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UN Sets 2020 Broadband Gender Equity Goal

The UN's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has set a target of 2020 for gender equity in broadband access, thanks in part to actress Geena Davis.

That announcement came over the weekend at the seventh meeting of the commission, which was held in Mexico City. The goal is to "spur female access to the power of information and communication technologies." That new target was set after the first in-person meeting of the gender working group, which was launched in New York last year for Davis.

The new gender target was one decisive outcome of the first face-to-face meeting of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender March 16. The working group was launched in New York in 2012 by Geena Davis, actor, advocate and ITU's Special Envoy on Women and Girls.

Women in the developing world are far less likely to have access to technology than men, said the commission, and there remains a "measurable gap" even in the developed countries.

The commission endorsed the recommendation, asked the working group members track gender initiatives and report back at the next commission meeting in September in New York, where the commission will also be releasing its second State of Broadband report featuring a country-by-country ranking based on access and affordability.

ITU and UNESCO established the commission after UN Secretry General Ban Ki-Moon in 2010 called for stepped-up efforts to advance broadband deployment

Among the 30 commission members are FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Google's Vin Cerf and ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure.