UN Aims to Close Gender Digital Divide

The International Telecommunication Union and UN Women are teaming on a new effort to bridge what they call the gender digital divide.

"Equals: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age" is an effort to accelerate use by women and girls.

"Information and Communications Technologies are an essential pathway towards gender equality and gender empowerment," said ITU secretary general Houlin Zhao. "It's time to make the world more equal."

ITU says there are a quarter billion fewer women online than men, with the gap between internet use by men and women the highest (31% fewer women) in the least developed countries.

Men are heavier users of the internet in every region of the world, says ITU, and there are still 1.7 billion women without a mobile phone, increasingly the broadband access devices of choice and the easiest to bring to the developing world.

UN Women is the UN's ongoing effort for global gender equality, while the ITU is the UN arm dealing with international telecommunications.

They are looking to drive an engagement and outreach effort focused on equal access, tech skills, and leadership/entrepreneurship.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.