I’ve been putting off writing my final remarks on being a Delegate for UN Women, that’s because there are a few things left for me to do.
Firstly, I have to complete a ‘Contribution Form’, which is something I will be doing this weekend – I have to review my notes, re-watch recordings and actually formulate what I am going to write – I’m not entirely sure what it entails yet as you complete each section independently, completing one to move onto the next. Which I will admit, doesn’t help my Neurodiverse brain as it’s difficult to plan without seeing the sections!
Secondly, I was approached by a fellow UN Women’s Delegate online to take part in writing an article for the British Computer Society’s (BCS) IT NOW publication, as I am a Professional Member of BCS – I also was asked to take part in something else, but that’s not UN Women related and a topic of conversation for another post.
But, thirdly, and the focus that I am going to spend energy on instead, is the in-person event, which this morning was when I found out my application to attend had been accepted!
Considering there were 2500 delegates, 1000 of them applied to the in-person event but only 650 spaces to take part (this includes in-person and virtually, so I believe there’s even less spaces to get an in-person space in London!), I’m really glad I was able to make the cut – I’m off to London!
As I have mentioned in my blog post ‘UN Womens’ Delegate – Week 1′ (see more links at the bottom of this post), the main priority theme is:
“Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
This event in London is about ‘taking action for gender equality in digital spaces, innovation, education and technology’. One Goal: Build solutions to bridge the digital gender divide. The information pack that I received gave the following stats:
- 89% of tech CEOs are men;
- nearly 200 million women worldwide don’t own mobile phones, and boys are 1.8 times more likely to own a smartphone than girls;
- almost 40% of women worldwide have experienced online violence, and 80% have witnessed it;
- only 0.5% of girls want to become tech professionals;
- excluding women from the digital world has lost $1 trillion from global GDP over the past decade – and the digital gender gap is increasing. The economic impact will rise to $1.5 trillion lost by 2025 without action now.
The event has five focus areas. Of which, I had to pick only one to contribute to. These five focus areas are:
1. Plugging into the grid
How putting technology in the hands of the world’s most marginalised women can give them connectivity into society that enables them to survive and thrive. Providing access to technology for older women, disabled women, and the world’s poorest.
2. Innovators of the future
From the toys children are given to the videogames they play, young people’s lives are shaped through digital tools from their earliest years, including their engagement with STEM. A look at the dark side of stereotyping, and the way sin which technology can be designed to create a more equal future for the next generations
3. Who learns from who?
With the rise of AI and smart tech, we are teaching algorithms based on human databases that are full of biases. How can we ensure that the decision-markers, the designers, and the data they draw from are representative to avoid magnifying existing problems?
4. Under attack in virtual worlds
We are going to spend increasing amount of time immersing ourselves in virtual spaces. Yet digital spaces are unsafe for women in may ways – not only replicating violence offline, but creating new opportunities for abuse from cyberflashing to deep fake pornography. From social media to the metaverse, we’ll be looking at how we can build safe, inclusive spaces before it’s too late
5. Serving women or surveilling women?
As we store more and more of our lives online, and institutions are able to access our data to serve us with increasingly personalised and relevant offers, how do we protect privacy for those who are most vulnerable to exploitation – both by the private second, and by the state?
If you haven’t already guessed by now, by the title of this post, I have picked the last one; Serving women or surveilling women. Although, I will admit all of them are interesting, especially the 4th one; Under attack in virtual worlds, as I have been a victim of online abuse, and the 3rd Who learns from who? is extremely interesting to me but is a new-found interest, so I felt I wouldn’t have been able to contribute much to the conversation.
Check back soon for Part 2!
Feel free to check out my previous posts: