IGF 2022 Day 1 Open Forum #84 Digital Education and the Future of Women's Work

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> MODERATOR: Hello -- brings together experts from -- development practitioners and academicians who are in person in this meeting and virtually.  And this programme has been brought to you by two IGF projects, namely, the global project future of work and the digital transformation centers. 

Without further ado, I would like to call on Claude Parker, who is the head of social fairs, digitization for IGF.  Over to a statement.

>> Thank you so much.  Dear colleagues, dear participants.  It's a great honour to be here and to say a few words on behalf of the IGF and the organizers.  Really pleasant.  A very relevant topic.  I think looking in general at the topic major theme of this conference, resilient Internet for shared sustainable and common future, I think many of us can probably relate to this theme.  And it really fit into the political agendas and in our respective objectives.

I think it is crystal clear and I don't have to preach to the choir that digitalization affects all of us in so many different ways, our private lives, and for sure what we have also realized over the last 20 years in the way we work.  And the way we work, that means there is a huge structural change towards more digital jobs, digital jobs that differ from nondigital jobs in many ways.  So, with many I think opportunities, lots of potential but certainly also with risks and I think those are the issues we want to address today.

Today's panel in this context will focus on the aspect of woman and the role of women in this new digital world of work, and particularly the many obstacles women face.  I want to give you a little bit of context from the Germany development policy side.  Our new government that has assumed office one year ago, has put now very strong focus on what we call a feminist development policy.  With this, we aim at promoting gender equality in a much more rigorous and thorough way.  Also, with clear quantitative targets.  So, we want to make sure that we aim to -- we aim actual to direct 90% of our portfolio to projects that contribute to gender equality and we, actually, want to double the share of projects and the funds in our portfolio for those projects where gender equality is actually the main objective of our operations.

Although we know that gender equality is fundamental for building inclusive modern economies, the gap in labour mark participation rates between men and women persists, as does a lack of equitable access to communication technologies.  The result in digit divides on issue of rights, resources and female representation in the digital realm as the majority of the billions who remain offline live in rural areas, are poor, less educated and, actually, they tend to be women and girls.

Women's economic empowerment is central to realizing women's rights and gender equality, empowering women in the economy, and closer the general gaps in the world of work are key to achieving the SDGs.

Yet, an unbelievable 100 million girls worldwide are still denied the right to education and 75% of all unpaid care work is done by women.

At the same time, women are overrepresented in informal employment, earn less than men and are less likely to be entrepreneurs or to start a business.  This is very problematic because we know when more women work, economies grow.  It boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality.

Yet, where women, especially those in the Global South are predominantly impacted by the impact of the digital transformation they continue to lack employment and leadership opportunities and remain structurally disadvantaged, in particular in STEM-related professions.

For this reason, our ministry, the German ministry for economic development has made it a priority in all our activities to actively gender equalities and promote women, girls and other marginalized groups to ensure equal participation.

Germany's feminist development policy is targeting the promotion of female leadership participation and leadership in the digital realm in cooperation with partner countries in the Global South.  One example for this, you have mentioned it already, our Moderator and our project future of work that supports political and societal actors in our partner countries to better understand and act upon the potentials and risks related to an IT enabled future of work.

In fact, while digital trends have increased women's access to jobs, low in search for skills and capacity building and the remaining digit skills gap continues to put women at a disadvantage and often relegates them to low value-ad employment.

In order to tackles these and many others challenges of digitalization with a unified and streamlined approach, Germany's development cooperation has established so-called digital transformation center, a fast-growing network that is so far 17 locations worldwide.  Quite a few, actually, in Africa.

The digital transformation centers aim to bridge the digital -- the gender digital gap by empowering women and their youth of development of digital tools, improve the digital literacy and promote leadership in positions -- like Rwanda, Turkiye or Iraq.  Our colleagues are working on the digital transformation centers have invited such a diverse international and multistakeholder group of experts today to share insights and different countries' perspectives.

I am very much looking forward to this session and hope that we can involve the global IGF community and the discourse on the importance of bridging the digital skills divide and promoting a female future of work.

