solutions and show-case successful examples from across the world, where technology and innovation can turn the cyber space to a safe space for victims of violence.

  • What are ways that technology is being used as a safe space for survivors of violence to share their stories and gain support? 
  • How can we provide a space for men as well as women to show solidarity and share ideas on how to end violence against women?

VI. Digital Storytelling: Amplifying voice, influencing discourse

Women and girl are using the modern technology and internet to voice their view points. This is particularly the case in more traditional communities where women have had less opportunities to make their voice heard. Global movements such as the #metoo showcase how internet can be utilized as a powerful tool for women to express their concerns. This session will focus on ways to use digital storytelling and empower women to add their voice to the discourse.

  • How can we amplify women’s voices so that their lived realities are legitimized in mainstream narratives?
  • How do we push back against the rising trend of misogynistic online behavior? What is the role of private and state actors in this regard?  

VII. Economic Empowerment: No One Size Fits All Solutions

The modern technology and innovation make access to data, legal and financial resources, and marketing solutions necessary for women economic activities easier. However, research shows that despite positive developments in these areas, women run businesses face biased attitudes, limiting their access to resources/investment in developed countries. On the other hand, women entrepreneurs in developing countries are faced with legal barriers, inhibiting their ability to start their own businesses or scale up.   This session will discuss ways to harness data, technology and innovation for women economic empowerment.

  • What is the role of the government in developing legal frameworks to support women economic activities?
  • What unique strategies do we need to set up in different digital spaces: corporate, small businesses, non-profit, education, etc. to ensure gender equality?
  • What models/initiatives should we established to influence and develop impact organically as well as be replicated for sustainability? 
  • How to incorporate do no harm principle in promoting women's economic empowerment?


  1. Include any suggestions for ways to present these at the Forum in an innovative way:
  • Presentation of successful innovative solutions through presentation at side-events
  • Organizing design thinking workshop, which is a flexible tool and can be adjusted in a way that would engage the participants on the setting of a workshop with specific themes, it can help them in empathize with problems related to the theme, define them in depth and even ideate actions for these problems/insights
  • https://diytoolkit.org/tools/ have many tools which could be adjusted and used for the sessions.