The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology of Nigeria has been named winner of the “ICT and broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment” award at the maiden edition of the GEM-TECH Awards by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General”]“ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense.”[/blockquote]
The award was conferred on Nigeria and six other recipients of other categories of awards by Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General before some 2,500 delegates at a special ceremony in the morning plenary session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea.
In the other six categories, UNESCO’s Women in Africa’s History e-Learning project (Ethiopia) won the “Applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s social and political empowerment and links with sustainable development” award; iMerit Technology (India) won the “ICT applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s economic empowerment and poverty reduction” award; BCS Chartered Institute for IT (United Kingdom) won “Promoting Women in the ICT sector” award.
Other winners are Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF), Dominican Republic which won the “Enabling girls to become ICT creators” award; Telecentre.org Foundation (Philippines) won ‘Closing the ICT gender gap, ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women” award and Association for Progressive Communications (APC), South Africa won “Efforts to reduce online threats and to build women’s confidence and security in the use of ICTs” award.
The GEM-TECH Awards was co-orgainsed with the UN Women to recognise the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in the area of gender equality and mainstreaming through information and communication technology (ICT).
Congratulating the seven winners out of a field of 37 finalists, Touré praised the exceptionally high quality of nominations, and stressed that much still needs to be done to leverage the full power of ICTs to improve the lives of women and men.
“It is almost 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – so where do we stand today with reference to Gender Equality and Mainstreaming?” asked Dr Touré, who pointed to a ‘gender digital divide’ that is particularly worrying in the developing world. “ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense,” he said.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said “We need all of you to join our efforts, so that these inspiring GEM-TECH winners and others working at the forefront of digital inclusion are leading a turning point for women’s digital empowerment through technology.”
The awards were sponsored by Gold Partners the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Rwanda, the Swiss Confederation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Silver Partners Cisco Systems and Facebook.
Over 360 nominations were received from over 70 countries around the world, according to the organisers.