WSIS Day Four

High Level Dialogue: Empowering Women to Innovate through Technology


We know that the inclusion of women is vital to development, yet persistent and pervasive questions of female inclusion remain despite the drafting of the WSIS, Beijing and development agenda processes. The High Level Dialogue on ‘Empowering Women to Innovate through Technology’ reviewed possible solutions to address four digital gender gaps which hinder the full potential of women in the ICT field: access, content, leadership and financial inclusion.

Moderated by Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief SPM, ITU, the panel consisted of: H.E. Ms Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology, Pakistan; Helen Kopman, Deputy Head of Innovation Unit, DG Connect, European Commission; Claire Sibthorpe, GSMA Connected Women Programme Director, GSMA; Masanori Kondo, Deputy Secretary General, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT); Jennifer Breslin, Knowledge, Innovation and Technology for Development Coordinator, UN Women; Roxana Rugina, CEO & Co-Founder Simplon Romania; and Paul Mitchell, General Manager, Microsoft.

The digital gender divide is growing. We must work to lower the barriers to women’s inclusion in ICTs such as cost and network quality, while expanding their opportunities in the field by ensuring that content is but interesting and develops their skills, and not just ‘colourful’.

As diversity drives success in business, we must ensure that all stakeholders are involved in promoting women in ICTs. Around the world, women are getting involved in exciting ICT programmes, from learning to code to competing in international innovation competitions – we must share best practices to ensure that women have the necessary digital skills to ensure their inclusion in the digital future.


C7. E-Agriculture: Mainstreaming ICT in the Agricultural Sector

Agriculture plays a major role in the newly drafted SDG framework, which lists the eradication of hunger, food security, and nutrition among its goals. The session ‘C7. E-Agriculture: Mainstreaming ICT in the Agricultural Sector’ identified ways in which ICTs for development (ICT4D) can support the targets set out in the post-2015 agenda.

The panel : Sophie Treinen, FAO, e-agriculture Action Line Facilitator and Chairperson; Hani Eskandar, ITU; Ken Lohento, CTA, Open Data; David Soutar, SlashRoots Foundation, Application Development; François Laureys, IICD, Farmer-centric Data for Agriculture; Mireille N’simire, IITA, Mobile Finance for Agriculture; and Julien Gonnet, RONGEAD, N’Kalo.

ICTs are a strategic tool which have the power to reform the agricultural sector and address the goals set out in the SDG framework, yet the panel identified the need for cohesive national e-agriculture strategies to harness this potential. In order to build an enabling e-agricultural environment, we must align all relevant stakeholders and develop strong links between the Ministry of ICTs and Ministry of Agriculture. The panel also identified youth engagement as a key driver of e-agriculture success.

ICTs can also support agriculture through innovation. Examples include methods to prevent the theft of livestock, and online marketplaces to buy and sell produce at competitive rates.


This summary provides a snapshot of two panels – ‘High Level Dialogue: Empowering Women to Innovate through Technology’ and C7. E-Agriculture: Mainstreaming ICT in the Agricultural Sector’ – held on Day Four of the 2015 WSIS Forum. These discussions, together with the full days’ programme, is available to watch via the WSIS web archive

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