For all participants of this year's IGF, let's exchange ideas and hedge out new plans to promote women in the digital sphere.  Thank you very much.  And I am looking forward to an inspiring discussion.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Axl, for the well statement, opening statement.

As it was pointed out, technology are shaping our lives, but is it for all women, the educated women, the employed or the unemployed women.  So, the panelists have researched a lot on the subject matter and there are implementers development practitioners on the subject matter.  And I would like to call up on them and so that they will introduce themselves.  First I will like to call Sabina Dewan.

>> SABINA DEWAN: Thank you very much, and good afternoon.  My name is Sabina Dewan, and I am the President and Executive Director of a think tank called the JustJobs Network, that focuses on strategies for employment generation and workforce development.  Thank you so much for having me here.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sabina.

Hannah Adams will join us virtually.

>> HANNAH ADAMS: Great.  Thank you.  Hi, everyone, my name is Hannah Adams.  I'm the country director of Harambee in Rwanda.  And Harambee is an NGO that works both in South Africa and Rwanda to bridge the skills gap for young people to gain employment opportunities and also to expand the (?) of entry level employment for young people across both countries.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Hannah.


>> SALIH MAHMOD: Thank you.  I'm Salih Mahmod from Iraq.  I am the founder of Mosul Space, which is makers space and innovation hub that promote technology in Iraq.  And I am currently working on reach as a part of my MBA programme (?) in Iraq.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Salih. 

Yayaha Amsatou.

>> YAYAHA AMSATOU: Thank you.  I'm Mrs. Yayaha Amsatou.  So, from French country.  So, my English is not as fluent.  Senior Financial Specialist in development project Smart Villages Project for rural growth and inclusive finance.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Yayaha. 

Professor Kutoma Wakunuma, who is joining us virtually.

>> KUTOMA WAKUNUMA: Hello.  Thank you very much.  My name is Kutoma Wakunuma.  I'm Associate Professor at de Montfort University, where I do a lot of research around the impact of current and emerging technologies on both the Global South and the Global North.  And currently my research interest is in gate work, efficient villages, as well as gender, among others.  It's a pleasure being here.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you all for the introduction.

So, I would like to start the first question from Sabina.  From the research you have conducted, what learnings can be drawn from your research on women in the digital economy?  How does the digital transformation affect the royalties of working women?  And which role do digit skills play?  Thank you.  Over to you.

>> SABINA DEWAN: Great.  Thank you so much for the invitation to be here and for GIZ for organizing this panel on a very important topic.  My comments today are broad, but many of our learnings are from this study, which I think you can find copies over there, which looks at digitalization in the Indian markets.  But JustJobs is a global institution, so we also draw upon our experiences and research from other countries.

And congratulations to the German Government and to GIZ for their feminist stance in their work and policymaking.

I want to start with first just, kind of, a broad point about technology, because I think this is an appropriate forum to make that point.  And the broad point is this.  Technology is no doubt a powerful tool to deliver development and to deliver development at scale.  So, I am for technology.  But technology and digitalization is not an end to itself, right?  And yet here we are today and in many of the conversations that have been place in IGF and in other forums, here we are talking about what people must do to adapt quickly, because we are in this race against time when it comes to technology.  Right?  We are not talking about regulation and policies that can leverage technology and use technology in service of development and people.  Instead, we are here talking about what people have to do to keep up with this world of technology that is moving faster than the ability of institutions to keep up.  To me, that points to a grave lack of policies and regulations.  It is a failure on part of many policymakers that they are so afraid to regulate technology because they think they will stifle innovation, right?

And yet, unregulated technology exacerbates inequalities, right?  And one of the inequalities that it exacerbates is gender inequality, which is the topic that we are here today to discuss.

That was my first point, is that we actually need to take a broad look overall at how we think about technology.  Digitalization is not an end to itself.  It is a powerful tool.  And if we think of it as a powerful tool, then we think about broad architectural policies and regulations that have to take place in cybersecurity, data privacy, regulating platforms in service of people.  That's number one.

