Women at the Table

Women Transforming the Digital World: Safer and Inclusive with Prosperity for All

Digital technology can be an unprecedented empowering force if it is designed to be inclusive and regulated for impact. Unfortunately, women and girls in all their diversity1 [hereafter referred to as ‘women’] are at particular risk of being excluded from the benefits of digital work, technology, and AI.  There is clear and present danger in accelerated technology-facilitated gender-based violence (tfGBV) in AI and emerging technologies. Persistent gender gaps in digital access and literacy, STEAM education, and biased algorithms based on historic exclusions of women in the data perpetuate outdated gender stereotypes and the exclusion of women in the creation and use of new digital tools, including AI; and the underrepresentation of women in careers in the digital and technology sectors. Regulation, coordinated intervention, and a gender-responsive and intersectional2 approach to technology urgently need to be adopted. The benefits of women’s inclusion and leadership in digital economies will not be realized unless G7 leaders commit to making the digital world safer, more inclusive, and more equitable, taking into account the needs of low and middle-income countries and leaving no one behind. The commitments made today will have a profound impact on current and future generations.


The Women7 (W7) recommends the following actions:

Build and Implement Responsive Regulatory Frameworks on AI and Emerging Technologies

AI and emerging technologies present many benefits, but also fundamental human rights challenges that require urgent intervention by G7 Leaders. Omnipresent AI, biased algorithms, and rapid digital transformation risk entrenching inequities that may be impossible to fix if left unaddressed. 

  • Engage a whole-of-society approach in establishing human rights-based AI regulations, with full adoption and implementation of the UNESCO Recommendations on the Ethics of AI (2021). Mandate that algorithms be audited and traceable, with information logs retained for accountability.
  • National digital policies should include both a gender-responsive lens and a gender action plan to ensure existing gender discriminatory biases are not translated or amplified in AI systems, including necessary support and funding to help correct existing gender inequalities.
  • Incentivize regulatory policies to balance gender representation at all stages of the data and machine learning AI system life cycle, from research and development to deployment. Propel female software engineers and entrepreneurs into AI, and promote gender parity in top roles in tech companies.

Address Technology-facilitated Gender-based Violence

Governments, justice sectors, and social media companies must be held accountable for providing protections against human rights violations, digital harms, and technology-facilitated GBV (tfGBV). 

  • Commit to developing international guidelines on gendered hate speech and disinformation in line with the Rabat Plan of Action, CEDAW, and Women Peace and Security agendas, in partnership with the Human Rights Council, Special Procedure mandate holders, and the OHCHR.
  • To prevent and combat tfGBV, governments must urgently apply strong legal regulations with holistic formulation and funding, requiring social media companies to enact responsive content moderation, reporting systems, and localization software to swiftly and accurately detect incidents, and to make legal information available to users with age-appropriate messaging in local languages.
  • Establish an operational framework with adequate funding to support the mental health of social media users, including psychological counseling for online addiction, support for victims of online bullying and harassment, and awareness campaigns on accountability and redress pathways.

Strengthen Digital and STEAM-related Education for Girls and Women

To achieve women’s economic empowerment, the significant gender gap in education, skills, and jobs in digital and STEAM fields must be addressed, starting at home, and through higher education and career.

  • Transform education curricula to include gender-responsive digital skills and STEAM education from primary grades, including coding and gamification, and provide funding for girl-focused teaching innovations in digital and STEAM. Emphasize for girls the value and necessity of STEAM subjects and digital competencies in diverse careers addressing the SDGs, AI, and future societal challenges.
  • Create and expand meaningful mentorship programs between girls and women in STEAM, and prioritize visibility of women leaders and teachers in STEAM subjects for students. Support and fund effective integration of digital technology for development and education in developing countries.
  • Reduce gender bias with awareness training for teachers, parents and children to promote STEAM.

Prepare Women for Digital Transformation Through Digital Access, Literacy, Skilling, and Reskilling

Nearly all jobs now have a digital component. Strengthening digital access, literacy, skills and equitable laws is critical for women’s labor mobility, economic and social empowerment, and digital work.

