GAP III thematic area of engagement: Digitalisation 

This section presents the GAP III objectives and related indicators for GAP III thematic area: Addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities offered by the digital transformation.

Promoting women’s equal access to the untapped potential of digital technologies is central to the EU’s digital strategy and to sustainable growth.

Source: GSMA, Connected Women The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019; OECD, Bridging The Digital Gender Divide, 2018. GSMA, The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019.

Digital technologies and solutions can accelerate progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in areas such as education, employment and entrepreneurship and preventing and combating gender-based violence. They can help women cope with emergencies, as demonstrated in the COVID-19 pandemic, mitigating the social and economic consequence and building resilience. E-services, such as digital finance can create opportunities for women economic empowerment by improving their access to and usage of financial services.

The digital divide, i.e. the gap between those having access to digital technologies and connectivity and those who don’t, affects people’ abilities to participate and grasp the opportunities of the digital age. It varies hugely across geography regions and between women and men.82 Women located in rural or remote areas experience a triple (digital, gender and rural) discrimination, facing huge barriers in access and use of digital technologies, due to unaffordability, low digital literacy and social norms. Moreover, digitalisation also brings new risks and challenges for gender equality related, for instance, to possible gender biases through Artificial Intelligence or to an increase of gender-based violence.

The Gender Action Plan III promotes EU actions that contribute to:

  • promoting policy and regulatory reform in partner countries, ensuring that digital transformation aligns with the EU’s human-centric approach, bringing benefits to all, while protecting human rights, both online and offline, and ensuring a safe and secure cyber space, where data are protected in line with EU standards (e.g. GDPR)

  • improving access of girls and women to affordable, accessible, safe and secure digital connectivity, reaching out to the rural and remote areas

  • promoting digital literacy for girls in education, as well as digital skills for jobs and entrepreneurship while addressing the gender norms and stereotypes that steer women and girls away from technology

  • supporting women digital innovators and entrepreneurs across multiple industrial ecosystems to build an inclusive digital economy, for example via public-private partnerships such as the International Finance Corporation, with the aim of closing the digital gender gap in big tech companies

  • supporting the provision of public and private services through gender-responsive digital channels, technologies and services (e.g. e-government, digital financial services) that will enhance women and girls’ inclusion and participation in the society

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