The gender gap for online users has increased from 11 per cent in 2013 to 1 17 per cent in 2019 and 43 per cent in the least developed countries of the world.
This year, on the occasion of International Girls’ Day, being held on Monday, the United Nations has shown how the epidemic has accelerated the use of digital platforms, but also highlights the different realities of girls when it comes to online.
Below, you can read stories from across the United Nations, showing how five girls from five different countries are using technology for a better future.
In his message for the day, the UN secretary-general noted that these girls and others were “part of a digital generation.”
“Our responsibility is to join them in all their diversity, to enhance their capabilities and solutions as digital change-makers, and to address the barriers they face in the digital space,” he said.
The path to digital equality for girls is steep. In more than two-thirds of all countries, girls make up only 15 percent of science, technology, engineering and math graduates, abbreviated as STEM.
In middle- and high-income countries, only 14 percent of girls who excelled in science or math expected to work in science and engineering, compared to 26% of top-performing boys.
“In this case, the girls have equal potential and infinite potential, and when we empower them, everyone benefits,” he said. Guterres said.
He recalled this long before he began his political career as a teacher in Lisbon, Portugal, and “witnessed the power of education for the betterment of individuals and communities.”
“That experience has since guided my vision for gender equality in education,” he explained. “Investing to close the digital gender divide pays huge dividends for everyone.”
Bound by this, the United Nations is launching a new platform called the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation, where governments, civil society, the private sector and young leaders are coming together to support girls’ digital access, skills and creativity.
“The United Nations is committed to working with girls so that this generation, whatever they may be and whatever their circumstances may be, can meet their potential,” he said. Guterres assured.
Snapshots from around the world
To celebrate International Girl Child Day, the United Nations pays tribute to the girls who use their digital technology skills as the key to opening new doors. Here are some of their stories: