Multi-stakeholder global dialogue on emerging opportunities for women in digital age

UNIDO

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized a series of webinars and an on-site panel discussion within the framework of the third Eurasian Women’s Forum held on 13-15 October 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation.

Six thematic webinars focused on the following different aspects of women’s role in the modern economy: women in post-COVID-19 recovery; women-led SMEs and start-ups; women in the attainment of SDG-9; women in research, development and innovation; the gender digital divide; and women in modern creative industries.

The six webinars had around 500 participants from all around the world. The objective was to take stock of the existing best practices and seek innovative solutions and particular policy actions targeting the most acute challenges to the economic empowerment of women in the digital age.

One of the speakers, Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director for UN Coordination, Partnerships, Resources and Sustainability of UN Women, said, “We need to ensure that those who are designing technology are doing so through a gender-sensitive lens,” adding, “Governments and policymakers need to ask themselves whether any women were sitting at the table when the decisions were made or initiatives designed.”

The key takeaways from the webinars were brought to the on-site panel discussion at the third Eurasian Women’s Forum. Moderated by UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador, Veronika Peshkova, the panel included policymakers, business leaders and representatives of international organizations and academia.

Elena Avdeeva, Member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, said, “UNIDO and the Council of the Eurasian Women’s Forum have cooperated in many activities within the framework of the Joint Declaration signed in 2019.” She added, “New digital competencies are becoming an advantage on the labour market, and UNIDO with the Council worked together to establish a new education programme to develop the digital skills of women.”

The participants also agreed that in order to bridge persistent gaps, it is crucial to start by upgrading existing ecosystems and advancing the global discourse around the role of women and girls in the global economy. Therefore, showcasing successful role models, promoting mentoring and peer learning, as well as further utilizing international platforms for continuous thematic dialogue, remain key tools for overcoming biases and nourishing inclusivity.

Fatou Haidara, UNIDO Managing Director, said, “The new digital age, which was given an impetus by the current COVID-19 crisis, entails a range of opportunities for narrowing the existing inequalities. The greater integration of women and girls in the context of Industry 4.0 has an ever-growing potential to help transform economies and foster the sustainability and resilience of families and local communities.”

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