At UN, Pakistan calls for closing digital gender divide to attain women’s empowerment

At UN, Pakistan calls for closing digital gender divide to attain women's empowerment

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 15 (APP): Pakistan has called for bridging the digital gender divide in a bid to achieve gender equality, and ensure the right to education of women and girls everywhere, as the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) continued its debate on women-related issues.

“It is time to build resilient inclusive and peaceful societies where no one is left behind, not even our women with disabilities, so that the tragic but brave story of Malala Yousafzai is not repeated,” Nilofar Bakhtiar, chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, told an expert panel of the Commission’s 67th session.

The session, which runs from March 6 to 17, is focused on the theme “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

In her remarks, Bakhtiar, the Pakistani delegate, said despite national and international efforts, the digital gender gap was growing — particularly between developed and developing countries, and within developing countries.

Calling for transformative action, she underlined the need to mobilize resources and technical assistance to support millions of women and girls who have missed out on the right to an education — in particular, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of the global climate change crisis. In 2021, it was estimated that 11 million girls would never return to school, adding to the staggering 130 million girls who were already out of school before the pandemic hit.

“Surely, these alarming numbers call for transformative actions by the international community,” Bakhtiar added.

The Pakistani delegate said there was also an urgent need to raise awareness for greater female enrollment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related studies and the removal of existing gender biases in curricula and parental preferences.

In addition, she said, the projection of female role models in technology and digital fields can inspire women and girls to pursue careers in these areas.

Bakhtiar also urged governments, businesses and social media companies to promote digital safety and security to prevent harassment online.

In addition, the Pakistani delegate called for providing universal access to broadband connectivity for teachers, students and schools by making internet accessible to everyone without cost.

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