Number two is with respect to gender inequalities.  So, women today are more educated than they have ever been in history.  We have reached parity with men at -- certainly at primary levels of education in most parts of the world, in many parts of the world, also in secondary and tertiary.  In some countries we even exceed men in terms of enrollment, right?

Research also shows that women often have better educational outcomes than men do.  Sorry, men, no offense.  We are just smarter and better.

And yet, and yet, labour force participation rates over the last couple of decades have declined, female labour participation rates over the last couple of decades have declined by five percentage points.  This is not a small thing, right?  Why is that?  Why is it that labour -- female labour force participation rates are declining despite the fact that we have more educated women, more technology, more development, right?  Why is it that there is such a digital divide, despite the fact that we have all been working towards gender equality and gender parity for so long?  Why are women still relegated, as Axl said, to low value-ad jobs in the informal sector and subject to all kinds of precarity and exploitation?  Why could women themselves self-select into gender normative sectors?  Why do women go into personal care as opposed to coding?  Why do women themselves select into these gender normative sectors?  Why are they not represented at the same level in STEM occupations, in STEM education, right?

Clearly, there's more going on than just economic factors, and one of the reluctance is to really call out the fact that there is -- there are sociocultural factors.  There's patriarchy, there's the sociocultural factors that prevent women from realizing their full potential.

Unless in internal forums, multilateral institutions don't want to talk about cultural issues because it's invading sovereign space.  But unless we start thinking about gender parity as a right and address sociocultural issues, we are not going to achieve the goals of gender parity or realizing the potential of women.  Right?

Donors don't want to talk about sociocultural factors because it takes too long and the targets and the metrics are not as quantifiable as, for example, how many women entered the labour force, right?  Behind all of these unequal economic outcomes lie sociocultural factors that we have to address.  Otherwise, we are just tinkering on the edges.

Which brings me to my last point, which is the issue of skills.  Now, certainly in labour markets, in the Global South in particular, labour markets are highly heterogeneous and this is true of the female population as well.  We are different in terms of religion, in terms of language, in terms of tribe and cast and other social characteristics.  We have varying levels of education amongst us.  We come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, we are mothers, daughters, sisters.  We have a disproportionate burden of household domestic responsibilities.

We have different concerns when it comes to child care and the contributions we make in terms of looking after our families.  So, when we are talking about solutions for skills for women and their entry into the labour market.  It's not just enough to talk about skills.  We also have to translate those skills into jobs.  When we are talking about solutions, we have to meet women where they are.  And we have to have solutions that cater to different groups.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all women.  We are not a homogenous group.

So, it's a short time, so we can talk more about the solutions.  But when we talk about solutions, I think we are going to hear some of them today, let's keep in mind that these solutions cater to very specific segments.  And that's what we need to do, is to look at a range of solutions to lift up women in the labour market and empower them in their homes and communities as well.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sabina, for sharing your research findings.  That was really uplifting.

And the second panelist will be professor Kutoma, who is joining us virtually.

>> KUTOMA WAKUNUMA: Hello, thank you very much.  So, again, I would like to echo the previous speaker with regards to this wonderful event.  Also, to the organizers, I say thank you very much.

So, there are a lot of, I suppose, great things that have resulted, particularly in platform usage, in technology or digitalization, if you like.  So, if we were to look at the gift economy at a certain point, suppose which is where we are at in terms of this discussion, we note that women are -- that the technology has, actually, offered many opportunities, particularly for those that are not necessarily in employment.  My research has found that a lot of this technological developments are, actually, very good, particularly for, you know, work in -- or aligned work in the Global South.  And here I tend to -- the work that I have done in Kenya, where there's a lot of unemployment.  So, with the gig economy, this has allowed women, as well as men to actually continue, if you like to find work.

But when we look at women's participation, there is something that is happening in the gig economy.  Although they are adopting and using platforms, for example, to further their work ambitions or their work careers, there is a lot participation in this arena of work, particularly for women.  And I think this has to do a lot with the aspect of (?) of culture norms and, of course, the aspect of regulatory frameworks or lack of regulatory frameworks which are not necessarily there, especially when we are looking at women's participation in the digital economy.

