21.09.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

UNESCO and Partners Organize a Regional Conference for Francophone Africa on Gender Mainstreaming in ICT Policies and Programmes


From 25-27 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 conference was also organized with the substantial contribution of the intergovernmental programme of UNESCO “Information for All Programme,” whose mission is to provide innovative responses to the challenges and opportunities of information and knowledge societies.

This regional conference, which 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, 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.

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, ICTs in the fight against radicalization and violent extremism, digital rights principles, the role of open data in ensuring gender equality, mainstreaming gender equality in ICT education policies and programmes, ICT-based approaches to advance girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and fast-tracking digital and financial inclusion for the economic empowerment of women. Lastly, the conference will also discuss the role of governments in the digital era.

On the 28th of September, in the framework of celebrations of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, and building on the active JiggenCITIC community in Senegal (former recipient of the Gender Mainstreaming in Technology award jointly delivered by UNWOMEN and the ITU) and UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative, a hackathon will occur, mobilizing young women mobile app developers to engage with policymakers from Francophone West Africa to propose and develop mobile app solutions in order to promote gender equality across the SDG’s.

A platform for dialogue, based on the regional experience of #i4policy will also occur in order to encourage discussions between civil society and policymakers concerning how to ensure the development of enabling public policies for digital innovation and entrepreneurship, specifically encouraging engagement from youth and women.

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