Opening Remarks by Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
WSIS Forum 2022
WSIS TalkX: International Women's Day
8 March 2022
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and happy International Women’s Day! It is a day that celebrates women’s achievements, but also serves as a reminder of the struggles of women around the world.
So today let’s reflect in particular on all the women and girls suffering and being hurt and killed in Ukraine. Like all women in conflicts, they are at the greatest risk of gender-based violence and I am sure they are at the centre of our thoughts today.
Once more, this crisis reveals the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in people’s lives. In this case it can make the difference between life and death.
But the fact of the matter is that globally, the ability to connect remains profoundly unequal, with women trailing behind men in Internet access in most countries, but especially in poorer countries.
That is why gender equality is high on ITU’s agenda, from Girls in ICT Day, to EQUALS, to Women in Cyber.
Earlier today, ITU’s Secretary-General, Mr Houlin Zhao, highlighted our efforts in encouraging the active participation of women in ITU activities and leadership roles. For example, our goal for our upcoming Plenipotentiary Conference starting in September is to have at least 35 per cent of women delegates.
In the WSIS, we strive for 50/50 gender balance, and this was achieved at last year’s WSIS Forum.
Gender mainstreaming is central to the WSIS Process and a cross-cutting issue in the WSIS Action Lines.
At this year’s WSIS Forum we have launched a new WSIS Stocktaking Repository of Women in Technology - as part of the special track on ICTs and Gender Mainstreaming. It will bring together individuals committed to achieving gender equality, creating space for networking, mentorship sessions and documentation of best practices.
We will also soon be announcing the WSIS Gender Trendsetters, and we thank you for your nominations.
When women and girls are empowered, societies flourish, and ICTs can help achieve this since they are critical to address the most pressing issues we face—be it poverty, education, health, environment, and many others.
Not only is gender equality key to ensuring that no one is left behind, it is essential to the success of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
On this day, let us all show appreciation, respect, and love to all the incredible women in our lives.
Let us recommit to equality, to advance the SDGs and build a safe, prosperous and peaceful future for everyone everywhere.
Many thanks to all panelist for joining us, I am sure we will have an exciting exchange