Using Innovation and Technology to Advance Gender Equality

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In cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN and the International Gender Champions Network, IPI cohosted a policy forum on March 7th on the topic of “Using Innovation and Technology to Advance Gender Equality.”

The objective of this event was to learn from examples of innovative and technological approaches to improve gender equality and to discuss how these and similar strategies can be applied more broadly to gender equality work.

Gender inequality persists around the globe. “All women and girls need access to technology, need to be represented in the digital space, and need to be safe to fully participate,” affirmed IPI President Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his opening remarks. The latest available data on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 shows that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030. Despite progress in reforming laws, closing gaps in legal protections, and removing discriminatory laws, gender equality could take up to 286 years to achieve, based on the current rate of change.

Women’s representation in positions of power and decision-making remains below parity. Sophie Achermann, from Alliance F highlighted how “women are left out of our digital democracy,” to close the gender digital divide, everyone must be included. Gender inequality in its most extreme form is expressed through gender-based violence and violence against women, which remains high both offline and online. A study of women in 51 countries revealed that 38 percent of women surveyed had personally experienced online violence, including hate speech. Online and ICT-facilitated violence against women increased during the COVID-19 global pandemic as women spent more time online. A critical step toward achieving gender equality will be to make sure that women are able to participate safely and meaningfully in online spaces. “What works well for women will work well for the world,” asserted UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology Amandeep Singh Gill.

Opening Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Peace Institute
H.E. Pascale Baeriwsyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN

Amandeep Singh Gill, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology
Iris Bohnet, Harvard University
Annabella Bassler, Equal Voice, Ringier
Sophie Achermann, Stop Hate Speech, Alliance F

Adam Lupel, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, International Peace Institute