International Telecommunication Union


Milena Jessen

Cite as



Topic A: Tackling the gender-related digital divide

Nowadays, as information and communication technologies (ICT) become vital in our everyday life, the digital gender issue divides our societies. In total, the Global gender gap increased between 2013 and 2017, so our goal must be the digital inclusion, no matter which gender one has.

Before owning a mobile can lead to Internet penetration and empowering, there must be tackled the issue of connectivity, especially in rural areas: In Argentina, the percentage of Internet users is with around 70% among the highest in Latin America and the digital gender gap is small, but 15 million Argentines live in rural areas that do not have the resources to invest in connectivity, which also has an impact on local schools that cannot provide Internet connection. Therefore, information literacy, which is the ability to access and evaluate information, is not acquired within education. Still facing economic difficulties, the few telecommunication companies dominating the market can barely invest there. Also, due to the challenging economic situation, child labour prevents around 19% of the children from regularly attending school.

Since Argentinian women are less often employed than men, they also have less means for buying ICTs as cost is a main factor of owning such devices. Also, there has been a recent price increase for Internet usage that excludes the citizens with lower wages from being part of the digital sphere. To ensure that everyone can take part in the digital sphere, telecentres should be built up, for example in libraries, and rural areas should become connected.

Regarding education, it is necessary to address the gap by encouraging women to pursue a career in tech. Already at a young age, digital education (e.g. coding classes) should take place and programs should be offered that explain different working fields, regardless of gender. Also, it should be the duty of parents to not limit their child within the gender perspective, as even toys can have an impact on later life (e.g. spatial abilities). Life-long learning should be encouraged. In Argentina, there are programs such as “111 thousand” that offer a year of free coding education to eliminate the idea that tech careers are for men-only. Such programs should spread, for example through developing apps within such frameworks that help other women to get into software development. As most software is done by men, it is vital to assess the content women use now, would like to use in the future and finally include them in providing content themselves.

Since content is mainly created by men, there is a missing participation in modern societies of women and a systematic exclusion from relevant topics and progress. Through the lack of awareness of possible informal education online, women miss opportunities. Companies should offer flexible working conditions and continuing education, so that women are (a) included in relevant change and (b) have equal opportunities compared to men.

Concerning university education, it is essential to speak English as it is the most common publishing language. Around 58% of the Argentinian women speak English, more than men, which should be encouraged through offering language classes. Also, peer-to-peer learning strategies should be supported, such as language tandems.

After graduating, it is vital for women to enter a job market they like to work in: Especially for STEM jobs in Argentina, women feel excluded. This issue could be tackled by hosting events to raise the awareness of women working successfully in such fields, transmitting the idea of a community. The Argent...

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