Broadband Commission members take part in Mobile Learning Week Policy Forum

Paris, February 26 – Members of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital development joined government and private sector representatives, experts, and activists at UNESCO Headquarters today to discuss ways of accelerating progress towards gender equality in education using mobile technology.

They were taking part in a Policy Forum, part of the Mobile Learning Week, organized by UNESCO and UN Women under the theme “Leveraging technology for empowering women and girls”. The Forum was opened by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and International Telecommunications Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhou, who serve as the Vice-Chairs of Broadband Commission.

The Director-General stressed that “the stakes high, perhaps higher than they ever have been, but we have some of the most powerful tools ever invented to work with, and this is a source of hope.

“To succeed, we must combine the power of technology with political will. Policy without technology is week. Technology without policy is blind.”

Mr. Zhao, on his first ever visit to UNESCO, acknowledged that “a great deal has been accomplished in terms of gender issues […] But there is still a huge amount to be done at the secondary and especially tertiary levels, and we are still very much at risk of seeing the divide in science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – grow even wider than it already is.”

The Broadband Commission, chaired by the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Carlos Slim Helu, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, will continue its meeting at UNESCO Headquarters on Friday 27.  Discussions will focus on how broadband can contribute to building inclusive knowledge societies, and broadband in the post-2015 development agenda.