IGF 2023 WS #291 Inclusive Access for Women & Differently-Abled Youths


Digital Divides & Inclusion
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Organizer 1: Aji Fama Jobe, ISOC Youth Standing Group 🔒
Organizer 2: Dina Santana Santos, 🔒
Organizer 3: Denise Leal, UnB & SEBRAE Goiás

Speaker 1: ENERST MAFUTA KATOKA, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Thokozile Precious Miya, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Speaker 3: Marta Musidłowska, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Naijla Hellen, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Denise Leal, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Dina Santana Santos, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Aji Fama Jobe, Technical Community, African Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What measures can be taken to ensure that women and differently-abled youths have equal access to digital infrastructure such as the Internet, computers, and smartphones?

2. Are there any policies in place to ensure that women and differently-abled youths have equal access to digital skills training and employment opportunities in the technology sector?
3. How can we ensure that digital literacy programs are inclusive and accessible to women and differently-abled youths, particularly those from low-income backgrounds?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session will showcase successful best practices and case studies from around the world that have effectively addressed the digital divide for women and differently-abled youths. Participants can learn from these real-life examples and gain practical insights that can be applied in their own contexts. Participants will gain an understanding of the work done by youth-led initiatives, and access to a report that summarises the discussions, case analyses, and recommendations presented during the session; which will serve as a reference for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners involved in the field of Infrastructure alternative.
Overall, it is expected to stimulate the engagement of youth leaders, policymakers, and platforms. In the end, we will invite participants to review our work and discuss our proposals, while the output of this session will be shared with governments, international and non-governmental organizations.


The digital divide refers to the unequal distribution of technology and access to the internet, which often falls along socioeconomic and gender lines. Women and differently-abled youths face unique barriers to accessing technology due to factors such as lower incomes, lack of education, cultural norms that limit their participation in the workforce, and physical limitations. Bridging the digital divide and promoting inclusive access to technology requires a concerted effort, with a focus on strategies that can benefit women and differently-abled youths.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), women are 23% less likely to use the internet than men globally. Additionally, the ITU estimates that there are over 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, many of whom face significant barriers to accessing technology and the internet. The lack of access to technology and the internet disproportionately affects women and differently-abled youths in low-income countries, where basic infrastructure such as electricity and reliable internet access is often lacking.

This lack of access to technology limits women's ability to access information, participate in the digital economy, and engage with the world around them.
Moreover, a study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that women with disabilities face additional barriers to accessing technology, including inaccessible websites and software, a lack of accessible devices and assistive technology, and a lack of digital literacy training tailored to their needs.

These statistics highlight the urgent need for strategies to bridge the digital divide and promote inclusive access to technology for women and differently-abled youths. By addressing the barriers that prevent them from accessing technology, we can help to ensure that they have equal opportunities to participate in the digital age and benefit from the advantages that technology can offer.

Expected Outcomes

1. Increased awareness and understanding of the importance of digital inclusion and the role that policies and programs can play in promoting greater equity and access.
2. Improved access to assistive technologies for differently-abled youths, enabling them to participate more fully in the digital economy and society.
3. Improved data collection and monitoring of digital inclusion policies, enabling policymakers to track progress and make data-driven decisions to improve outcomes and impact.

Hybrid Format: The session aims to facilitate a roundtable where participants will be part of the session itself.
Tentative agenda:
5’: Introduction and background. The moderator explains how the session will take place and points out that attendees can ask questions by using the hand-raising option or in the chat (online), or by requesting the floor (onsite).
40’: The moderator introduces the policy issues and addresses the speakers with questions in a roundtable fashion.
10’: Open floor. The moderator invites all participants to take the floor either online or onsite.
5’: Key takeaways (rapporteur) and conclusions.

The session is going to ensure interactions through a Q&A and comment section in the online application where the session will be taking place (e.g. Zoom). Both online and onsite moderators will make sure that the questions and comments are not overlooked through effective communication, but play an important role throughout the session