On International Women’s Day, UNESCO will discuss impact of AI on women’s work life, safety of women journalists and women’s access to information

On International Women’s Day 2022 (8 March), UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector is hosting a series of events addressing three fundamental issues affecting women’s rights: The impact of AI on women in the world of work and their career progression; the importance of ensuring gender-sensitive access to information laws and guarantees; and how to combat the continued threats to the safety of women journalists.
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How Artificial Intelligence is impacting the working lives of women?

Societies and economies need to prepare for the future of work by considering the influence of technology and its impact on gender equality. Globally, studies show that women in the labor force are paid less, hold fewer senior positions and participate less in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Does artificial intelligence have an impact on the low representation of women in these and other disciplines, and on the professional prospects of women in general? Are we effectively harnessing the power of AI to narrow gender equality gaps, or are we letting these gaps perpetuate, or even worse, widen? 

These are some questions raised in the report “The effects of Artificial Intelligence on the working lives of women”, an upcoming publication mapping the unique opportunities and challenges that AI presents for the working lives of women. The report, produced by UNESCO, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will be launched during a virtual panel discussion on 8 March, bringing together governments, technical communities, civil society, trade unions, the private sector and institutions.

How can newsrooms step up efforts to enhance the safety of women journalists?

Women journalists and media workers are increasingly targets of attacks because of their work and their gender. These attacks often happen online, and can include discrimination and violence such as harassment, trolling and sexist hate speech. However, this online violence can also turn into physical aggression, ranging from stalking to sexual violence and even murder. According to recent UNESCO research, 20% of survey respondents identifying as women said they had been attacked or abused offline in connection with online violence they had experienced.

While many women journalists continue to hold the line, it is especially important for newsrooms, media organizations, journalism schools and other institutions – as well as women journalists themselves – to adopt gender-responsive components in their overall safety strategies for women journalists. 

UNESCO, the Knight Center for Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) will host on 8 March the free, online and multilingual webinar ‘How to Report Safely - Resources for Women Journalists, Newsrooms and Allies’ which will provide journalists, safety trainers, and newsroom representatives with concrete recommendations and resources to promote the safety of women journalists.  The discussion will be simultaneously translated into English, Spanish and French. 

How can more women benefit from their right of access to information?

Access to information is critical for the exercise of civil, political, social, and economic rights and is instrumental in improving governance, transparency, and accountability. However, while 135 UN Member States have adopted ATI legal guarantees, there are still gaps to implement these guarantees to ensure the benefits reach all women. 

UNESCO, the Carter Centre, and the International Conference of Information Commissioners are organizing on 9 March, the webinar “Promoting Gender Equity in the Right of Access to Information” for Information Commissioners and civil society organizations to discuss international and national recommendations to develop and promote gender-sensitive access to information laws, policies, and implementation processes.