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IGF 2017 - Day 0 - Salle 21+22 - Day Zero: Creating a World of Inclusion in Social and Economic Opportunities for Women from Developing Countries

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> Guys, I really am going to ask people to move down because we're probably only going to be about 25 people and we're going to be yelling at each other otherwise, or I'm going to be yelling at you.  That will be bad.

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>> Just checking to see if captioning is going to be started for the session in 2122.

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>> So while we're waiting, I'm going to give the usual warning that I'm now giving in every meeting I go to.  You're in Geneva.  It's Christmastime.  That's when the pick pockets come out.  So the Swiss government may not have publicized this, but do not leave your bags unattended.  If you are standing on the street is and you put your bag down, put it between your feet.  Make sure your purse or briefcase is not open.  Hold on to your court, blah, blah, blah.  Do not leave your credit cards unattended on the restaurant you go to, and don't assume because you're in a four or five star hotel that the thieves are not there.  We had a colleague whose backpack with her laptop and passport was taken out of the Hotel Royal while she was within probably two or 3 feet of it.  Just a little warning.  It's Geneva.  It's Christmastime.  And actually at the train station there are signs saying be aware of pick pockets.

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>> Okay.  We're going to get started in one minute.  We have folks coming in.

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>> So, guys, we're getting set up.  Omar is setting up some video cameras.  So we're going to have special effects later.  We'll also have the captioning.  I'm just going to introduce the topic and remind everybody how the session is going to work.  This is a working session.  So by that, what I mean is all of you are participating and contributing and we do have a program that we're going to talk through but it's going to be very dynamic and interactive because we've had some new volunteers to add to the discussion and our goal and Omar will then later talk about concepts which is he is helping to catalyze along with a few other people.  He'll introduce them.  But I'm going to explain the title to you.

Are we being captioned?  Yes, okay.

So let me just formally open it.  I'll explain the title.  My name is Marilyn Kade and Sabana Metori and I have created this session.  It is called Day Zero for a reason.  Not because it's on Day Zero.  But because for social and cultural barriers ‑‑ and I'm going to ask those of you in the back of the room, please come up closer to the front.  For countries where there are social and cultural barriers for women in particular to have access to ICTs, to digital literacy, and to the Internet for economic opportunity and to advance their personal lives and their family lives, it is still Day Zero.  So that title is there for a reason, to really send a message that, you know, there are many, many barriers, and we often talk about solutions and we sometimes propose that STEM is the answer or learning to code is the answer.  But in fact that's only a small part of the answer until we begin to address the social and cultural barriers where families do not recognize the important value of access to the online world to the Internet, to digital literacy, to content, to help them improve their family lives, their village lives, their society's lives, and to contribute to the economic opportunity for themselves, for their families, and countries.  So you will note that in the opening description it says that there's a Chinese proverb that says that women hold up half the world.  Maybe I'll finish that Chinese proverb by saying, but they rarely in most countries get a chance to choose which part of the world they hold up.  So what we're going to do today is in a very interactive environment, we're going to listen to women and men here who are working or from countries where there are social and cultural barriers that are holding back women's opportunities.  And then we're going to talk a little bit about what some of the ideas are to continue to address this.  It is not competing with any of the programs that already exist.  Its not replacing them.  It is just intended to create a new network of interested people who are sharing information about some of these unique challenges, because we often write about them and we read about them in big UN reports, but Sabana and I want to particularly humanize the understanding.  I want to introduce my co‑organizer, Sabana, and let her introduce herself.  And let's go around the room and everybody introduce themselves.

So Sabana, please.

>> Sabana:  Thank you, Maryann.

Hi, everyone, this is SAB.  I work with tech form of Afghanistan.  I also work with the society of Afghanistan and experience and yes from the first IGF I had the opportunity to be in many different workshops and then be part of a workshop organizing and this year as well.  So true to this workshop I hope as Maryann explained before at the beginning, we come with many inputs, as it's not only like kind of giving report or speaking, but talking about the culture and social values and also working on ideas, how we can like tackle these problems.  Thank you.

>> Maryann:  Thank you, Sabana.

So let's start down here and just introduce yourself, the country you're from, and what your affiliation is and what stakeholder group you're with.

>> Okay.  And this is Muhammed Zaid, director of cybersecurity for Afghanistan and this is my first IGF.  Just working around to find some ideas, new ideas, how I can help on the new industries of IT industries, especially in Afghanistan.  So far it's good.  Hopefully we can be a good participant in the future.

>> My name's Azig Tequa I work for the American University in Afghanistan.  Also affiliated with Internet Society Afghanistan and work with Chabanam and all other colleagues for the society in Afghanistan.  Thank you.

>> Hello everyone.  Zaimali, board director in Afghanistan, working closely with Omar and Sabana.  Thanks.

>> Hello everyone.  I am Sharbani from IT Bombay Institute of Technology Bombay.  I represent the broadband project at Indian Institute of Technology.  I'm a senior scientist there.  We work on setting up networks, community led networks and I'm looking at women entrepreneurs and trying to understand the digital gap and the gender gap in the digital divide.  Thanks.

>> Hello.  My name is Laticia.  I am 21 years old.  This is my first IGF.  I'm here as a part of the youth IGF and I've been working with girls empowerment as a project and I'm trying to apply this environment to girls that I know.

>> Hello.  My name is Kimmy, 18 years old.  I'm a developer.  I'm also here with the UNIGF from Brazil and there in San Paolo, I work especially as an vendors called technovation that's basically a program we do from girls from ten to 18 years old.  We teach them how to create an idea and be entrepreneurship, like she can have their own project to go and it is international.  The final is also in U.S. and all the girls they travel there and it is one of the amazing things.

>> Hello.  My name is Natalia.  I work for Brazil international committees.  I'm from technical community.  In Brazil I work with several project in gender and that's all.

>> Hi, everyone, my name is Subicha.  I used to be a professor at a university teaching journalism and communication.  Sabana, many congratulations for putting this session together.  It warms my heart.  Today I work with the industry in India with the cellular operators association that represents all the large telecommunications and technology Internet companies.  We've connected over a billion people when it comes to the telephone, but when comes to the Internet the penetration's only 28 percent.  Out of this, about 76 percent are mail.  You're looking at numbers where more and more people will come online.  Unique paradox where we've got now the largest number of people connected but an equally large number of people yet to come online.  And women are a huge part of that.  So kudos to you for putting this session together.  I used to be a former member of the MAG.  Been with the IGF.  Inspiration to work with Maryann.  This session is truly inspiring.  I'd like to do everything I can to contribute to make sure we're able to reflect cultural gender differences and patriarchy is real so I hear you Afghanistan.  Thank you for doing this.

>> Hi.  My name's Irsta I work for the UN agency, the ITU, International Telecommunication Union with the UN specialized agency on information communication technologies and we're very passionate about gender equality in tech.  Thank you so much to the organizers.  It's a real thrill to be here and I'm really looking forward to this session.  Thank you.

>> I'm Namani, executive with tetra tech, an engineering consulting company.  We are in 130 countries doing work on projects ranging from gender and development to Telecom and energy infrastructure.

>> Hello, my name is Usanya Herring, I'm a Turkish American person, and I work with techwoman.Asia as a portal manager, also involved in intergovernmental process, I coordinate the youth government turkey where we also make sure there's a gender balance and I will shortly speak about our Newportal tech woman and thank you for organizing this.

>> My name is Omar Ansari, I'm from Afghanistan running a company called techish.  I'm a Mac member, member of the business consultancy as well.  This is my like sixth IGF.

>> Mary.

>> Hello, everyone.  My name is Mary Udama.  I'm from Nigeria in West Africa, in Africa.  And I'm happy to be here.  I coordinate Nigeria Internet Governance Forum.  I also do some ICANN work with Cecil and have been a government advisory coordinate member of representative of Nigeria.  I also coordinated West Africa IGF.  This topic is very exciting to me and is something I need to hear in other jurisdiction.  In my own jurisdiction we have a lot of issues about gender, getting on to the Internet.  We have had divorces, somebody divorcing their wife because the wife was put a picture of her on Facebook and the man saw it and said, look, you are going from my house today.  So it's good and the issue of some of our women don't even think there's any value from the Internet, not talk of making ‑‑ getting engaged and getting empowered or getting economic relief from Internet.  So I absolute those that organize this and I'm hoping to see what will come out of this, whether we can run with the other strategies we will use to see how we get this passed onto our men.  The gap is very much wide but we can bridge it.  Thank you.

>> Good afternoon.  My name is Lauren Hill yard.  I'm from the Cook Islands in the Pacific.  Just trying to see if there was anyone else from the Pacific.  Hardly ever is.  But I'm actually unlike many of you, I'm an environmentalist consultant in the Pacific so I don't have that much to do with the Internet in my own hometown, although I have an EGO, which is a member of ICANN and it's the cook island Internet action group.  One of the things I do in my spare time is to lobby the government about things to do with the involvement of women and the Internet, anything to do that ‑‑ with affordability, all the issues that impact within users within a small island state is something that I sort of like to raise and therefore not very popular with the government of course.  I'm also vice chair of the ALEC and I can and do whatever I can to promote women at large and also to try and get them to engage actively in decision making in relation to the domain name system.  So that's me.  Thank you.

>>

 

>> Good afternoon.  My name is Janara Sosa.  I'm from Brazil.  I'm a professor at the university of Brazil.  Now I'm here.  I represent the project called Epschool, facing the alliance of women.  We work at the public schools teaching young girls how to do job applications and approach them to digital literacy.  This is a very important subject, especially in Brazil, just to give you for a number during the two years, the last two years girls killing themselves just because this position online.  So it's very serious.  We try to face this violence approach to the technology and digital technology.

>> Hello.  My name is Solidad Roybal from United States.  I am a consultant on tech policy issues.  I have experience previously working with the U.S. Government, State Department, and the ITU.  I am very interested in women's equality issue in digital equality as well as working on issues of indigenous communities and ensuring everyone has access and skills.  Thank you.

>> Hi.  I'm Helani I run a think tank that works in Southeast Asia on ICG related research.  We have been interested in gender for a long time, ever since we started doing national household surveys on ICTU and barriers.  With our partners in Latin America, we just completed nationally representative household and individual use of ‑‑ in 15 global subcountries, which provides a really interesting and somewhat sad data points about mobile phone ownership, Internet use, and economics of men compared to women.  Thanks.

>> I'm Garlin McCoy with technology education institute and involved in the IGF for ‑‑ I think this will be my 11th IGF.  This one in particular I'm ‑‑ well, have been focused all along, as has Maryann, others, connecting the next billion or global connect initiatives that are driving at trying to get citizen of this planet access affordable, reliable, local content and this year I'm trying to pull together my workshop is involved in bringing the technology changes that are affecting electricity generation and capture and I'm thinking that will help finally reach our goal of having Internet access and the kind of content that we'll be attractive as useful content.  I want everybody on board.  I think it's a powerful tool and I think coupled with the technology that's coming on board both generating electricity and capturing storing electricity the synergistic effects of both are going to be excellent.

>> Marilyn speaking again.  Before you speak say your name and say is very clearly so I don't get to take credit for your wonderful words because all of the statements I like that I credited to woman speaking, I take credit for.  So Marilyn speaking.  I did update the write‑up, but I want to ask Sabana to talk about her experience in Afghanistan in launching TechWomen.  And then I want to perhaps turn to you, Mary, to talk about ‑‑ further about some of the challenges that you see in Nigeria and then, Alandia, I would like to come back to you for you to talk more about the great research that you do.  It's really fantastic.  So this is not to seclude anyone, and I know that Subi I'm going to turn to you at some point because you did a tremendous amount of work with young women in India when you were a professor.  And I think ‑‑ so we'll set the stage by talking about the different experiences that are driven by social and cultural challenges.  We're going to be frank about it, but remember that we are in Day Zero but we are in a UN meeting.  We're in a UN venue.  So I want you to remember it's being captioned.  But I think we do need to be honest and frank about this.  There are about 12 other events related to gender and gender equality and other challenges that are taking place throughout the next four days, including a two‑hour session that is a main session.  And Namani if I might then I would come back to you and then to Ursula.  Then we'll come back to anyone else who wants to raise their hand and volunteer.  And I think Ursula, in your comments if you can announce the information about the opportunity to contribute.  Okay.  So Sabana.

>> Sabana:  Thank you, Marilyn.  Sabana speaking.

Okay.  So about subdivision of Afghanistan, it was 2013 and there was an information session about TechWomen Afghanistan.  At that time I was in university.  I went and joined a group of different individuals from different sectors such as from university and some people from prior sector.  After attending the information session I got to know that the idea of establishing a group of women in technology in Afghanistan is presented or brought through a male, not a female.  So from that time I got to know and just had this understanding that women who are involved in digital technology or user of Internet, they didn't have such an idea to establish such a network of women in ICT and it's brought by me and then that was during my university and then I also did some research things and then we gathered many other females who studied in this field or who had a passion and also interest and again from this experience we had many cases, many females who after joining for some while left back the group or the work and the mentality they had was like this group of women working for women in technology and such issues in country and also like for ‑‑ like for organizing times even and overall mentality ‑‑ or understanding they got from establishing this network was that maybe the only work women will do is teaching girls or students only how to code or how they learn coding and only this mind‑set and to be honest I had the same understanding at the beginning until I got that what should be when after working for many years and also from getting different experiences from ISOC Afghanistan establishment and attending IGF.  Overall like vision of TechWomen I got that is for discussing or addressing the digital literacy of women, and by that it doesn't mean that when you study computer science you are taking part in digital literacy of your country or if you're using computer for office work, you're part of that, no.  Then the idea was clear for the teams who are working and who worked, and also then for members that TechWomen focuses on digital literacy issues and discussing this idea and also working towards it and explaining to others and getting others to take part and discussing what are the challenges and how they can be tackled and also from year to year it was clear to members and also to the stakeholders, different stakeholders and audiences of activities of TechWomen that the ideas to speeding the awareness towards digital literacy and also the idea how digital literacy can change your life, how can they use it for different areas for education, for health sector for entrepreneurship, for establishing businesses for being independent that can change your life and how they can use from technology or from Internet for their own benefit or for at least for some women who ‑‑ and girls at least to have digital literacy use of technology.  For accessing Internet and also accessing different uses for basic day to day of like stuff, such as transfer of minute knee banking or just to like look for something and Internet or how they can like use tech tools for educating their children and also how they can use like for health and it was like ‑‑ sorry the unique difference of TechWomen Afghanistan and other working groups of women in technology in other countries is they working in very high level, as we have like understood.  They are working in different high levels.  For example, they are gathering the girls and women who are like in the field of technology and how they use coding for different visions, but what we set as our goals and mission and TechWomen Afghanistan that we first speed awareness towards digital literacy and how there are gender inequality in digital literacy and step by step we go further to the upper levels.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  Sabana, before we go on, I'm going to ask you to say a few words and ‑‑ a little bit more about the cultural and social barriers that women face, not just in Kabul because you grew up in Kabul, and Omar may want to comment on that as well, but I'd like us to focus in just a couple of minutes what the real barriers are, because you're describing an effort to take steps to solve a problem, but there are many, many cultural and social barriers as well as an Afghanistan very unique situation due to the fact that the country is post conflict country.

>> Thank you.  Again, Sabana speaking.

About the challenges, especially and cultural challenged, there are many.  And the source with the program name and also goals, for example, it's TechWomen of Afghanistan.  The mentality for different level of people in Afghanistan, maybe in many developing countries that mostly been considered technology activities or use of Internet as a western kind of act and some of them don't like have interest, don't like it or don't like support their both, not only females but also for their male members as well use of technology or Internet.  It's considered a kind of western staff to do when you are working with tech tools or with Internet also.  The other ‑‑ one of the other major problems with ‑‑ also considered social and crowd share is that they have this mentality that ‑‑ and this is the fact that tech is male dominant in majority of countries and as well as in Afghanistan.  So they accepted this fact and for that reason they don't try and trace or they don't let their like women or girls who are in their family to take part at least who are studying who are in academy to make more position in this.  For example, they're all like ‑‑ as we know many events and like conferences or some meetings towards this ideal towards like different programs or meetings are after ‑‑ so they don't let their daughters or whoever in their family to like go to university or go to work and then submitted an event which is towards like user ‑‑ and the other problem is they don't ‑‑ if this problem is solved for them and it's not like a problem for that, but when it comes to supporting them financially, they don't accept this and then we like come to the other challenge, which is the economic and financial challenge that women face in order to like attend different like forums or different sessions.  For example, we had the first tech woman summit in 2015 and we didn't have so much fun to call expanses from other provinces, from north or west Afghanistan.  There were like some girls who wanted to participate and then take this idea to different regions but through fund problem and financial problem and not having support from their families they couldn't participate.  And one of the like biggest problem that the ‑‑ many of us like for many times discussed and we have faced that is not knowing the real benefits changed or the understanding of what does this digital literacy means to them.  So if families or if different males understood what digital literacy can benefit them or what advantages it has or it doesn't mean only use of Internet only for Facebooking or only for like being connected to What's App to your friends or family members through use of technology and also Internet you can like go and learn a language, for example.  Not knowing the real like advantages, it comes to like education, awareness of using technology on Internet and on different levels.  On the basic level it means they don't like really understand the basic advantages or ‑‑ but this program can benefit them, not only the females but overall their families, their community, and coming to the country.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you.  So I hear us beginning to describe some of the cultural and social barriers.  I'm going to turn to Mary.  Mary is from Nigeria but she mentioned some of the leadership roles that she has, of course, worn and I do see we have some new folks in.  We're going to have trouble seeing you.  If you want to move up closer that would be great.  I'm going to speed this along, Mary.  I'm going to ask you to talk about some of the barriers.  I think many of you know Nigeria is very complex and very large country and it has national states as well as a ‑‑ states as well as a national government but it has some significant diversity as does Afghanistan with the tribal issues that exist in particular in Afghanistan, some other countries but also in many of the African countries and Mary, if you could maybe three or four minutes on some of the barriers that you see driven by cultural and social status in your country.

>> Thank you.  My name is Mary.  I'm from Nigeria.  As Marilyn said, I will just be concentrating on the cultural and social barriers to women getting on to the Internet.  First is that when we have the digital divide within our country in the cities and they have access to the Internet.  In the rural areas and some states as she said they may not have access.  So accessibility is first.  Then affordability is another one.  Why the city lady can afford to have a mobile phone that can access the Internet.  Other women may not be able to do that.  Then there is availability, even when you have the funds to buy your Internet and all that, it might not be available where you are.  Those that are connected who go to school get education, be a coder and their families, their husbands will not allow them to work.  So they cannot express themselves.  They can't take advantage of what the Internet presents.  Because if you work in the IT or industrial industry, first they don't want men to see their wives.  Some of our women are in Pudlah.  That they cover their faces so you don't see them.  That's a big challenge.  When we went to the northeast IGF because we do the national and we go to the state or region, we did the northeast IGF.  The women there told me they were not allowing their children to access the Internet, its a devilish thing to access the Internet.  Internet will spoil their children.  They will get things they are not supposed to do.  Some of the men said, look, it is against our culture to stoke expose our women.  What did I answer?  I said look, the truth is that is it true that you can use to train yourselves.  Even if you're not allowed to work, if you have Internet access you can be engaged in training other women to know the benefit of the Internet.  So that's a lot of barrier to us.  And at the point government got this what we call wallet that most of our women, they do agriculture, but they have the mobile phone.  They can call.  They can get the text for where to get their materials, but they don't have access to the Internet.  They may not know how to use the Internet.  So those are things that I also said that it is the education arena, most are not educated enough to be able to access the Internet.  They don't even understand.  And then I think ‑‑ some say their girl children, they don't allow their girl child to go to school, not of talk to get the Internet.  Those are still some barriers we still have within our country.  It's not only in our country.  It's some African countries.  In Africa you have a lot of them in one particular the sensitive religious issues so for that they won't be able to do other women will do when it comes to the Internet.  So those are the things I said for the visibility, I said there's cultural and traditional issues and there's the literacy, level of literacy and then the divide that we have between the urban and rural women.  Let me stop there.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you.  And I'm going to ask you ‑‑ because you do so much research in the Asia region, if you could describe a little bit about the cultural and social barriers that you're seeing.  I know we're going to hear about your research in other settings, but you are both from the region and also very knowledgeable about it.  Then we will go to Subi.

>> Subi:  Not just in our region across the global south.  Some of the factors about families come up repeatedly.  If you look at the barriers to being I don't know line, you need access to a device, either your own or somebody else's and then you then need to know how to use it.  You need a signal and then you need to feel like there's something you need to do.  African context you probably need electricity as well.  If you look at the first barrier, that is real.  Access to a mobile phone is still a be pro.  It's almost not a problem in Latin America when it comes to owning a mobile phone if you look at statistically the gender gap is almost gone as many women roughly on a phone as men.  In Africa this is a real barrier.  The gender gap will vary from anything from 10 percent up to the high thirties.  In Asia it varies, let's say Cambodia it's 20 percent, gender gap between men and women, and in India this is last month's survey data.  It's 45 percent.  It's really, really high.  That's nearly halfs as many women.  Women are half as likely to have their own phone compared to men.

