EU Statement – UN Commission on the Status of Women: Interactive panel on Innovation and technological change
I am taking the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
Innovation, technological changes, and the digital transition carry some of the most significant opportunities of our time. However, with great opportunities comes great risks. We have to make sure that innovation, technological changes, and digitalization become tools to advance the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, not obstruct it.
Therefore, we must better understand the challenges and barriers women and girls face regarding technology, innovation and digitalization. The EU stresses the importance of promoting gender mainstreaming and inclusivity in all policies, notably those covering the digital sphere.
As we mark the European Year of Skills, the EU is committed to ensure that women and girls are at the forefront of the digital transition. All women and girls must have access to human-centric technologies and acquire digital skills, including to inclusive and equitable quality education as well as vocational training related to STEM fields. We need to enhance women and girls’ access to digital skills and literacy and exert more efforts for digital education solutions that are gender-responsive. This will allow them to thrive in an increasingly connected society, accelerate women and youth’s full, equal and meaningful participation, in all their diversity, in all spheres and levels of public and political life, access to employment opportunities enhancing their empowerment.
Within the EU we have set ambitious targets of ensuring that at least 80% of all adults have at least basic digital competences in 2030, and more than doubling the number of employed ICT specialists by 2030 to 20M, with gender balance.
The EU continues to fund partnerships globally, for instance “Digital2Equal” with the International Finance Corporation. This is a peer learning initiative for platform companies (such as Facebook, Google, Uber, Jumia) to increase the level and quality of women’s engagement in the digital economy. This helps companies develop gender-responsive recruitment policies. The Digital2Equal initiative has also produced first in kind data on women in e-commerce and women in e-learning.
The EU is committed to ending the gender digital divide and creating a digital environment free of sexual and gender-based violence, harassment, inequalities and discriminatory social norms and stereotypes. Digital technologies must support the pursuit of peace and security in line with the Youth, Peace and Security agenda and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The EU calls for concrete action, and we are ready to do our part as per the EU's digital strategy.
The EU reiterates that the digital transition cannot occur without putting women and girls in the front seat. We are ready to step up action, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, for an equitable and inclusive digital evolution.
I thank you.