On a world scale, around 250 million fewer women than men have access to the Internet – despite the fact that the Internet is an important prerequisite for participating in society and the economy. The so-called digital gender divide shows that women are also disadvantaged in this respect, since they are hardly able to benefit from the economic and political opportunities offered by digital transformation.
The Innovation Factory project of International Cooperation with Regions for Sustainable Development (IZR), located in Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is helping to enable girls and women to achieve equal participation in digital development and reduce the digital gender divide in the ICT4women field of activity in the context of the #eSkills4girls initiative, run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The focus is above all on women and girls in rural areas.
In addition, the project promotes the development and implementation of digital innovations in the five partner countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico and Senegal. Approaches it pursues include:
Digital Storytelling: Here, the idea is to strengthen women as independent actors in digital spaces. They are to be provided with beneficial digital aids that are to give women voice and enable networking so that they can achieve their goals and develop their potential as members of society.
Female Role Models: Supporting, promoting and linking up female role models who use digital tools e.g. in agriculture or contribute to digital development in other ways is a further approach aimed at reducing the digital gender divide.
Female Entrepreneurship: This approach supports and promotes women digital entrepreneurs and women in executive positions in the tech area. Here, new strategies are to be developed, and the issue of how existing networks in the global start-up scene, incubators, accelerators, co-working and maker spaces can provide even more support for synergies to support women in the local tech-start-up scene is to be discussed. The Female Entrepreneurs also include women entrepreneurs in agriculture, so-called agripreneurs.
Doris Thurau, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Gmbh, Landesbürodirektion Süd und Auftragsverantwortliche der Innovationswerkstatt, Eschborn, Germany
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