The Future of Empowering Women in the Era of Digital Transformation

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

March 28, 2022

As prepared for delivery

Your Excellency Dr. Amr Talaat (Minister of Communications and Information Technology)

Dear partners and colleagues,

  • It is a great pleasure to be here with all of you today.
  • Digital technology is a fundamental force for change in this century. It is reshaping economies, governments and impacting every aspect of development.
  • Some 90% of new jobs worldwide require digital skills.
  • But 49% of the world still lacks internet access, mostly in developing countries, and mostly women.
  • We must do more and better to get these game-changing technologies into the hands of those who have been left farthest behind. We must bridge the gap- the digital gender gap.
  • Globally, women make up only 29% of the STEM workforce.
  • Girls in rural areas often face gender-based restrictions on their use of information and communication technologies. And even when they do have access to the internet, women and girls often face online violence and harassment.
  • We need a safe and inclusive internet, one that does not silence women’s voices and jeopardize their safety.
  • We need digital tools to boost women’s participation and leadership in the digital space so that they can become leaders and active agents of change.
  • Digital technologies can enhance women’s access to finance, with mobile banking enabling them to avoid long journeys. Technology enabled health care can improve health outcomes.
  • E-commerce and technology-based businesses offer women more flexibility, helping them to manage home responsibilities alongside paid work.
  • If women can tap the full power of digital technologies, vital new opportunities open – not just for women, but for entire communities and societies.
  • Gender equality is not just a basic human right. It is critical to development progress. Where women and girls can realize their rights and aspirations, growth is faster, and prosperity comes quicker.
  • This is why advancing gender equality is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals and Egypt’s Vision 2030. It is also at the heart of UNDP’s global digital strategy.
  • I am particularly proud that UNDP has partnered with Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on this important Qodwa tech project. Its main objective is to empower women entrepreneurs through information and communication technologies.
  • To date this project provided boosted the digital and entrepreneurial skills of over 3500 women owners of handicraft enterprises in remote areas of Egypt.I am very much looking forward to hearing their life-changing stories today. 
  • UNDP is also currently supporting and implementing several additional projects which are helping to enhance women’s digital skills.
  • We are partnering with the National Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development to enhance digital literacy for women government employees, and we are also invested in cloud computing for girls with Amazon AWS.   
  • But it is clear that we all need more programmes, more partnerships, more resources to ensure that the digital power is in the hands of women and girls – and that they are connected and empowered create the better, brighter and more sustainable futures that this world needs.
  • Thank you!