When I am talking about regulatory frameworks, I am not necessarily saying that there aren't any work regulatory frameworks.  The frameworks are there but they do not necessarily cover the gig economy.  So, there aren't benefits that are comparable to the more traditional job, particularly because work is one that is (?) with short (muffled audio), insecurities because it doesn't necessarily last that long.  It is a fleeting sort of a business, if you like.

And this is more so for women who, for example, if they are involved in the transportation business, like an Uber kind of a situation going on, what they will not necessarily put is work beyond or work off hours that men may, actually, work.  This is because of sexual harassment that they, actually, encounter.  It's about safety concerns.

While speaking to one woman who was involved in this kind of work.  So, I asked about why she doesn't necessarily work the hours that men work in this particular field, she said I'm very concerned about this, I have encountered a lot of harassment.  So, there is some insecurity there going on.

And so, what happens then, is that they get -- they do not necessarily get economic monies that the men can make.  And this then perpetuates their -- regardless, they are not being gender disparity in terms of whether they are allowed to participate in certain platforms.  They are allowed.  But it's just that there is inequality when it comes to the amount of work that is -- that they can actually do.  And also the fact that not a lot of them are current on doing this particular work because they are expect at a certain pay, for instance, to go out there and get married and then have to contend with looking after the family, ensuring that everything done in that family's (?)

Add on to this, to gig work, it's not at par in terms behalf they can make, in terms of positive that can come out when compared to their fellow male gig workers.  So, this is where policy needs to come in.  It needs to come in in terms of security.  It needs to come in in terms of safety, and also in terms of benefits for women.  Otherwise, this notion of having to think that technology works for everybody, that technology is neutral, will just remain a misnomer because we know it cannot be equal, it cannot be neutral when women have to go through or contend with issues around cultural norms that dictates to them when they are supposed to get married and how they are supposed to be looking after their homes but then at the same time expect them to earn money to, actually, look after their families or indeed safety concerns or bullying or security and also the fact that they enter policies to protect or to ensure that they can actually afford to earn a better living when it comes to a gig economy.

So, for now, I suppose this is what I would like to share, and then we can carry on.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Professor, for sharing your research findings from the experience of Kenya.

Next, we would like to share the learning from the practice, and I would like to invite Hannah Adams, who will be joining us virtually.  Hannah, can you hear me?

>> HANNAH ADAMS: Yeah, I can.  Thank you so much.  So, just as a -- go ahead.

>> MODERATOR: Based on your work closely with the young women in Rwanda, what opportunities and risks do you see for female employment in Rwanda, especially in digital economy, and how does digital education play in this regard?  What are some of your lessons, and can you please share?  Thank you.

>> HANNAH ADAMS: Sure.  Thank you.  So, Rwanda is, actually, a very exciting place in terms of the digital economy jobs for women.  Digital economy is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the country, and Rwanda is deeply committed to gender equality and opportunity.  Over 50% of our parliament is female, our ministry of IT and innovation is women.  So, there's a wealth of representation and female figures to look up to, which takes me to our first learning, which is that representation, female representation is incredibly important.

Seeing rolemodels, even if they are just a couple of years older, succeed in these digital jobs has been key and helps to dismantle this global stare type that some of the speakers mentioned of tech jobs being primarily done by men.

We are currently running a 75 person all female cohort, which is focused on training in software development and coding languages.  And to be honest, it was difficult to find the number of women we needed for the cohorts because there wasn't the same level of interest in the programme as there was for men.  But having applicants hear from other young women who have been through the training and who are now working in the field, made a world of difference in interest and uptake in the programme.  So, continuing to show examples of success of women in the field has been a really important key learning for us.

The second has been the need to show a clear and credible pathway to a job.  So, any training programme needs to be linked to employer demand.  And this is particularly important for women because, again, as folks have mentioned, participating in these programmes can often be more of a sacrifice for women because of the other responsibilities they have.  Usually caring for family members.

