Contribute your ideas to make the Internet and tech more accessible for women

Online open consultation process invites all stakeholders to share proposed solutions for bridging the digital gender divide

 Geneva, 10 October 2017 – Around the world, more men than women use the Internet and tech in their daily lives – creating a growing digital gender divide. In an effort to reverse this dangerous trend, all stakeholders are invited to contribute, by 23 December 2017 through an online open consultation process, their experiences and to propose innovative solutions towards “Bridging the Digital Gender Divide.” This is being organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT), through its Council Working Group on Internet.

As reported recently in the State of Broadband 2017 report, the global Internet penetration rate for men stands at 50.9 per cent compared to 44.9 per cent for women globally, with this gap predicted to be highest by end 2017 in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Africa, as per the ITU ICT Facts and Figures 2017. In LDCs, only one out of seven women uses the Internet compared with one out of five men. In Africa, the proportion of women using the Internet is 25 per cent lower than the proportion of men using the Internet.

Participants of the online open consultation process are invited to address the following questions:

  1. What approaches and examples of good practices are available to increase Internet access and digital literacy of women and girls, including in decision-making processes on Internet public policy?
  2. What approaches and examples of good practices are available to promote the access and use of ICTs by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and least-developed countries, particularly those owned/managed by women, in order to achieve greater participation in the digital economy?
  3. Which are the available sources and mechanisms for measuring women's participation in the digital economy with focus on SMEs and micro-enterprises?
  4. What measures/policies could be envisioned in order to foster the role of women as entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs, specifically in developing and least-developed countries?
  5. What are the gaps in addressing these challenges?
  6. How can they be addressed and what is the role of governments?

This online open consultation process will be followed by a physical open consultation meeting on 22 January 2018 at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. During this meeting, respondents to the online consultation will have the opportunity to present their submitted views and to dialogue with other participants including members of ITU’s Council Working Group on Internet.

For those not able to participate on site, remote participation will also be available upon request. For more information on previous open consultations, please visit the ITU website.

Learn more about the online open consultation for “Bridging the Digital Gender Divide” here.

To learn more about ITU’s other global work to bridge the digital gender divide, visit:

  • – a global network of committed partners working towards digital gender equality.
  • Girls in ICT Day – a global effort to encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICTs.


Media contacts:

Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell
ITU Senior Media and Communications Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 5469
Mobile: +41 79 337 4615


About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.


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