IGF 2020 WS #291 Women in Tech: experiences from three continents


Organizer 1: Private Sector, Eastern European Group
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Eastern European Group
Organizer 3: Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Organizer 4: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 5: Private Sector, Eastern European Group
Organizer 6: Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Speaker 1: Bianka Siwińska, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Chen Christine, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Alicja Tatarczuk, Private Sector, Eastern European Group


Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1) How can we increase the participation of women in the technology sector and support young women in planning and building a career in the technological industry, science and innovation. 2) What practical actions can be taken to ensure gender mainstreaming, close gender gap and empower women and girls in the field of STEM. 3) How do we ensure that Internet governance processes are truly inclusive? What needs to be done to enhance the capacity of different actors (and especially those in developing and least-developed countries) to actively contribute to such processes and whose responsibility is it? 4) How do we best equip the workforce of the 21st century with the necessary skills to take advantage of the new employment opportunities that will result from digital transformation? How do we ensure that these skills and employment opportunities are available to all?

When it comes to the world of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, women are in the minority, making up about 30%, and this under-representation occurs in every region in the world. As digital transformation is touching every aspects of our lives in every corner of the world, we can't exclude a half of the population from it. STEM and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science. Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from STEM related fields. Unless this gender divide is specifically addressed, there is a risk that technology may exacerbate existing inequalities between women and men and create new forms of inequality.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


Technology can be the key to providing equal opportunities for women around the globe. At the same time, ICT remains an area where women commonly experience discrimination and exclusion – from access to digital jobs to cyber harassment, a lot remains to be done in order to achieve a level playing field. The aim of the session is to discuss strategies and tools to address the gender digital divide in national and international contexts through presenting and exchanging examples of good practice on gender equality in the technology industry and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). During this session women from three different continents, backgrounds and generations will share the stories about how the technological sector has been developing in their regions, and what were the challenges that these women in technology had to face and/or have been facing. The discussion will be enriched by the male perspective to ensure diversity of opinions and all-round approach to capacity-building towards gender equality in education and employment, and gender mainstreaming policies. Discussion will spotlight the key issues affecting women in the digital era. Keynote speaker: Madame Catherine Chen, Huawei’s Board Member and Senior Vice President (China). Speakers: Wanda Buk, Undersecretary of State/Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs (Poland), dr Bianka Siwińska, CEO Perspektywy Education Foundation (Poland), Madame Chen, Huawei’s Board Member and Senior Vice President (China), Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, genius young theoretical physicist, named new Einstein (USA), Rafał Rohoziński, CEO of SecDec Group and Zeropoint Security (Canada), profesor Piotr Płoszajski, Warsaw School of Economics (Poland). Moderator and Rapporteur: Olga Kozierowska, “Sukces Pisany Szminką” women's business portal (Poland) and Aigerim Fazylova, MSL Group (Poland), respectively

Expected Outcomes

The session is intended to produce policy recommendations with best practices in gender-mainstreaming and women empowerment in ICT/STEM by drawing from and building upon examples from different continents, perspectives and public-private partnerships.

The session will serve as a platform for dialogue and encourage the interaction between and participation of representatives from different stakeholder groups. It will also encourage online participation and active engagement of online community through sharing the session, its key takeaways and conclusions via internet (social media and website) to ensure a broader accessibility.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The session topic will encourage the active participation of all stakeholders (Governments, the private sector and civil society) in the policy process for the advancement of inclusive Internet Governance. This includes articulating the need for supporting research, compiling sex disaggregated statistics on ICT use and employment in the ICT/STEM sector, developing gender-specific indicators, and initiating innovative pilot projects to increase women’s access to and use of ICT. Gender equality aspects need to be fully incorporated in all work related to ICT/STEM at national, regional and global levels, including in the development of policies and regulatory frameworks, projects and research and data collection. The session will serve as a platform for these stakeholders to ascertain the needs and priorities of both women and men and the manner in which policy-making, planning and other activities can support equitable access, use and benefits, including employment opportunities.

Relevance to Theme: The session will contribute to the narratives of the tracks by engaging the IG community on the issues, challenges, and solutions for the achievement of an equitable and inclusive Internet. It will serve as a platform for a multi-stakeholder dialogue to ensure those with limited or no access to the Internet, such as those for which the internet is not accessible due to gender, or for any other reason, are now included and have equal opportunity to be meaningfully connected to the internet. Inclusion is also about the activities related to the achievement of an inclusive information society, about engaging all stakeholders and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and treated equally in the decision-making processes and ensuring that everyone has the right access, skills, and motivations to reap the social benefits of going online and participate in the digital economy.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.