Can Women and Girls’ Use of Technology Help Us Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?

Women and Technology

Of course! But, in the quest to include women and girls, don’t forget about the boys and men.

Did you miss it? Last month, Tech Salon hosted a special session in celebration of the Copenhagen-based Women Deliver Conference. Taking place once every three years, Women Deliver is the world’s largest conference dedicated to the rights, health and equality of girls and women.

Skipping the Danish flight, an early-morning crowd packed into a DC-based conference room provided by FHI 360, drank coffee for fuel, and rolled up their sleeves to dive straight into a #DCDelivers satellite event to have a frank conversation about how women and girls can use technology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Just like Tech Salon member-convener Salons around the world, locally organized satellite events took place worldwide — including a community in Mozambique repping #MaputoDelivers by hosting a discussion about improving food and nutrition for girls and women, especially those affected by illness. (Psst! To see it all in action, check out the interactive map with photos!)

Much of what transpired in DC that day was what you’d expect at any Technology Salon: an intimate, informal and off-the-record discussion between information and communication technology (ICT) experts and international development professionals, with a focus on:

  • Technology’s impact on donor-sponsored technical assistance delivery
  • Private enterprise-driven economic development, facilitated by technology

But, there was something more. This particular Salon was informed by sessions at Women Deliver and shaped by four noted experts on gender and technology:

Everyone in the room knew technology offers a powerful gateway to knowledge and opportunity for women. What we also knew — when and if girls and women get access to technology — is their presence is often met with threats and harassment.

So, we tried to tease out what kinds of ideas, opinions and predictions could help move our sector from talk to action. And, that’s where the conversation anchored: We talked about boys and men — and not just as, literally and figuratively, the “bad guys.” We agreed we need to work as a community to understand and address both the promise and perils of technology across all genders to achieve the SDGs.

We discussed much more, but you know how it goes: What happens at Tech Salon stays at Tech Salon. I encourage you to sign up for the mailing list and attend the next event.

By Twanna A. Hines, FHI 360, Associate Director, Communications

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