So, they have to believe that this programme is worth it and that there are jobs that they will be able to compete for at the end of it.  And you can design a perfect programme, but if there isn't identified demand in the form of jobs at the end of it, then very quickly women will correctly realize that it's not worth the sacrifice that they are making at home in order to participate.

And then the last learning I wanted to share is something that Sabina also mentioned is that we need to design training programmes for women and for their realities.  One thing that is true of women in Rwanda and from the other speakers, it sounds like it's true across the globe, is that generally women disproportionately play of role of caretaker in their family, whether it's for their own children, their siblings, older family members who get sick, it's often the women that are tasked with the responsibility of care.  And this can cause challenges when programmes require in-person, all-day learning, which right now our programme is.

But based on the feedback from current women in the cohort, we are thinking about how we can make future female cohorts more flexible in terms of when and how learning takes place.  And this is indeed one of the silver linings of the pandemic, is that we have been able to find ways of teaching and sharing knowledge and bringing people together remotely that I think will enable some sort of hybrid structure in the future that will also fit with the realities of women and their daily lives.

To summarize, there's a huge opportunity for women in the digital economy space.  But incredibly important to think about one representation and role models to clear and credible pathways to earning faster training programmes and lastly making sure that training and education programmes are designed for women and their realities.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Hannah.  Thank you.

The next speaker will be Salih, who is involved in the digital economy in Iraq.  So, Salih experience on the ground.  You are operating maker space in Iraq and what will do digital education and promoting leadership and technology play for women in the digital economy.  Is there a way to mainstream your approach to other countries or sectors?  Thank you.

>> SALIH MAHMOD: Thank you.  Actually, Iraq one of the countries that mainly depend on oil export for their income and GDP and it was in conflict that ended in 2017 and now in a stage looking for economic development and also the digital economy is developing in Iraq by the young entrepreneurs.  And then you also find we have a huge gender gap when you look to the digital economy and entrepreneurship and all the new adaptation technology in the country.

And that came from -- when you look to the ecosystem, you find different pillars are affecting to this gap.  And also affecting mainly to lack of economic development.  One of them is the education and academia, which is, kind of, all the style in Iraq, and even globally we find that the market labour is ahead from the academia.  And in Iraq maker space is an innovation hub which is mainly supported by the development sector are working as a kind of safe place that parents and families and close society send to accept their women to get access to trainings, manufacturing and all of that and increasing the involvement of women in the digital economy, but still there is gaps also in the awareness.

Many women in our programmes, they join digital training programmes and then they move to something related to administrative, management, and they will not continue focusing on having a job in the digital economy.  And also, another aspect is the family how society look to women in close culture, let's say, system like Iraq, when they saw women as -- they need to do very easy job and then they need to serve a family.

Also, another important aspect is that this supporting educational system is doing great, but the capacity of this support education system is limited.  So, there is many success stories, there is many women who started their businesses in digital economy and doing great and hiring other women.  But when you compare these numbers to the population of a country, you will find it very small.

And here another important pillar of the ecosystem, if we talk about digital economy or even the local economic development is having government involved in this process of reducing the gender gap and supporting the support education system that develop the skills for the young generation and including women.

And for taking this experience from Iraq and move it to another country, I think from technical perspective, it's working everywhere.  You have, like, the organization, whatever the digital organization working, its vision is to reduce the gap between the market need and the education system in that country.

But then when you come to the sustainability and to the awareness that need to have, kind of, policies and also government intervention to support the sustainability of this support education system, and that's, I believe, in Iraq we are still working on convincing the government contributed positively to support of this local economic development driven by young generation and also including women.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Salih. 

The next speaker will be Yayaha Amsatou.  She has a small project in Niger and would like to share her experience.  How is the project improving the lives of rural women and specifically in the context of Niger?  What are the specific issues faced by women in rural areas?  What learnings can you draw from your work experience?  And what do you propose or see for future work in Niger?  And what role will digital skills play in that regard?  Thank you.  Over to you.

