A global initiative created by the United Nations ITU and UN Women launched a new program today aimed at increasing the number of women and girls involved in technology by 2030.
The program, entitled EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, aims to bridge the gender gap globally to create equality for women and girls in the tech by providing equal access to technology, offering more opportunities to develop and hone their skills and promoting women to become leaders and entrepreneurs. The ITU is a United Nations agency for information and communication technologies while UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment.
These programs in information and communication technologies will work to accelerate efforts to minimize the digital divide such as providing greater internet access and the ability to own mobile phones.
Bridging the gap will be challenging, as ITU estimates there still are 250 million fewer women online than men and the global Internet user gender gap grew from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016. The world's least developed countries face the most issues since their gap is at 31%.
The data also demonstrates that in every part of the world, men have greater access to technology. There are still over 1.7 billion women who live in low income and middle-income countries and are not able to own a mobile phone, according to the GSMA, a mobile operators trade group.
The two agencies are encouraging collaboration from private companies, governments and community members to contribute and help empower women and girls.