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Doubling Digital Opportunities - enhancing the inclusion of women & girls in the Information Society

A report from the Working Group on Broadband and Gender.

This Report studies the role that ICTs and the Internet can play in advancing gender equality agendas, including equal access to new technologies by women and girls. It examines the central question of how access to the Internet and ICTs can help redress some of the inequalities women and girls face in their everyday lives, and whether inequalities in access to the Internet, and the types of content available online, are in fact reinforcing social attitudes towards women. It explores measures of inequality in access to ICTs, the importance of ICTs in educating and shaping the aspirations and hopes of the next generation of women and girls, and the implications of lack of access to ICTs by girls and women. By summarizing the current situation with regards to differential access to the Internet this report sketches some of the potential implications of gender gaps in access to the Internet, based on the inputs and viewpoints of the Working Group on Broadband and Gender.

​Expanding access to, and proper use of, ICTs will solve this challenge, while at the same time increasing the efficiency of school systems, improving teacher training and resources, and extending learning opportunities beyond the classroom and to disadvantaged groups. Governments – in developing countries in particular – need to explore ways to bridge the digital divide and implement policies that encourage increased investment in ICT in education. 

Conclusions and policy recommendations from the Report

  • ​​​Integrate Gender and National ICT and Broadband Policies​.
  • Improve Sex-Disaggregated ICT Statistics and Measurement.

  • Take Steps to Boost the Affordability and Usability of ICT Products and Services.

  • Improve Relevant and Local Content Online.

  • Initiate an Action Plan to achieve gender equality in access to broadband by 2020.​


WG-BG comprises the following members, including 20 Commissioners and 21 external members:


  Commissioner Organization
1Hamadoun TouréITU
2Reza JafariE-Development Intl
3Jasna MatiçSerbia
4Hessa Al-JaberictQATAR
5Saad Bin Dhafer AL-QAHTANISTC
6Amir DossalGlobal Partnerships Forum
7Suvi LindénFinland
8Kathy CalvinUN Foundation
9Michel CombesAlcatel-Lucent
10Irina BokovaUNESCO
11Supachai PanitchpakdiUNCTAD
12Julius Genachowski The Carlyle Group
13José Manuel Do Rosario ToscanoITSO
14Paul JacobsQualcomm
15Paul MitchellMicrosoft
16John ChambersCISCO
17Kim Seang-taeNational Information Society Agency, Korea
18Jeffrey SachsEarth Institute at Columbia University
19Hans VestbergEricsson
20Speranza NdegeKenyatta University
21Anne BouverotGSMA
22Phumzile Mlambo-NgcukaUN Women
 Invited members – External Experts 
1  Akhtar BadshahMicrosoft
2  Margaret ChanWHO
3  Ann Mei ChangUS State Department
4  Kate CornickUniversity of Melbourne
5  Geena DavisGeena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
6  Chat Garcia-RamiloAssociation for Progressive Communications
7  Ann GloverChief Scientific Advisor, European Commission
8  Nancy HafkinWomen in Global Science and Technology
9  Omobola JohnsonFederal Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria
10  Sonia JorgeAlliance for Affordable Internet
11  Jeni KlugmanThe World Bank
12  Cheryl D. MillerZen Digital
13  Amina J. MohammedUnited Nations
14  Monique MorrowCisco
15  Antonella
16  Miguel Foundation
17  Juliana RotichUshahidi
18  Zainab SalbiWomen 4 Women Intl.
19  Deborah Taylor TateTech Needs Girls
20  Renee WittemyerINTEL
21  Anita GurumurthyIT for Change


  • ​Promote digital inclusion for women
  • Empower women through digital literacy training and skills building

  • Promote the development of gender sensitive applications (monitor violence against women, etc.) in partnership with the private sector and civil society

  • Foster public service delivery which takes into account the specific needs of women and their surroundings

  • Make technology training and jobs more attractive to young girls and women

  • Promote digital entrepreneurship among women to foster social innovation

  • Foster the protection of girls and women when they go online

  • Contribute to the post-2015 development agenda

  1. The group was set up at the Broadband Commission sixth meeting on 23 September 2012 in New York. 
  2. Ms Geena Davis, actor, advocate and ITU Special Envoy for Women and Girls, challenged the Commission to address the issues related to women and ICTs. The Commission launched the Working Group focused on the subject and requested Ms Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP, to be its Chair. 
  3. The group has held 1st meeting via teleconference on 29 January 2013, when Terms of Reference for the Working Group were endorsed.
  4. Working Group met at first physical meeting in 16 March 2013, alongside the meeting of the Commission in Mexico City on 16 March 2013.
  5. Second physical meeting was held in New York, USA on 20 September 2013 in UN WOMEN HQ.​​
Press Releases 
  • ​​Press release: UN Broadband Commission releases first global report on 'broadband and gender':200 million fewer women online​
  • Press release: UN Broadband Commission sets new gender target.
  • ​​​​​Press release:​​ITU to partner with Smart Women gender empowerment and education platform.​​​