>> YAYAHA AMSATOU: Thank you very much for this opportunity to share Smart Village experience in Niger.  So, the Smart Villages Project, its main objective is population, finance, and inclusion.  So, data to reach this goal.  So, the project is creating some digital centers.  So, it's creating in this phase of the project, 150 digital centers are in the country.  These digital centers are implemented at facilities for delivery of e-financial and digital services.  So, those facilities supposed to have a focus on women, even the opening times, the opening, they need to adapt it to women's free time because in rural area women, usually they go to farm, they go to market.  So, they can be only free in the evenings.

So the work in turn for these digital centers are adapted so that the women can access easily these digital centers.  And this inclusion of those women, the project is aiming to do it through digital, mainly through mobile (?).  Because in Niger, few people access to formal financial services, due to the distance because Niger is a big country.  So, 1,265 hundred - million -- it is kilometers, so it is very, very large for financial services to open their premises in the country.  This is the main reason.

So, the project is aiming to use leverage on the phone penetration.

Okay.  Is it better?  Okay.  Okay.  So, I was saying that it is the project is trying to leverage phone penetration to help women's get access to some financial services and then to improve their incoming.  So, for that, apart from -- so as I was saying, the digital services, they are multiservice one stop where they can do remittance, cash in, cash out.  And also, any kind of financial service can be offered in this center.  And also, they can be helped, they can be supported in case they have an issue using it.

And in this digital centers, apart from creating them, there is a country new finance -- digital finance literacy and education companies.  Those companies are being done continuously in these centers where the women are being -- they are being helped with some campaigns so they will Internet trend on the usage of mobile money solution where they can get support when they have issues and everything.  And their practice were some mobile money stock are being sent to them and then follow them until they are -- what can I say?  They can easily do all their operations.

So, after that, they will also be followed some months to see they are really using those trainings they have been given to.  So, for now, for this year, we have some 4000 women which are beneficiary under, and we are aiming to get 50,000 women trained with this literacy and digital finance education.

So, regarding the issues, as I said, the basic issues is really for those women to access to credit and to be able to improve their incoming generic services.  So, with the usage, the project is aiming to put in place another platform, which would collect those mobile money usage and through a credit scoring, give them some credit and allow them save some monies.  And this really help them in economic (?) so they can be empowered.

And then the lesson learned, I can say that the literacy campaign is really contribute to overall improvements.  So, the digital skills can help them improve their income, as I was saying, they organize better their commerce.  And they can access formal services through this programme of credit scoring.  Okay.  This is what I can share as experience with the Smart Villages Project.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Yayaha, for sharing the practical and on the ground how it's being implemented in Niger.  It's very helpful.

Thank you all, panelists, for sharing the research findings and the experience on the ground.  And I would like to forward one follow-up question.  From all participants, I have heard that policymakers have -- need to intervene and need to facilitate by coming out with new laws that will include the interest and needs of women.  And there are already policies at hand on the ground.  But how can we -- or what should policymakers -- or what specific provisions or what kind of issues should they incorporate in policies so that more women will benefit based on your research or based on the practical experience that you have from the ground, what's your suggestion for policymakers from any of you.  If you can reflect on this, that will be great.  Thank you.

>> SALIH MAHMOD: I can start.  Policymakers in each country they need to understand that women inclusion and digital economy is very important asset for their economic development.  So, they need to include in their policies projects that they invest in women and inclusion and the digital economy, develop the capacity.  Also, it's very important to build awareness for typical person in that community to understand that importance of women inclusion, creating the rolemodel, promoting the success stories for women in technology, it's all very important to inspire more women to start a career and be in a leadership position in digital economy.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Salih.  Okay, please.

>> SABINA DEWAN: We are looking at digitalization as though it's an isolation.  The reality is labour markets don't operate in isolation.  We are now confronting with a situation where we have climate change that's upending labour marks, we have technology, urbanization, trade, and restructuring of value chains.  All of these forces are changing labour markets.  So, the solution cannot be just focused on digitalization alone.  We have to think about broad architectural changes.  What are the four things with respect to women?  One, I would say, as I have already said, addressing the sociocultural norms that inhibit women.

