- In line with the theme chosen for UN International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, the UfM held a Webinar on Innovation and technological change for Gender Equality on 7th March 2023 from 11h to 13h.
- Representatives of European Commission, international (UNIDO) and regional organizations and networks (EMA), as well as successful women entrepreneurs working on the field of digital platforms AI and Tech in the MENA Region (Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia), shared good practices and discussed solutions for an inclusive digital ecosystem.
- In particular, panelists shared their experiences and recommendations with almost 100 online attendees on how to ensure that no-one is left behind; on how to create a gender-transformative innovation ecosystem; and on how to ensure that technology and innovation responses to the needs of women and girls are inclusive and accessible.
Barcelona, 7 March 2023. The UfM IWD 2023 Webinar on Innovation and technological change for Gender Equality represented a fruitful space for discussion on ways and recommendations to achieve a digital inclusion, also in line with the commitment taken in Madrid last October by the UfM Ministers to promote inclusive leadership models from early education, in all fields, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
John Paul Grech, Deputy Secretary General of the Social and Civil Affairs Division at UfM, delivered the opening remarks by highlighting how innovation and digital tools provide opportunities for greater access to information, education and skills and open possibilities for increased employment and business opportunities. However, while the Industry 4.0 revolution is creating opportunities for new and greener productive models, women entrepreneurs in the MENA region suffer from lack of sufficient awareness of technological possibilities. “Narrowing the gender-gap in digital skills can contribute to narrowing the gender wage-gap by providing women access to higher skilled ICT-related roles”, said John Paul Grech.
The Webinar also represented an opportunity to present the infographics of the “Promoting Women Empowerment for inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the MENA region” (PWE) Project’ surveys on the access to and use of ICT and digital technologies by female entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector and manufacturing-related services in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, State of Palestine, and Tunisia. The UNIDO PWE Project Coordinator, Neila Amara, highlighted that the opportunities offered by digital technologies are only partially exploited.
During the panel, the eight experts from private sectors, international and regional organizations, and European Commission, shared their recommendations and professional experiences on the opportunities that innovation and technology can provide for women empowerment, focusing as well on how AI can contribute to a broader access to data and information for women who want to approach a career in the sector.
Moreover, programmes of peer-to-peer mentoring and skills strengthening were presented as a way to contribute in turning women into active players of the digital transition and key tools to make the online platforms gender inclusive and accessible were identified. Good practices were shared on how to mainstream gender equality within the fields of STEM at the educational levels, and the benefits and risks associated to Fintech, or financial technology, were highlighted.