The factors impede Internet access and digital literacy of women and girls are largely the factors that we have discussed in our previous submissions to CWG-Internet, in particular the urgent need to reduce the cost of connectivity in developing countries. This can be achieved by fostering competition (which may include functional separation), funding infrastructure, taking steps to reduce the cost of international connectivity, supporting the development of local content, capacity building, and a proper governance system.
It is also necessary to improve trust and security. It is urgent to recognize that market failures are partly the cause of the current lack of security of the Internet. Steps must be taken to address the externalities arising from lack of security (entities that do not secure their systems sufficiently do not bear all the costs of security breaches), and to address information asymmetries (consumers have no way of knowing which services are sufficiently secure). At the same time, it is imperative to protect human rights, protect data privacy, protect consumers and workers (in particular against abuse by dominant platforms), curtail unnecessary and disproportionate mass surveillance, address the issue of job destruction and wealth concentration engendered by the Internet’s current governance mechanisms, address the ethical issues arising from automation and artificial intelligence, and deal with platform dominance.
The body of the paper contains specific recommendations for each of these issues, as well as specific recommendations regarding how to address the under-representation of women in key decision-making structures in the ITU.