International Telecommunication Union


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Addressing the Gender-related Digital Divide

Digital has an increasing importance in our daily life. It creates knowledge, job opportunities, entertainment and fulfilment. As a consequence, it becomes absolutely necessary for each individual to possess a satisfying internet access, physically and intellectually, to benefit from all services offered by the virtual world. Being forbidden to access it prevent many people to discover a great amount of opportunities and knowledge, condemned to remain unaware of a bigger part of our humanity. Besides the financial and technical issues that can be faced, human beings are too many times openly discriminated because of their gender.

This phenomenon is not exclusively reserved to developing countries. Our nation, France, is proudly considered as the Human Rights homeland, although we also do suffer from a gender-related divide at a specific scale. Our Institutes of Technology, innovative startups and Universities of Sciences suffer from a scarcity of girls. And when French women graduate and become engineers, they are assigned less responsibilities and are more likely to remain unemployed.  Furthermore, their salary is dramatically lower than their male colleagues, with a difference between them of 2000 to 17000€ per year. We are responsible for it. We have created such an education and such a media coverage that have progressively built stereotypes and codes that girls and boys have been submitted to adopt unwittingly throughout their life. Our girls deprive themselves from a career field that badly need them. Because if we do not change it, this is what our system might create in the future: technological devices, mostly built through artificial intelligence and deep learning, becoming deeply exclusively gendered. We are today creating a technology that is massively using masculine codes and perceptions, consequently with a predisposition to discriminate the opposite gender.