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Rise of the next digital divide: Women and the web

New global report sheds light on lack of internet access, use by women

Stakeholders in the development community should support the establishment and growth of internet organizations that prioritize gender-focused initiatives. Examples include WOUGNET (The Women Of Uganda Network) at the country level, ArabDev at the regional level, and APC (the Association for Progressive Communication) at the global level.

Policy makers should develop comprehensive national plans for increasing broadband penetration that address gender-specific barriers, and they should address market constraints that impact affordability of internet platforms, such as ensuring healthy competition, while also supporting women directly through programs such as targeted subsidies.

According to the report, all stakeholders should collaborate to address factors hindering access for individual women and girls, as well as address factors affecting the internet ecosystem.

“As the world advances, our approach to combating poverty, discrimination, and development must evolve with it,” said Verveer. “We have repeatedly seen that investing in women’s progress is the most direct and effective way to invest in progress economically and socially around the world. My hope is that this report will catalyze action to close the internet gender gap.”

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