  • To close the gaps in digital access, governments should ensure women’s access to both smart devices and data through providing subsidies and operator incentives for differentiated pricing and data.
  • Collect and use gender-disaggregated data through an intersectional lens in all policies to bridge the gender digital divide, including data on girls’ access, education, and use of digital technology at all education levels. Use audits and impact assessments to strengthen efficacy and transparency. 
  • Adapt educational and vocational curricula to labor market needs to ensure that women are skilled and competitive in the digital job market. To foster lifelong learning and labor mobility for women, support and fund gender-responsive public programs on digital literacy, skills, and apprenticeships.
  • Incentivize employers to prioritize gender-responsive policies in skills mapping and development to facilitate transitions to new jobs and/or reskilling for existing jobs, with no one left behind.

Create Tech That Meets the Needs of Women 

Governments, businesses, and other stakeholders must develop strategies, policies, laws and budgets that ensure that women are meaningfully represented and can influence digital advancements.

  • Gender mainstreaming and women’s digital sector participation in investment, research, public policy design, and business must be prioritized for the emergence of technology which responds to women’s needs, aspirations, circumstances, preferences, and priorities.
  • Construct a gender-transformative innovation ecosystem framework to unlock the potential of women. This should embody holistic, gender-responsive support to build women’s decision-taking and tool-making power, entrepreneurial capacity, and strengthening of the digital talent pipeline, particularly in farming and food security, supply chain, climate, healthcare, and other critical sectors.
  • Increase women’s access to, training on, and use of gender-responsive digital financial products and services, including mobile banking, financial management tools, loans, microloans and insurance. 

Glossary of Selected Terms

AI system life cycle – Iterative and repetitive process of design, development, and deployment in the creation and use of AI solutions, including model and algorithm training (U.S. GSA).

CEDAW & Optional Protocol – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol are preeminent international human rights treaties, with the Optional Protocol establishing a mechanism whereby complaints and inquiries on States’ full CEDAW implementation may be brought to the United Nations (UN-OHCHR).

Gender mainstreaming – Process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated (UN Women, CSW67).

Gender-transformative innovation ecosystem framework – Build women’s entrepreneurial capacity and strengthen the digital talent pipeline through propelling girls and women toward digital mastery. Utilize gender-disaggregated data on tech usage from schooling in STEAM, coding and digital literacy to the entrepreneurial workforce, digital upskilling, financial support, and public procurement.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Human Rights Council; Special Procedures mandate holders– The United Nations Human Rights Council protects and promotes all human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the special procedures mandate holders are independent human rights experts who report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective (UN-OHCHR).

Rabat Plan of Action – Prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence (UN-OHCHR).

STEAM education – Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) subjects education

Technology-facilitated Gender-based Violence (tfGBV) – misuse and weaponization of technology and online spaces against women and girls on the basis of gender, including but not limited to femicide, online gender and sexual harassment, cyberbullying, hacking, cyberstalking, publishing private personal information (doxxing), using technology to locate women and commit physical violence, etc. (UNFPA).

UNESCO Recommendations on the Ethics of AI (2021) – Global standard-setting instrument on the ethics of AI designed to protect and promote human rights and human dignity supporting a strengthening of the rule of law in the digital world, both now and into the future (UNESCO).

Women’s Peace and Security agendas – Women, Peace and Security (WPS), 2000; and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), 2018 give concrete recommendations to governments, UN agencies, and civil society partners on visibility, inclusion and participation of women and youth in all aspects of preventing and recovering from conflict and building sustainable peace (UN-DPPA).

1 It includes the underrepresented and marginalized women and girls, those in poverty, those with disabilities, indigenous and those from other racial and ethnic minorities, the aged, persons of diverse SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics), those living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, refugees, migrants, and those in detention and humanitarian settings including conflict zones, and those living in remote rural areas, among others.

2 The concept of intersectionality describes the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and ableism, class and other forms of discrimination “intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects. All forms of inequality are mutually reinforcing and must therefore be analyzed and addressed simultaneously to prevent one form of inequality from reinforcing another. (slight modification is added to the definition of Center for Intersectional Justice: https://www.intersectionaljustice.org/who-we-are)

Last modified: April 21, 2024