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March 8: for a transformative and inclusive technology


Published in

La Provincia (Las Palmas), Diario de Navarra and El Día (Las Palmas).

María Cruz Díaz de Terán

Head of Philosophy del Derecho and coordinator of the Online Course of training in Equality.

The United Nations has chosen digital inclusion for gender equality as the theme for this March 8, in line with the priority topic of the LXVII session of the Commission on the Status of Women: "Innovation and technological change, and Education in the digital age to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls".

Access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is necessary for progress because, among other advantages, it facilitates access to entrance to fundamental aspects such as Education and quality healthcare that improve levels of wellbeing. Likewise, when properly used, they enable transparent and accurate information to be obtained, helping citizens to participate and make decisions that positively affect their environment. Therefore, access to them is necessary to prosper and avoid the digital divide.

According to the data of the report Digital Gender Gap, prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation (2022), 92% of the Spanish population between 16 and 74 years of age connects to the Internet at least once a week, with no differences between women and men. In relation to the gender gap in regular Internet use, Spain is in the group of countries without differences between men and women along with Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Hungary and Greece. Fifty-six percent of Spanish women have basic digital skills, only three percentage points below the percentage of men with the same skills. And, if we talk about advanced skills, the difference is two percentage points (40% in women compared to 42% of men). It is worth remembering that in 2020 the United Nations Economic and Social committee awarded the Navarre-based association Innovactoras with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), recognizing it as a women-led initiative that leverages ICTs to advance towards a sustainable development .

In addition, Spanish women rank second in the European Union in the percentage of women taking online courses. However, 26% of those enrolled in Engineering and Architecture at Spanish universities are women, compared to 74% of men. This figure contrasts with the total university population, where 57% are women. The problem with this happening in the technological field (where they account for 1.6%), is that, in the design of algorithms, programming and other fundamentals of the digital world, the voice of 50% of the population does not make decisions. This is replicated in entrepreneurship, where there are only 14% of female start-up founders in Spain. However, a positive part of this gap is that most female entrepreneurs consider that being a woman has been a positive factor in their entrepreneurship.

Bringing women into technology enables more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations by promote equality. Their lack of inclusion, on the other hand, comes at a huge cost. Advances in digital technology offer new possibilities for solving humanitarian and development challenges, and this requires pooling talent; therefore, the development of a digital and inclusive Education and transformative technology is a fundamental requirement for a sustainable future that embraces all perspectives.