Women are underrepresented worldwide in the use and production of digital media, including the production of digital content, the development of infrastructure and technology, and the consumption of digital services. As a result of this ‘digital gender gap’, women suffer even greater economic and political disadvantage because they are largely unable to take advantage of the opportunities that digital transformation offers.
This imbalance is particularly evident in poorer developing countries because of a complex combination of social, cultural and economic barriers. According to the study ’Women’s Pathways to the Digital Sector: Stories of Opportunities and Challenges’, commissioned by BMZ, one of the general causes of the digital gender gap is the lack of gender-appropriate content, digital technology skills (e-skills) and purchasing power for technical equipment and services and unequal access for men and women to education and the labour market .
Properly identified, implemented and disseminated digital applications and content have the potential to create gender equality and empower women. They can lay the foundation for financial independence and a career but can also be tools for civic education and for social transformation processes.
An objective of the ‘Gender equality’ field of the Innovation Factory programme will be to remedy this gender-related imbalance at different levels of the digital society through new or deepened forms of intervention in partner countries. The aim will be to empower women as independent actors in digital spaces, provide them with the appropriate digital tools that give them a voice, connect them with each other and enable them to realise their goals and their potential from within their respective local context and to develop and realise their potential as members of society.
Fields of innovation include, but are not limited to,
- Female digital storytelling
Facilitating the productive use of digital tools and supporting the practice of data journalism and information design
- Female role models
Supporting networking by female stakeholders and seeking to reduce negative stereotypes
- Female digital entrepreneurs
Strengthening women in leading positions and developing services for female user groups
The Innovation Factory supports its cooperating partners in identifying digital innovations/ICT solutions that are designed to reduce the digital gender gap by enabling equal participation by girls and women in digital development and the deep-seated social transformation processes it triggers. The BMZ initiative #eSkills4Girls provides the framework for the supported activities.