FAO hosts Digital Innovation Dialogue session 4: Digital Transformation and Gender Equality


2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the importance of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls (SDG 5). There is a need to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower women and also for the achievement of all SDG Goals.
The linkages between Gender and ICTs, and how FAO seeks to mainstream gender in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agriculture and rural development were explored in a recent publication. However, the role of digital transformation and gender equality deserves further discussion within the framework of sustainable development.
Digital Transformation and Gender Equality
In this light, the Digital Innovation Dialogue session 4: Digital Transformation and Gender Equality was held on the 30th of September 2019, in Austria Room at FAO HQ and with a possibility of online participation for further debate on this subject.
Digital Innovation Dialogue  was launched in early 2019 by the CIO to serve as a forum to enhance knowledge sharing and mutual learning between multidisciplinary innovation practitioners and FAO staff through open and informal discussions. The previous Digital Innovation Dialogue series have organized several workshops and invited partners like Alibaba Cloud, IBM’s The Weather Company and ESRI to share with the participants their innovations and technologies.
In his opening address to the digital transformation and gender equality edition, Mr. Samuel Varas, Director of CIO at FAO, re-emphasized the need to leverage information and communication technologies to empower women, particularly for those who are involved in the rural areas and agriculture sector.
Mr. Samuel Varas noted that the dialogue is organized as a joint effort with the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division (ESP). He also extended an invitation to other FAO Divisions to collaborate with CIO via the Digital Innovation Dialogue on different themes. 
Thereafter, Mr. Cezar Santos Alvarez, IT Digital Portfolio Escalation Consultant of CIO, the chair of the session, introduced the guest speaker, Ms. Elisa Leonel, the Head of Superintendence for Consumers Affairs at the National Telecommunication Agency in Brazil.
Ms. Elisa Leonel started by introducing waves of digitization and their impacts. Following that she presented data on ICTs gender gaps and how to address the issue of gender stereotypes. Ms. Elisa Leonel noted that gender gaps tend to be larger where income and education levels are lower.

Some of the participants during the Q&A session
In the end, various approaches were introduced, with focused on data, access and affordability, digital skills, relevant, safe and accessible content, human centered approach and multidisciplinary approaches. After her presentation, a Q&A session was opened to the participants where Ms. Elisa Leonel replied to questions from in-site and remote participants.
To conclude the session, Mr. Antonio Correa Do Prado, Director of ESP, provided an overview of what FAO is doing in the area of gender and ICTs. Mr. Antonio Correa Do Prado remarked “Our ambition is to be at the forefront of progress in the application of ICTs to equitable rural development, while also helping to bridge the gender and rural-urban divide in the information society”. 
Read about the previous dialogue here
Are you based in Rome? Do you want to be included in the future Digital Innovation Dialogue series? Write us at digital-innovation@fao.org

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