The UN highlights that reducing the digital divide empowers women

The UN highlights that reducing the digital divide empowers women

Panama.- Reducing the digital divide is key to increasing the proportion of women in the technology and innovation labor sectors, where they barely maintain representation, and in turn to creating jobs, UN Women highlighted this Wednesday.

“Bridging the digital divide is the first step in putting women and girls at the center of the new digital economies,” said UN Women Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, María Noel Vaeza.

Less than 50% of women are connected to the internet globally, UN Women recalled, and to reduce this digital divide it is also key to “boost the creation of jobs and leadership opportunities, increasing the proportion of women who work in technology and innovation, “added the senior official of the United Nations entity

Noel Vaeza participated this Wednesday in the virtual event “Digitization of Microfinance with a gender perspective, innovating to reach rural women”, organized by Microserfin, an entity of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, and UN Women.

The person responsible for the Empowerment of Women at the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Laura Fernández Lord, and the Marketing and Customer Experience Manager at Microserfin, Kira Gardellini, also participated in the virtual event.

The regional director of UN Women stressed that digitization is a “fundamental tool to promote development” in Latin America and the Caribbean, “particularly in the context of the crisis generated” by the covid-19 pandemic.

“We need to promote the incorporation of women in sectors that promote technological change, create jobs and reduce the environmental footprint,” he added.

The panelists added that the pandemic highlighted the need to minimize this digital divide, which is often suffered by the most vulnerable populations, among which women in rural areas predominate.

Fernández Lord specified that “half of women in low and middle income countries use mobile internet, with a gender gap of 20 percentage points.”

“While it is true that the gap has narrowed in recent years, in 2019, 1 billion women were not accessing mobile internet globally,” he added.

In Latin America, “69% of women use the mobile internet but still 70 million women still do not use it”, and the main obstacles are “lack of digital skills and insecurity, followed by cost.”

Specifically, “in developing countries, user spending can represent 34% of monthly income on average, while in developed countries, these costs are only 4%.”

Microserfin began in 2020 a digital transformation program to serve microentrepreneurs with innovative products and services, that includes rural women.

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