Member States Call To Action to Place Gender at the Heart of the GDC

An essential piece to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will be our capacity to harness technology and innovation for the political and socio-economic empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity.

Presented by the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) António Guterres in Our Common Agenda, the Global Digital Compact (GDC) is set to outline shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all. In his report to the CSW67, Secretary-General Guterres called for ensuring that the Global Digital Compact advances women’s rights and builds a human-centred approach to digital transformation. In the Policy Brief on GDC, the UNSG proposes to mainstream gender[1] in digital policies and in technology design and ensuring zero tolerance for gender-based violence (GBV), in order to create a more equal and connected world for women and girls.

This calls for pro-active efforts from the international multistakeholder community to ensure gender perspectives and the goal of gender equality are central to all themes and objectives of the GDC, in order to:

  • bridge digital divides and address the gender dimensions of digital inequality
  • ensure digital technologies are created and used in a manner that respects human rights, including through appropriate protections against arbitrary and unlawful interference with privacy, including in the context of the protection of personal data, and strengthening accountability for discrimination and addressing misleading content
  • expand women’s participation in the technology sector and digital policymaking
  • prevent digital technologies from reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes and technology-facilitated GBV, to make digital spaces safe, inclusive and accessible for all women and girls.

It requires prioritizing the principles of inclusivity, fairness, universality, transparency and accountability and adopting human rights-based approach and effective safeguards that prevent inequalities, biases and abusive behaviours towards women and girls.

At UNGA-77, the leaders of the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation called to place gender equality at the heart of the GDC, to build a better, safer and more equal digital future. This was followed by the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on technology and innovation and provided ambitious Agreed Conclusions. They give essential tools in the preparation of the Global Digital Compact to further advance the recommendations of promoting the regulation of new technologies based on human-rights and non-discrimination, the fair distribution of their benefits and their utilization for the common good.

UNGA-78 will be the launch of a collective effort to foster collaborations, build capacity and knowledge, and shape a Global Digital Compact that breaks the cycle of digital inequality and identifies ambitious and concrete targets and evidence-based actions that can be catalytic in achieving gender equality and eliminating the digital gender gap. 

Today, a core group of Member States commit to work together and with all stakeholders to mainstream gender perspectives across all GDC objectives in the forthcoming negotiations and advocate for women and girls’ equal access to and full participation in decision spaces on digitalization. 

[1] Full definition of gender mainstreaming in the context of digitalization, Expert guidance and substantive inputs to preparations for the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Page 55.