Today at the 7th Congreso Latinoamericano de Telecomunicaciones in Argentina, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) joined the Rural Women’s Alliance.
Launched in December 2018, the initiative aims to empower rural women through information and communications technology — directly contributing to the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality — and ultimately close the digital gender gap in Latin America.
Globally, men are 24.8% more likely to have access to the internet than women. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 31 million women remain unconnected from mobile internet.
Closing this digital gender gap can lead to economic, political and social progress for women around the world. Recognising the critical role of women in rural areas to the development of regional economies, A4AI and the Women’s Rights Online (WRO) initiative at the Web Foundation work with local partners and national and regional policymakers to advocate for gender-responsive ICT policy and programs.
Digital inclusion cannot exist if rural women are excluded from digital development opportunities. Joining the alliance will enable A4AI to strengthen its collaborative work with key sector partners in Latin America in an effort to advance digital equality in the region.
Members of the Rural Women’s Alliance pledge to connect and empower the unconnected by:
- Promoting programmes that provide connectivity to rural, remote and underserved areas, including sustainable community network projects run by women
- Developing training to improve the digital skills of women and girls in rural areas and encourage women entrepreneurs in the ICT field
- Advocating for public policy that promotes the rights and empowerment of rural women
Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI, Head of Digital Inclusion at the Web Foundation, said:
“Our goal of universal, affordable broadband access will remain out of reach so long as women continue to lag behind men in access and use. The work of the Rural Women’s Alliance recognises the vital importance of closing the digital gender gap not only for the benefit of individuals, but for the benefit of the world. We’re proud to join forces with our fellow members to empower rural women across Latin America by promoting access to and meaningful use of essential technologies.”
Members of the alliance include the governments of Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay and the United States, as well as GSMA, Internet Society, the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) and Comisión Técnica Regional de las Telecom (COMTELCA).
The Development Bank of Latin America “Corporacion Andina de Fomento” (CAF), Facebook and Telefonica signed joining commitments today alongside A4AI.
For updates about our work, follow us on Twitter at @a4a_internet.