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ICT development to level playing field for women, ASEAN forum hears

Update: November, 08/2019 - 08:05


Gender equality is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, Dr Nguyễn Thái Yên Hương, Việt Nam representative of AICHR, tells a two-day workshop held in HCM City. VNS Photo Gia Lộc

HCM CITY— The unfolding revolution in internet and information and communication technologies offers an array of innovative and dynamic opportunities to unleash the potential of women and girls, a senior development official has said.

Ambassador Nguyễn Nguyệt Nga, vice chairwoman of the Vietnam National Committee for Pacific Economic Co-operation and senior advisor to the National Committee on ASEAN 2020, told a two-day workshop in HCM City on Thursday, that digitisation promises to narrow a deeply entrenched and historical gap and also has the potential to provide women with opportunities for a better future.

“New technology has become an increasingly important tool for education, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, health services, information, and civic participation.

“In developing countries in particular, new technologies provide women with opportunity to overcome many dominant cultural, traditional and mobility barriers, greater access to information communication technologies for business development, innovative digital solutions to support women-led enterprises.

“There are also emerging issues of work-life balance 4.0, parenting 4.0. That is why, despite remarkable achievements over the past years, progress has been slow and persisting patterns of inequality are stalling further progress on gender equality.”

It is crucial to develop a holistic approach to gender equality which is based on and driven by sustainable development and inclusive digitisation, ensuring no woman is left behind, she said.

That would focus, among other things, on the inclusive and responsible use of digital and new technologies to provide affordable, reliable and safe internet and mobile services for women and support the delivery of healthcare, education and education services to women and girls while preventing gender discrimination by biased data sets, she said.

Concrete steps and actions to increase women and girls’ access to life-long skills development and digital literacy through developing modern online and flexible educational and retraining programmes should be taken, she said.

Gender-responsive environments, especially e-government mechanisms, should be built to empower women to innovate and strengthen their participation in decision making, she added.

Prof Dr Amara Pongsapich, chair of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) 2019, said women are especially at risk of being exploited, and the gender equality gap could widen if women are not equipped with the required skills and knowledge.

The AICHR workshop on promoting gender equality and empowerment of women through information communication technologies towards achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development brings together relevant stakeholders in the region and beyond to exchange views on these issues.

Through this, the AICHR seeks to address this important issue from the complex perspectives of regional and international human rights frameworks and use the latest ICTs to advance gender equality and empowerment of women. 

Dr Nguyễn Thái Yên Hương, Việt Nam’s AICHR representative, said: “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, healthcare, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making would fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large, she added. VNS


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