UN advocates use of mobile technology for women’s development

Islamabad: The private sector has an important role to play in dispelling people’s misconceptions about women’s use of mobile technology as well as raising awareness about how internet-connected portable electronic devices can contribute to development women and their families,” said UN Women Pakistan country representative Sharmeela Rassool.

She was speaking at a special ceremony held to sign an agreement between her organization and Pakistan’s leading digital operator and part of the VEON Group, for the introduction of digital and financial education programs for micro-enterprises run by women. women in disadvantaged areas.

According to organizers, as part of the initiative, by 2025, 10,000 female micro-entrepreneurs will also receive free SIM cards, internet data, call and text packages and mobile app wallets.

The idea behind this collaboration is to bridge the digital gender gap by providing women with the skills to thrive in the rapidly changing digital economy.

In addition, the telco will provide gender-responsive financing and micro-mobility solutions, awareness campaigns, skills development training, advocacy and thought leadership programs to reduce gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, and declassify harmful gender roles that hinder the progress of women. The programs reflect the company’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5 – Gender Equality.

Organizers said that although women make up half of the country’s population, unfortunately their labor force participation in the country is only 21%.

They said these measures were central to the collaboration and would be addressed through a tailored program to train and enable aspiring female entrepreneurs to acquire digital skills and provide access to internet data and technology products to support their business efforts.

The company’s CEO, Aamir Ibrahim, highlighted the importance of building an inclusive society where women are empowered through digital and financial inclusion.

“Our collaboration with UN Women demonstrates our commitment to improving the lives and livelihoods of women in Pakistan through technology. Providing women with tools and resources to improve their economic capabilities will unlock greater societal benefits, including poverty eradication, and reduce the gender digital divide, leading to economic growth,” he said. he declares.

Mr. Aamir said the company is also a signatory to the Global Women’s Empowerment Principles, a set of principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace. work, in the market and in the community.

He said that as part of the GSMA’s Connected Women’s Commitment initiative, the company has pledged to increase the proportion of women in its mobile internet customer base by 8% by 2023.

Mara R. Wilmoth