From 25 to 27 September in Dakar, Senegal, UNESCO is organizing a regional conference for Francophone Africa on gender mainstreaming in ICT policies and programmes. This conference is undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Communications, Telecommunications, Posts, and the Digital Economy of Senegal, UNWOMEN, the ECOWAS gender and development Centre, the World Wide Web Foundation, the Alliance for Affordable Internet, the African Development Bank, and Facebook.
The regional conference is organized with the substantial contribution of the intergovernmental Information for All Programme of UNESCO whose mission is to provide innovative responses to the challenges and opportunities of information and knowledge societies. It will bring together decision-makers from 20 Francophone African countries from the relevant Ministries concerning ICTs, Telecoms, Women, Science and Technology, the private sector, as well as ICT industry regulatory agencies and civil society actors promoting innovation and digital entrepreneurship with a focus on women.
The event will serve as a platform to share best practices on gender-responsive ICT policies and build alliances to accelerate gender mainstreaming in ICT policy in Francophone Africa. It will also serve as an opportunity for peer networking among Governments in Francophone Africa and, in particular, Ministries and Agencies tasked with developing policies and programmes that harness the power of access to information to achieve the SDG’s, specifically as it concerns gender equality.
The Chair of IFAP, Ms Chafica Haddad expressed her full satisfaction with the themes of the Conference and highlighted that it is actually reflecting in a comprehensive and thought-provoking manner the efforts to implement 3 of the six priorities of IFAP – namely Information for Development, Information Accessibility and Information Literacy, together with the two main priorities of UNESCO – Africa and Gender. We look forward to a successful outcome of this very important regional initiative, said Ms Haddad.
During the three days of the conference, participants will explore the role of open data and open government in keeping citizens informed and engaging women in public policy, drawing from the Broadband Commission’s Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide’s report Recommendations for action: bridging the gender gap in Internet and Broadband Access and Use (March 2017). The conference will also explore gender responsive ICT policy, digital equality and inclusion in the context of the sustainable development goals, as well as the use of ICTs in the fight against radicalization and violent extremism.
Dr Boyan Radoykov form the Knowledge Societies Division of UNESCO underscored the importance of linking effectively the digital empowerment of young girls and women to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development in support of the global effort to prevent radicalization leading to violence. Events such as the Dakar Conference are demonstrating once more the full potential of UNESCO to have a leading role in this important area, he added.
On the 28th September, in the framework of the celebrations of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, a hackathon will occur, mobilizing young women mobile app developers to engage with policymakers from Francophone West Africa in order to propose and develop mobile app solutions promoting gender equality across the SDG’s.
The Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.