Women’s empowerment is a prerequisite for achievement of the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 on all areas of social and economic progress. In some areas of the world, barriers to girls’ completion of education, particularly at secondary level, are hindering progress. These barriers include early marriage, teenage pregnancy, gender stereotypes, cultural prejudice, and responsibility for domestic duties and caregiving. Addressing barriers to girls’ and women’s education, enabling them to complete secondary school and transition to further education or work, has economic and social benefits for the individual, their family and for the nation as a whole.
Programmes which complement traditional education can open up the space for girls to discuss these barriers to their education and consider the choices they have in their personal and professional development. Technology is needed to scale up such a programme and reach a wider number of girls, to provide a vital tool with insights into their personal and professional choices. Such technology can empower girls to understand the implications of their choices and support them to complete school. In Rwanda, GWI is working with Orange Device Group to develop the Girls’ Choices Mobile App, a mobile application (app) that provides immediate, easy access to material empowering girls to explore possibilities in their lives beyond school. The app is initially being developed with content driven by a focus group of teenage girls in Kigali, Rwanda, with the scope for replicability in other countries. GWI will explore partnerships to further disseminate the app, beyond smartphones, on other platforms.
Towards 2025, we envision that WSIS maintain their commitment to ensuring the access and availability of ICTs to girls and women to create access to quality education at all levels, to foster and accelerate women’s empowerment and their full participation in all aspects of society and in all decision-making processes. We advocate for WSIS mainstreaming a gender-equality perspective guaranteeing the inclusion of women in the emerging global ICT society.
Established in 1919, Graduate Women International (GWI), formerly the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), with members in over 80 countries worldwide, empowers girls and women, through access to quality secondary, tertiary and continuing education. GWI is in special consultative status with UN ECOSOC and is in official relations with UNESCO and the International Labour Organization (ILO).