It is critical to ensure that women are active participants in digital life. Without this we won’t reach full economic empowerment. This is the perspective and focus I bring to the UN High Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment (HLP), which met last week in Costa Rica, hosted by President Luis Guillermo Solis.
(Here is the previous blog post on this topic.)
Many thanks to President Solis, who led with both commitment and authenticity. Here he shows his prowess with selfie-taking:
Members of the High Level Panel – From Left to Right: Tina Fordham, Citi Research; Laura Tyson, UC Berkeley; Alejandra Mora, Government of Costa Rica; Ahmadou Ba, AllAfrica Global Media; Renana Jhabvala, WIEGO; Elizabeth Vazquez, WeConnect; Jeni Klugman, Harvard Business School; Mitchell Baker, Mozilla; Gwen Hines, DFID-UK; Phumzile Mlambo, UN Women; José Manuel Salazar Xirinachs, International Labour Organization; Simona Scarpaleggia, Ikea; Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam; Fiza Farhan, Buksh Foundation; Karen Grown, World Bank; Margo Thomas, HLP Secretariat.
Photo Credit: Luis Guillermo Solis, President, Costa Rica
In the meeting we learned about actions the Panel members have initiated, and provided feedback and guidelines on the first draft of the HLP report. The goal for the report is to be as concrete as possible in describing actions in women’s economic empowerment which have shown positive results so that interested parties could adopt these successful practices. An initial version of the report will be released in September, with the final report in 2017. In the meantime, Panel members are also initiating, piloting and sometimes scaling activities that improve women’s economic empowerment.
As Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women often says, the best report will be one that points to projects that are known to work. One such example is a set of new initiatives, interventions and commitments to be undertaken in the Punjab, announced by the Panel Member and Deputy from Pakistan, Fiza Farhan and Mahwish Javaid.
Mozilla, too, is engaged in a set of new initiatives. We’ve been tuning our Mozilla Clubs program, which are on-going events to teach Web Literacy, to be interesting and more accessible to women and girls. We’ve entered into a partnership with UN Women to deepen this work and the pilots are underway. If you’d like to participate, consider applying your organizational, educational, or web skills to start a Mozilla Club for women and girls in your area. Here are examples of existing clubs for women in Nairobi and Cape Town.
Mozilla is also involved in the theme of digital inclusion as a cross-cutting, overarching theme of the HLP report. This is where Anar Simpson, my official Deputy for the Panel, focuses her work. We are liaising with companies in Silicon Valley who are working in the fields of connectivity and distribution of access to explore if, when and and how their projects can empower women economically. We’re looking to gather everything they have learned about what has been effective. In addition to this information/content gathering task, Mozilla is working with the Panel on the advocacy and publicity efforts of the report.
I joined the Panel because I see it as a valuable mechanism for driving both visibility and action on this topic. Women’s economic empowerment combines social justice, economic growth benefits and the chance for more stability in a fragile world. I look forward to meeting with the UN Panel again in September and reporting back on practical and research-driven initiatives.