29.05.2017 - GENDER

Smart Africa Women’s Summit

The Director for Gender Equality, Saniye Gülser Corat, represented UNESCO at the first-ever high-level meeting "Smart Africa Women’s Summit” organized within the framework of “TransformAfrica Summit 2017” held in Kigali, Rwanda on 12 May 2017. The main goal was to draw the road map to ensure the inclusion of women and girls in the digital transformation of Africa.

The Summit, opened by the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, featured keynote speeches by the First Lady of Rwanda, the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia and the Executive Director of UN Women. The opening ceremony was followed by an interactive moderated debate bringing to the forefront the strategic interventions that are being pursued to empower women and girls in ICT by governments, private sector, international organizations and academia.

S. G. Corat presented UNESCO’s main initiatives promoting girls in ICTs, including the Global Partnership for Girls' and Women's Education that includes a strong component on ICTs; the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards; or the more recent TeachHer initiative that builds capacities of teachers, school administrations and education ministries on pedagogical approaches that encourage girls to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She also highlighted the main challenges that prevail in bridging the gender gap in the ICT sector, mainly the unconscious bias and stereotypes both girls and boys grow up with and the impact of unequal distribution of domestic responsibilities. “The unconscious bias and gender stereotypes keep us believing in myths. UNESCO works to create positive environments and role models to ensure that girls and women engage in and stay in STEM education and careers”, stated Ms. Corat.   

The day concluded with the endorsement of the Kigali Africa Smart Women and Girls Declaration, taken up by all participants.

Transform Africa Summit is the leading African forum bringing together global and regional leaders from government, business and international organizations. This annual event enables them to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa’s on-going digital revolution. For its third edition, the Summit focused on “Smart Cities: Fast Forward” and included the unveiling of an Africa Smart City Blueprint.

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