UNDP and Jazz commit to accelerate digital inclusion amongst women

Posted June 8, 2022

 

Islamabad, 08 June 2022—Reiterating their commitment to accelerate digital inclusion in the country, UNDP Pakistan and Jazz organized a ‘Girls in ICT’ event highlighting the importance of digital skills for women and promoting Digital Gender Inclusion through enhanced access to ICTs (Information and Communications Technology).

According to the GSM Association (GSMA) there exists a significant digital gender gap in Pakistan where approximately 38% of women are less likely than men to own a smartphone, and 49% do not use mobile internet.[1] Furthermore, there are drastic differences in levels of ICT access between different population groups, particularly the rural and marginalised women and girls.

Considering this prevailing scenario, the event included a panel discussion on ‘How to enhance Digital Literacy amongst school-going girls?’ with chief guest SAPM on Youth Affairs, Shaza Fatima Khawaja; Additional Secretary of Ministry of IT & Telecommunications, Ayesha Moriani; Director Communications and Sustainability at Jazz, Fatima Akhtar; and Founder of AGAHI and Lecturer at NUST, Puruesh Chaudhary. Ideas were exchanged on multi-level solutions to ensure safe and meaningful access to digital technology and ICTs for girls.

Speaking at the event, SAPM on Youth Affairs reiterated the commitment of the incumbent government to quality education, investment in health, and financial inclusion for women and girls. SAPM said that the Prime Minister's Youth Program is ensuring gender parity for maximum engagement of young girls through hi-tech skills trainings, business loans, and gender quotas in the laptop scheme.

"Access, affordability, and lack of literacy remain core impediments for women’s inclusion in ICT. To further our vision for an inclusive and digital Pakistan, there is an immediate need to facilitate participation of women in technology through public and private cooperation," said Shaza Fatima Khawaja, SAPM Youth Affairs.

“The Girls in ICT agenda is an area that UNDP Pakistan sees as a key opportunity for youth and women’s economic empowerment. We are keen to continue our support in this area as we move forward in developing a digital space that holds many untapped opportunities for women's economic empowerment in Pakistan, and in the region,” said Amir Goraya, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan.

 

 

 

Speaking at the event, Jazz CEO, Aamir Ibrahim, said, “Considering the importance of women to lead Pakistan into the future, Jazz has programs in place to enhance digital literacy among girls, maximising women-led enterprises in the startup ecosystem, promoting diversity & inclusion within our workplace besides enabling women to access health, financial, and other life-enhancing services through mobile broadband. It is heartening to see government representatives championing women inclusion in ICT because their support is absolutely necessary to achieve our objectives.” 

Numerous students at the event participated in a group activity to brainstorm ideas on promoting inclusion of girls and women in the ICT space. These ideas were then presented to the audience and panel. Aziza Soleh, Founder of the startup MountainShop, a part of Jazz and UNDP’s recently concluded SDG Bootcamp, took to the stage to share her entrepreneurial journey as well.   

UNDP Pakistan’s Youth Empowerment Programme has been working towards the economic empowerment of Pakistani youth with a particular focus on women and minorities. Some of the initiatives relevant to promoting women in ICT include digiskills training with over 2,000 young girls from KP; supporting the world’s largest annual start-up competition for women and technology, She-Loves-Tech, which has supported over 130 women-led tech startups over the past three years; and supporting Sehat Kahani in training 500 women doctors and 500 nurses and healthcare staff in digital health service delivery.

Jazz is playing a critical role in addressing many of the wider gender inequalities by digitally enabling women to access health, financial, and other life-enhancing services. As part of the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, Jazz has committed to increase the proportion of women by 8 percent in its mobile internet customer base by 2023. Its digital financial service, JazzCash has already met its GSMA Connected Women target two years ahead of time with 22 percent women subscribed to JazzCash wallets. GSMA in its ‘Making internet-enabled phones more affordable in low and middle-income countries’ 2022 Report has also recognized Jazz’s Digit 4G smart feature phone as a successful rollout to address the digital gender gap.   

 

For additional information, please contact

Ayesha Babar at ayesha.babar@undp.org  or +92 (51) 835 5650

Khayyam Siddiqi at khayyam.siddiqi@jazz.com.pk

 

About UNDP:

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow at @UNDP

About Jazz:

Jazz is Pakistan's number one 4G operator and a leading digital service provider with over 74.8 million subscribers, including 36.5 million 4G users. By providing the most extensive portfolio of digital value-added services, Jazz continues to be the country's undisputed telecom leader. www.jazz.com.pk

 


[1] Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/GSMA_Women_and_Mobile-A_Global_Opportunity.pdf