Two, the solution cannot be just technology creating more jobs.  We need more jobs overall, especially in a lot of the Global South and Africa, where there's a large and growing youth population, in countries like India and other parts of the world, in Asia where there's large and growing youth populations.  If there aren't enough jobs, available jobs will go to men.  Right?

So, we need policymakers to think about job creation and to prioritize job creation and then incentivize the hiring of women and women entrepreneurship.

Third, we need policies, regulations and laws that protect workers in general.  We need Social Security systems.  We need minimum wage regulations.  And as economies are changing and there's all this labour market precarity and insecurity, unless we strengthen these laws for workers in the unorganized sector for all workers, women will be the worst affected.  They are the ones that will be left out the most. 

So, we need to create effective Social Security systems, minimum wage laws, regulations with respect to platforms, data privacy, cybersecurity, all of the things that we are talking about at IGF.  We need to create regulations and then make sure that they are applied with respect to women equally with men.  That was number 3.

And finally, data.  So, offline, women's work and their contributions to the economy have been invisible for far too long, right?  And now as we have more and more work that's needing through digital platforms or technology-related work, it would be a grave lost opportunity if we didn't, actually, work to make women visible through data.  We need national statistical systems to focus on capturing, collecting, using gender disaggregated data.  That is fundamentally important.  I could go on and on.  But I will stop there.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sabina.

I would like to open the floor for questions and reflections from the audience.  Yes.

>> AUDIENCE: Alani Goldpile from Learn Asia.

On the counting, one of the problems as, Sabina, you point out, is that gender disaggregated data is missing.  What are the thoughts on digital data trails themselves helping the counting?  I mean, one of the dreams in the early days of the platform labour economy was that it will put a value on the care work, the housework, the help, all of that that women will do.  Because somebody else is paying them, instead of their household.  That has not happened, really.  Because statistics have not taken that into account.  And social protection schemes have not valued that in some way.

Is there still hope in that path or -- I mean, are we really talking about, you know, if you really value it, it's X, but the platforms are paying X minus something, it's even worse than what the real value is.

>> AUDIENCE: Good afternoon, everyone, my name is Ashura Michael from Kenya.  I want to congratulate the panelists for the wonderful discussion.  Talk about many things, including the policy.  But I want to believe education is the first thing that concerns us as women.  If we look at the women who live in the rural areas, how do you think we can make sure that at least we promote the education within this sector of the rural, the women in the rural area.

As we talk about the climate change, we have a lot of finance and women are also involved with climate change, but how do we sustain this?

And also, you talked about other three women, one woman has disability.  I have not had any panelists talk of inclusion of persons with disabilities.  If we want to achieve our vision of 2030 and the SDGs, we really have to include women and women with disabilities generally, because we can't achieve this if anybody is left behind.  We have to be well-represented to support the digital education, yes.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  We can ask only one question.  Okay.  Can you address these questions that was raised?

>> KUTOMA WAKUNUMA: Can I just -- I suppose I could jump in, particularly with the last contributor.


>> KUTOMA WAKUNUMA: I think you're right in terms of supposed to my great disappointment as well.  We haven't really touched on the aspect of disability.  But I think this also has to do with the fact that, again, it goes back to policy and policy implementations, where this sort of aspects needs to be considered when drawing up policy frameworks.

But I think one of the ways within which these particular issues can be brought to the floor is through co-participation.  We are always talking about stakeholder engagement.  But, you know, I don't think we necessarily there is a lot that's being done to actually have that co-participation that can be allowed through stakeholder engagement.

Yes, one of the things that we did, particularly with regards to my research in Kenya was to talk to different stakeholders, academics, policymakers, you know, gig workers.  But what was noticed was the fact that there aren't a lot of -- there isn't a lot of co-participation, even when we are looking at women, even within those stakeholder arenas.  And this is concerning because without women's voices, it's very difficult for policymakers to then understand the needs that women necessarily want, particularly when it comes to get work.

