EQUALS Partnership Takes Center Stage at Telecom World

EQUALS, the global partnership to shrink the digital gender gap launched by ITU and UN Women, unveiled the world's first Gender Digital Inclusion Map, an open-source product created by ITU and the United Nations University Computing Society's research on the broad range of public and private sector organizations tackling the gender digital divide at the 2016 Telecom World. 


The Gender Digital Inclusion Map aims to pin all programmes for women in tech around the world on a single map to facilitate collaboration in the race to meet Sustainable Development Goal #5 and shrink the growing gap between women and men's access, utilization, and leadership in the information communication and technology (ICT) industry. The map will be a resource for NGOs and companies and ministries looking to scale-up their efforts for women who are looking for ICT training courses and for governments to understand the priority areas to focus their investments. 


Organizations can add their projects to the map here. 



Speaking at the Bangkok meeting of EQUALS, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said, "ICTs are uniquely powerful in bringing information and knowledge—and therefore social and economic progress—to disadvantaged people everywhere. The EQUALS partnership aims to elevate the discussion of the importance of women in tech to the global level. We want to ensure that international technology companies, governments and NGOs have a platform to work together on a global road-map to improve digital gender equality." 


UN Women's Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, speaking in advance of the meeting, "Women and girls who are empowered by ICT are a vital part of our future. For that future to become reality, we have to solve the digital gender divide. We know that takes partnerships. Through implementing EQUALS with ITU, UN Women aims to build a network of stakeholders that will then become a global community of collaborators. That community will in turn foster public and private partnerships that are able to bring women into emerging IT related industries and support their rise to the highest levels of leadership." 


The EQUALS programme and movement was launched on September 20 in New York ahead of the United Nations General Assembly at the annual meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. ITU and UN Women invited all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the digital revolution leaves no woman behind and create a roadmap to achieving Sustainable Development Goal #5: "Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology (ICTs), to promote the empowerment of women." 


The launch included a social media campaign #beEQUALS, where individuals and interested partners around the world showed their support by taking photos of themselves making the EQUALS sign and sharing it on social media. 


The partners meeting today focused on defining priorities and setting measurable targets in the following areas of action: