IGF 2019 WS #204
Digital skills for women and girls in the global south.

Organizer 1: Beatriz Irisarri, Lacnic
Organizer 2: Carolina Caeiro, LACNIC
Organizer 3: Paula Oteguy, LACNIC
Organizer 4: Kevon Swift, LACNIC

Speaker 1: Carolina Caeiro, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Namita Aavriti, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: María Alejandra Erramuspe, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Kevon Swift, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Beatriz Irisarri, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Paula Oteguy, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

The session aims at tackling key policy questions around digital capacity building and the gender divide, in particular, low-income women and girls’ access to digital skills:

What skills are the most needed to ensure that low-income women and girls are better equipped to participate in the digital economy and become digital citizens?
What conditions and policies are needed in developing countries to build digital skills with a gender perspective?
What concrete actions and time-bound targets can be addressed by governments, civil society, the private sector, and the academia to promote the development of digital skills for low-income women and girls in developing countries?
How may the private and public sector coordinate efforts to escalate successful capacity building initiatives?


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

Description: The session aims at discussing strategies towards scaling-up capacity building efforts to develop low- income women and girls’ digital skills. In particular, it will seek to promote coordination strategies among actors working towards shared goals.

The meeting will bring together specialists from the Global South that will contextualize around the gender digital divide and capacity building initiatives to kick off the discussion.
It will be moderated by Kevon Swift, from LACNIC, giving each speaker five minutes to present key information.

Helani Galpaya, Chief Executive Officer of LIRNEasia will open the meeting briefly sharing key data and indicators on the digital gender divide in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Namita Aavriti, Content Coordinator from APC, will comment on the organization’s advocacy efforts to bring research on gender and ICT closer to policy reforms.

Alejandra Erramuspe from Agencia de Gobierno Electrónico y Sociedad de la Información y del Conocimiento de Uruguay will review public sector initiatives to promote digital innovations and bridge the gender digital divide.

Erika Kraemer-Mbula from the University of Johannesburg will speak about technology and innovation in capacity building programmes in African countries.

Lastly, the Internet Addresses Registry for Latin America and Caribbean (LACNIC), represented by Development Project Coordinator Carolina Caeiro, will be sharing the latest outcomes of its capacity building initiative for Haitian women and girls: Ayitic Goes Global.

Following these interventions, the moderator will give participants time to ask the speaker's questions or share comments before moving forward to debate the proposed policy questions.

Expected Outcomes: The session expects to:
- Promote reflection among participants regarding capacity building initiatives and its usefulness to narrow the gender digital divide.
-Map out outstanding capacity building initiatives for women and girls and serve as a networking experience for actors involved.
- Identify lines of coordinated action towards shared targets between the public and private sector.
- Set up good practice recommendations for capacity building initiatives centered around women and girls and the development of digital skills.

The roundtable seeks to be highly participative, and the moderation will seek to encourage as much participation from the audience as from invited speakers. Participants will be asked to join speakers at the roundtable and encouraged to identify the sectors and stakeholder groups they represent. The remote moderator will invite remote participants to also introduce their background to share with the room.

The debate will be strongly guided by the proposed policy questions, the moderator will call on participants to provide their point of view and experiences to enrich the mapping and identification of both challenges to digital inclusion as well as key factors for success in capacity building initiatives.
Participants, in particular from the Global South, will be asked to identify and discuss among each other potential opportunities to coordinate efforts.

Workshop organizers and speakers will also be asked to promote the session with colleagues working on digital inclusion and gender to ensure the workshop has rich participation from stakeholders with relevant experiences and views to participate in the discussion.

Relevance to Theme: The session aims at focusing the discussion towards a deeper understanding of how capacity building strategies on key digital skills may reach a greater number of low-income women and girls in the Global South.

Unequal access to the Internet has long been a concern. In the last years, the discussion around the digital divide has been increasingly focusing on the intersection of digital and gender inequality, as low-income women and girls, in particular, face greater challenges towards meaningful internet access.

Digital inequality is very closely tied to structural inequalities that provoke social and economic exclusion. According to After Access’ report: Understanding the Gender Gap in the Global South, income and education are the primary determinants of gender inequality in access and use. This social and economic exclusion threatens to get deeper as a growing number of activities and sources of information are being developed online only.

Digital skills and competencies include not only technical abilities related to ICT use for personal and professional goals, it also encompasses cognitive and socioemotional aspects needed for working and living in a digital environment: the ability to search for information and be critical about what is retrieved; to communicate with other using a variety of digital tools and applications, are clear examples. In addition, key competencies continually evolved as technology develops.

Aiming at promoting the much needed digital inclusion, a growing number of public and private sector capacity building initiatives are being developed across the world with diverse and isolated results. The discussion has mostly been centered around tools to promote digital literacy, with less focus on key skill sets needed to ensure meaningful access and the potential for scaling up successful capacity building programmes.

Relevance to Internet Governance: As internet connectivity develops and the number of internet users grows, it has become evident that not all users are equally prepared to harness the full potential of internet access. Lack of digital skills prevents users from engaging with technology and access online resources to address everyday needs.

Research has highlighted that low-income women and girls not only tend to access the internet less in developing countries, they are also lagging behind men in terms of digital skills. Tackling the digital gender divide is a major policy challenge, it implies addressing discrimination in ICTs and empower women and girls to use the internet safely and meaningfully.
The session seeks to incorporate all stakeholder groups to the discussion in an effort to promote coordinated actions.

Online Participation

There will be an online moderator that will encourage as much as possible online participation, in particular from countries from the global south.
In addition, after the first round of interventions, the discussion section of the roundtable will open up with an invitation to online participants to comment on the opening interventions and pose questions to the speakers.

Proposed Additional Tools: During the opening remarks, participants will be invited to pose questions and comments using an online Q&A and Polling Platform; these will be reviewed and used as starters for incentivizing the debate.