Flagship UN gender event concludes with ‘blueprint’ for greater role for women in technology


The priority theme of this year’s CSW, an annual two-week event that has been promoting women’s rights since 1946, was the ongoing discrimination, abuse and misogyny women face in the virtual world.

The aim was to make progress in leveling the digital playing field and address persistent issues affecting women and girls, including limited access to technology, disproportionate online violence and under-representation and gender bias in the tech industries.

The Commission’s final document, officially the “agreed conclusions” of the 45 Member States, recognized the crucial role of technology and innovation in achieving gender equality.

A UN Women statement on Saturday described the document as a “blueprint for all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society and youth to promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in design, transformation and integration of digital technologies and innovation processes that meet the human rights and needs of women and girls.”

©UNICEF/Mary Gelman

A ‘vision for a more equal and connected world’

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, said at the end of the negotiations: “This year’s agreed conclusions are groundbreaking and advance our vision of a more equal and connected world for women and girls in all their diversity. It is our job, as we leave here today, is to turn them into reality. The ultimate success of these agreed-upon conclusions lies beyond finalizing them today, in how we will move them forward collectively. Let’s turn them into reality for all women and girls.”

In addition to reaffirming the importance of full participation and leadership of women and girls in science, technology and innovation, concerns were also raised about limited progress in closing the gender gap in access to technologies, connectivity, digital literacy and education. The agreed conclusions also condemn the interrelationship between offline and online violence, harassment and discrimination against women and girls.

The Commission called for significantly increased investment in the public and private sectors to bridge the digital gender gap, more inclusive innovation ecosystems and the promotion of safe and gender-sensitive technology and innovation. It also underlined the need for inclusive and equitable quality education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, information and communication technology and digital literacy to ensure that all women and girls can thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Young people at the center of discussions

For the first time, CSW included an interactive youth session with young people, youth representatives from delegations, civil society and United Nations organizations, who engaged in dialogue and made recommendations on how to ensure that young women and girls are part of the digital transformation.

Significant contributions were made by a wide range of civil society organisations, including members of the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality, launched as part of the Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-focused group convened by UN Women.

The Action Coalition has been instrumental in strengthening alliances between governments, the private sector, civil society and the UN system, and in driving momentum and commitment to advance gender equality through technology and innovation.

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