IGF 2023 Town Hall #38 Gender transformative digital policy: Steps we need to take


Gender Digital Divide

Panel - 60 Min


Digital participation is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for economic, political, and social participation. Despite increasing global connectivity, women and other marginalized groups are still excluded from many opportunities of digital transformation. The majority of the 2.7 billion people who lack access to the Internet are women - overall, 259 million fewer women are online than men. But the gender digital divide is not just about access to the Internet - women and other marginalized groups are also underrepresented in the usage and development of digital technologies, for example due to a lack of digital skills. Furthermore, experiences in digital spaces differ significantly based on gender. Women and LGBTIQ+-persons are disproportionately affected by online gender-based violence (OGBV), hate speech, and gendered disinformation.
To harness the opportunities of digitalization for gender equality, inclusive policymaking is essential – this can only be achieved if women and other marginalized groups are equally represented in decision-making processes. A high-level [digital.global] panel will focus on how to strengthen the rights, resources, and representation of women and other marginalized groups in the digital space.
As our society becomes more digitally dependent, women, their wider communities and entire nations are at risk of losing out on the benefits of full participation in digital societies and digital economies. In collaboration with our partners, this town hall connects government representatives with civil society and seeks to identify ways how the rights, resources and representation of women and other marginalized groups can be strengthened in the context of the digital transformation. Furthermore, the panel will deal with obstacles that gender-smart digital policymaking meets.
Using a multistakeholder approach, perspectives from governments, civil society, and the Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) partner network will be brought together. Tangible problems, e.g. the gender digital divide, OGBV, lack of digital skills or discrimination through AI will be discussed.

The session will be fully organized in a hybrid design with a mix of speakers on-site and online. The moderation team will be on site and will appoint a designated chat moderator to ensure that online speakers and participants receive the same chance to engage and debate as speakers and participants on site. Virtual survey tools will be used include participants’ perspectives and priorities to guide and enrich the panel discussion.
For the on-site participation, we will ensure that high-quality microphones and screens are available that allow online participants meaningful and seamless participation.


Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany)
Anke Schlieker, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), WEOG
Dorothee Segiet, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), WEOG


• Mariam Torosyan, Founder SafeYOU and part of UNDP BOOST Women Innovators Programme (Eastern European Group)
• Shayna Robinson, Internet Society Foundation, ISOC
• Nneena Nwakanma, World Wide Web Foundation (African Group)
• Josephine Teo, Digital Minister, Singapore (or other Digital Ministers from Southeast Asian and African Partner Countries such as Paula Ingabire (RW) or Cina Lawson (TG))
• Helani Galpaya, LIRNEasia (Asia Pacific Group)
• Martin Wimmer, CDO, BMZ (WEOG)

Onsite Moderator

Nanjira Sambuli (TBC)

Online Moderator

Dorothee Segiet, Anke Schlieker


Yilmaz Akkoyun


5. Gender Equality
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The session with its cross-cutting focus on inclusive, gender-transformative, human-rights-based and citizen-centred digital policy-making has a particular relevance for SDGs 5, 9, 10, 16 and 17. It tackles challenges such as gender-based discrimination and violence, equal and inclusive access to the internet, and social, economic and political participation for all.
At the core of the debate will be the question how to promote effective, accountable and inclusive institutions and policy-making as well as meaningful partnerships to strengthen the rights, resources, and representation of women and other marginalized groups in the digital space. With its multi-stakeholder approach, it furthermore highlights the importance of partnerships for Sustainable Development.