Digital transformation must focus on women and girls

If we are to close the digital gender divide, policy-makers need to develop policies to foster women’s and girls’ full participation in the digital economy.

Looking to the future is always an exercise in uncertainty, and forecasting or predicting how women will fare in the digital transformation is a good illustration of this.

The Economist recently had a look into its crystal ball. Noting that in 2018 just 7 percent of government leaders, 15 percent of board members and 3 percent of chief executives were female, the article told a tale in which women would reach global parity as CEOs and take over Davos in 2069.

The year 2069 seems a terribly long time for women to wait, especially as the digital transformation is moving so quickly, is so pervasive and offers so many opportunities. Smartphones are just the beginning of a new era where everything is networked and generating torrents of data, and where new avenues for “data-driven innovation” are opening up across every sector. We are seeing new business models where digital products can be developed without much fixed capital investment and can scale up rapidly across national borders. And digital technologies are enabling multinationals at the micro scale, so people can access market intelligence and tap into global networks from the get-go.

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