Growing partnership agrees to bold goals to close the gender gap in tech
New York, 22 September 2018 — The EQUALS Global Partnership today committed to a broad set of strategic goals to bridge the digital gender divide, at its annual principals’ meeting at the Yale Club in New York City. The meeting brought together influential EQUALS partners representing leading private sector organizations, universities, United Nations organizations and government agencies—who work together to bring more women and girls to tech and tech to more women and girls around the world.
Attendees at the EQUALS Partners Principals Meeting, 22 September 2018
EQUALS Steering Committee Co-Chair Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the International Telecommunication Union—which co-founded EQUALS together with UN Women—set the stage for a review of the previous year’s accomplishments and challenges and agreement on the 2019 goals and commitments that will help bring the benefits of tech to millions of girls and women around the world.
“With a successful year completed for the EQUALS Global Partnership, our agenda for 2019 action is clear. We come together today with a common vision: that women and girls can be equals in tech.”
- Doreen Bogdan-Martin, EQUALS Steering Committee Co-Chair
EQUALS 2019 Goals
The three EQUALS Coalitions—Access, Skills and Leadership—and the EQUALS Research Group established their goals for 2019. These are designed to support a worldwide efforts to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality) by 2030. In particular, the EQUALS 2019 goals are:
Access Coalition: More girls and women are accessing and using the Internet in select countries.
Skills Coalition: Policy-makers and practitioners are using resources for educating and training women and girls in digital skills[TL1] [TL2] .
Leadership Coalition: 1) Female tech entrepreneurs are connected with investors and mentors through networking opportunities and advocacy events; and 2) Women-led technology-oriented firms have information, training programmes and tools to successfully create and lead a business.
Research Group: 1) Stakeholders are actively tracking and publicly sharing internationally comparable gender-disaggregated data, and 2) Policy-makers are using reliable metrics and indicators to create evidence-informed policy.
While the goals offer a vision of what can be achieved by EQUALS partners working together, each EQUALS partner also used the annual meeting to affirm their own plans for specific, measurable action in the coming year—their EQUALS Commitments. These may be small or large in scale, but they must contribute to the goals set by EQUALS. More than 90 such commitments have already been made.
Equals partner The Code to Change, for example, committed to organizing a four-month programme in the Netherlands and Pakistan, which will provide one-on-one mentoring to women and girls by experienced information and communication technology (ICT) professionals. The University of California at Berkeley committed to holding at least two professional development workshops for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars or early-career women in tech fields.
“The EQUALS Commitments are critical to the Partnership, they represent the direct work our partners are doing to address gender equality in a collaborative way. The more we can do together, the more equal opportunity we can create.”
- Joyce Dogniez of the Internet Society, co-chair of the EQUALS Steering Committee
The EQUALS Coalitions also presented four key products that had been agreed to in the 2018 work plan:
The Access Coalition, represented by its lead GSMA, presented a progress report, which provides a complete framework for reducing the gender gap in Internet access and use, and offers a case study from Rwanda to demonstrate successful strategies.
The Skills Coalition, led by UNESCO and GIZ, launched the new EQUALS Digital Skills Fund. The fund provides small grants to women-led movements and organizations in developing countries to implement digital skills training. The World Wide Web Foundation will be administering the Fund.
The Leadership Coalition, led by ITC and UN Women, presented a summary of work including a framework for crowdsourced e-learning course content to facilitate women’s professional and entrepreneurial opportunities in the tech sector.
The Research Group, represented by its lead the United Nations University, presented its report Taking Stock: Data and Evidence on Gender Equality in Digital Access, Skills and Leadership, a preliminary summary of data and theoretical perspectives on a path to gender equality in the digital age.
Partners reviewed EQUALS highlights of the year, including recognition in a G20 Ministerial Declaration (August 2018); operational funding secured by Germany (GIZ and BMZ) and the Internet Society; and important roles in a range of global change efforts such as the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, European Development Days, the World Summit on the Information Society, Transform Africa, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Women in Technology International Summit.
“The work EQUALS is doing contributes better evidence and policies to ensure that no one, and especially no woman, is held back in trying to achieve their aspirations. At OECD, we support EQUALS as part of our commitment to promote gender equality, diversity and inclusive growth.”
- Gabriela Ramos, OECD, a member of the EQUALS Research Group
As the EQUALS Global Partnership enters its third year, it continues to provide a “home base” for organizations, corporations and governments that are ready to drive evidence-based actions to ensure that women and girls have access to digital technology, the skills to succeed in an increasingly online world, and opportunities to shape the digital future.
EQUALS is a ground-breaking global network delivered by a committed partnership of corporate leaders, governments, non-profit organizations, communities and individuals around the world working together to bridge the digital gender divide—by bringing women to tech and tech to women – and in so doing, bettering the lives of millions worldwide. Learn more at www.equals.org
Access Coalition: EQUALS 2018 Access Coalition Progress Report
Access Coalition: Rwanda case study video
Skills Coalition: EQUALS Digital Skills Fund
Leadership Coalition: EQUALS Leadership Coalition 2017-2018 Overview
Research Group: Taking Stock: Data and Evidence on Gender Equality in Digital Access, Skills and Leadership
2018 Digital Gender Divide Progress Report