The policies are not gender friendly policies.  They are not gender friendly policies particularly when it comes to equal work and equal pay, when it comes to consideration of maternity leave, for example, for female gig workers or flexible job arrangements for women.  And also, that includes women with disabilities as well.

And it's very important that policymakers make a concerted effort to ensure that the women's voices are heard within these policy implementations or policy frameworks, that they are starting to start thinking -- that they are starting to think about when it comes to policy regulations.

Things around dedicated security units, for example, when it comes to the police in order to look at -- or to help with security concerns for women, or the gender and equality commissions that do not necessarily recognize gig work as one of the areas this happen.  So, these are some of the areas that need co-participation and effective stabilization, that, actually, does have women in the space in order to share their experiences and the needs that women want.

So, these are things that need to be looked at, things around, you know, specialized initiative to equip women with digital skills, for example, rather than them having to go to different places or to look out -- to ask men who normally have these digital skills or equipment to help them out. 

So, there's a lot of things that policy implementation or policy regulations needs to consider, and one of this is the aspect of co-participation so there is awareness, so women's voices are heard so that women, actually, feel that they are, actually, a priority and that their needs can be looked at as well.

So, I will stop there and, you know, have others step in.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, professor Kutoma for your reflection.

Please, let's --

>> YAYAHA AMSATOU: I want to say a few words regarding this question in the practice at the project.  So, in the project we have a component for regulatory framework improvement.  So, in this component, we have made a study for equitable access to numeric for everybody, including the women and also the people with disability is in order to get a strategy for their access to numeric in the country.  So, this strategy is being written now, right now.

And regarding the digital centers, we have also a position, a basic position for blender people, and also the access is taken into account these people with disabilities where they are poor, they can access to the center, to the digital center.  Just those are the practice I wanted to share regarding this last point.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  Sabina, do you want to add?

>> SABINA DEWAN: Just, I wanted to take up Helani's question, which, by the way, Helani is more an expert on data and the digital economy from Learn Asia.  So, you should look up the work they do.  Excellent work, and she is someone I look up to.

Helani, to your question, I agree it's not just about gender disaggregated data, but if I understood you correctly, it's about, sort of, leveraging the new data trails that technology is promoting.  And we are not doing enough in that space, right?  I mean, the first thing that we should be doing is designing data sharing agreements with platforms that are collecting all kinds of data that would also help in the valuation of women's work.

So, I think that's one of the more detailed, but essential recommendations, is -- and questions is how can governments actually work with companies, big data, with platform companies, to form data-sharing agreements in order to get that data and then design evidence-based policies and regulations that, in addition to other things, also appropriately value women's work.  So --

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sabine.

Just a quick question, because you are raising your hand.  Yeah.

(Off microphone)

>> Can we benefit from one of your digital apps?  That's my question to you.  (?)


>> YAYAHA AMSATOU: The digital centers, I consider it is open for all partnership.  So, it is open.  You can get in touch with the project.  And we can get you in touch with the people who is taking care of these centers.  And we have access to it.  And we have in center also.  We have already one in subdue.  And some are being put in place other areas of Sender.  We put the center in place and like to get support on activity which can make the center, digital center been already working and be working all the time, women.  This is welcome.

>> SABINA DEWAN: I don't have a written copy of my presentation, but you can go to our website, JustJobsNetwork.org, and find a lot of resources.  I am also happy to share my email address with you and take up additional conversations outside this forum.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you all for the presentation.  That was really informative.  And for the audience, for the questions as well.

So, I would like to close the programme, this session, and the main takeaway from this programme is digitalization is not an end to itself.  We need to look at the education, the policies, the social and cultural factors in order to benefit women equally.  And policymakers need to take action in order to make sure that women are benefiting equally.

And digitalization is not only for the poor areas or for educated ones.  The experience from Kenya and Niger is a good example that shows that it can be implemented on the ground in the rural areas.  So, these are my takeaways, the main takeaways from message.  Thank you.