W20 summit: GSMA culminates year-long agenda on digital inclusion for women

Engagement Group of G20 to Present Recommendations to Ensure Economic Development of Women; As Topic Chair on Digital Inclusion, GSMA Taking Active Role at W20

26 September 2018, Buenos Aires: On October 1-3, Buenos Aires will host the Women 20 (W20) International Summit, the closing event of the official engagement group of the G20 advocating gender equality. The W20 Summit will mark the end of a year-long international dialogue process aimed at developing action plans for the empowerment of women. Throughout the year, the GSMA served as Topic Chair on Digital Inclusion, one of the focus topics of the W20 Group. The GSMA’s recommendations for bridging the digital gender divide will be part of the Final Communiqué that will be presented to G20 leaders, represented in the event by the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri.

The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2018 found that in low- and middle-income countries women are, on average, 10 percent less likely than men to own mobile phones and 26 percent less likely to use mobile internet. Given that for most of the world’s population mobile is also the primary way to access the internet, this gap must be closed to ensure women do not lose out on the socio-economic benefits of full participation in the digital economy.

With this goal, the GSMA’s work as Topic Chair involved creating dialogues with international organisations and experts, as well as coordinating a remote network of delegates for the preparation of papers on the subject. The main product of this work was a policy brief, which set out recommendations for bridging the digital gender gap. The document points out, among other things, the need to address key barriers related to accessibility, affordability, safety, digital skills training and content relevance. It also highlights the potential of digital inclusion to contribute to the other three focus points of W20: labour and financial inclusion, and rural women’s development.

“The GSMA has been privileged to help shape the W20 recommendations, which will provide an actionable roadmap for the G20 nations to drive gender equality policies around the world,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Our role here is a sign of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, particularly in this case, SDG #5, Gender Equality. We also support this SDG via other initiatives, such as Connected Women, through which mobile operator partners have delivered life-enhancing digital services to more than 22 million women in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

Granryd will participate in the W20 Summit, speaking on the panel “Looking into the Future of Work”, along with Susana Balbo, Chair, W20 Argentina; Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff and Sherpa, OECD; and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women. Other GSMA leaders including Sebastián Cabello, Head of Latin America; Claire Sibthorpe, Head of Connected Women and Connected Society, Mobile for Development; and Paula Ferrari, Regional Marketing Director for Latin America, will also participate at the event in panels and side sessions.

Digital Inclusion for Girls

On October 4th, as a side event to the W20 Summit, GSMA Latin America will host a Tech4Girls workshop in its offices. Teen girls from Buenos Aires will participate in a mobile coding interactive activity as a way of inspiring them to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and careers.

This will be the first Latin American edition of a series of Tech4Girls events originally initiated by GSMA North America. It is part of Women4Tech, a programme aimed at reducing the gender gap in the tech industry. “We are proud to see that our initiatives are being implemented in different regions, proving that we are helping connect everyone and everything to a better future all around the world,” said Granryd.