Are we doing enough to achieve digital gender equality?

Our CEO Geraldine de Bastion was invited to discuss innovative ways of thinking and doing digital gender equality around the world.

The “The Digital Gender Gap”* event on March 3, 2021 was organised by the International Civil Society Centre with guests Geraldine de Bastion, Kokoévi Sossouvi, and Maja Kraljič and hosted by Barbara Iverson. If you missed the event, here are 10 key points to take away.

1. Think of gender equality in an intersectional way. Women from all races, classes and cultures must be included in the conversation. Women need to have a seat at the table, every table, and all over the world. Yet, as an example, only 18% of ICT specialists in Europe are women. And women are still four times less likely to study ICT than men.

2. Close the gender digital gap to help address issues in the analogue world. For instance, 68% of women report that having a mobile phone makes them feel safer.

3. Provide the basics: infrastructure. Whose responsibility is it if governments are not providing Internet access? If platforms are not creating safe spaces for equal representation and participation? We need to hold them accountable.

4. Do not forget culture. For example, being able to own a phone doesn’t mean it is considered socially appropriate for women to do so. Digital gender norms need to be changed for more equality.

5. Know that access doesn’t mean use. It is necessary but insufficient. We need to know how to use the technology. Imagine you cannot read a text you receive, or you don’t understand its language. Alternatives, such as banking technologies using voice messaging, have been proven to help. Another way is to create common spaces, for instance attached to public libraries, where individuals can access the internet and learn about it.

6. Make the Internet more about creation, less about consumption. Women have the right to code. They should be encouraged and empowered to create digital spaces where they can enjoy their rights and find pleasure, as outlined in the Feminist Principles of the Internet.

7. Centre anonymity. Anonymity has always helped women, especially queer ones, and even more when also activists. It should be a core concern in building a more inclusive digital future.

8. Challenge discrimination, censorship and harassment, which disproportionately affect women, especially queer ones.

9. Encourage women to ask for funding and make funding more accessible.

10. Make cross-sectoral alliances to support and encourage inclusion. For example, women in tech could learn from women in energy, who are also out-numbered by male colleagues.

*The event “Digital Debate: The Gender Gap” was organised by the International Civil Society Centre. Kokoévi Sossouvi is a digital financial services expert and Maja Kraljič is a web developer & open source diversity and inclusion advisor. The debate was moderated by Barbara Iverson, an interpersonal skills and intercultural management lecturer at the CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.