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First of Its Kind Gender Transformative Digital Skills Education Framework | The Business Show

To celebrate International Women’s History month the GSMA has co-published the first of its kind gender transformative digital skills education framework which was presented at a high level event hosted on the fringes of the 68th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The framework titled “Her Digital Skills: Towards a Gender Transformative Approach” and a set of initial, promising practices is the collective work of EQUALS Her Digital Skills Initiative which includes co-founders; the GSMA, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Ernst and Young (EY), and Women’s WorldWide Web (W4). There is also a select group of international organizations in this space including the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, Plan International, GiZ, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

A decade of research in both low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and high-income countries shows that regressive social and gender norms play a critical role in perpetuating the gender digital divide, in all its forms.
Designers of digital skills programmes, therefore, must address normative barriers. A ‘gender transformative’ approach to digital skills education – where programmes seek to advance gender equality and/or women’s empowerment by changing harmful gender norms, roles and power relations – is urgently required.

This framework and practitioners’ guide recommends gender-transformative approaches to the design of digital skills education programmes: both inside and outside the classroom. It outlines an inclusive, contextualised, competency-based approach to learning strategies, curricula and content, and underscores the importance of integrating gender norm change theory and practice. The report also recommends how different stakeholders can intervene in the wider ecosystem to bridge the gender digital divide.

This work was conducted in an effort to produce an innovative educational framework in delivering digital skills. It was strengthened with exhaustive research in learning and pedagogical philosophies for the purpose of developing a set of self-paced gender transformative digital skills courses (ie EQUALS Badges). This was part of the EQUALS Her Digital Skills initiative targeting girls and young women across the globe.

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The 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) is the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment and took place on 11 – 22 March 2024. Arif is joined by a range of guests from the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) who were there from across the world to discuss key takeaways and outcomes from the meeting.

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