Now, when it comes to using the phone, we kind of see interesting trends.  When it comes to using the phone for voice and data you see actually that women are quite happy to share and use somebody else's phone.  So in fact, women in the house sometimes have more frequent calling than men because I guess men don't like to share, whatever, but when it comes to Internet, which is a very personal experience involving passwords and that kind of stuff, we see that for the gap in phone ownership is really ask a exacerbated when it comes to Internet use.  So again you hardly see a difference in some of the richer Latin American companies, Paraguay, Uruguay, et cetera.  In a country like Nigeria, the phone gap is 17 percent but the Internet gender gap is 46 percent.  Much more.  They have a phone but they're not actually using it.  In a country like Cambodia, 60 percent, in40 percent people who have not used the Internet.  Number has really sort of become worse.  Now let me tell you a story about the barriers.  We worked in Mianmar.  This is the latest country to deregulate.  We did surveys in 2015, 16, two years in a year.  The gender gap did not move.  It was 28 percent in 2015.  It was 28‑point something roughly in 2016.  This is surprising because Mianmar in the literature is a much more friendly society for women.  They don't have to change their names after marrying, this is very well documented, let's put it that way.  Certainly compared to India and Pakistan, for example, yet they have this big gender gap.  We looked at why.  And in a whole series of focus groups, around 76 of those, what we saw is indeed women are quite powerful.  They are the chief financial officers of the family.  Even the daily wage earners will go and give at the end of the week the money to the woman and she budgets and then allocates money.  So she will decide when they can buy a phone and how much they can pay for a phone and yet because she has very low technical knowledge the man will go to decide which package to get, what phone, what kind of data Internet they're going to use and she does not know how to use this.  Second, because the woman works inside the household and because most likely the men are the ones who work outside the household or whoever works outside the household gets the phone and it goes outside of the house.  Sometimes if it goes with the young daughter who's in school.  It is quite good about giving phones to women but then the woman in the house has no access to the phone.  Statistically this is very interesting because you see across the countries the dominant reasons women are not online are economics and education.  If you control for every other factor.  Yet even in a country like Mianmar, if you control for everything, meaning if you assume a woman suddenly becomes a woman, if you suddenly make them earn the same, all of that, still women are 42 percent less likely to get a phone.  All kinds of cultural norms, practices, et cetera, built into even if you equalize the income and education barriers which are real you will still possibly have a gender gap because there are other factors as to why women don't ‑‑ aren't online.  My last point is when they are online and I think this is not going to be any kind of news to anybody here they have sort of gender specific problems they have to deal with.  In Mianmar, again, over 70 users who have been online for over a year.  These are not new users.  When they would talk about the problems they had online, you repeatedly hear things from women that you never hear from men.  For example, either not posting photos of yourself or only posting photos hard to edit.  Just above your chin line kind of thing.  So it cannot be photo shopped, right?  And this is in the common lingo because the number of times they get photo shopped into a sort of shameful photo in that culture is real.  You never hear men talking about that problem.  Men talk about their accounts getting hacked.  Women therefore enter and use Facebook either sometimes, this is very surprising either through a male identity, they take a male name and tick the male box so then they can have certain conversations much easier than they can as women or they immediately open an account as a female and post a picture of their son and daughter and husband.  I'm signaling to the world quote/unquote that I'm a married woman and therefore sort of above certain harassments that you might want to do because harassment is, again, gender focused.  Can you take a photo send me a picture that kind of stuff.  Experience once they are online is again quite different depending on what kind of woman or man you are.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you.  And Subi?

>> Subi:  Thank you, Marilyn.  I think it's been a great session so far.  It's amazing how you think you come from different parts of the world yet when you speak you echo the same sentiments.  Many of the things Sabana and Umari touched my heart.  It's not the countries leading liberal arts college that I taught.  Also currently teaching a few courses in policy at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi which is the capital of the country.  There are different things that deli and India known for and culture is one of the things but we're increasingly looking at how violence against women online is a recurring conversation to have.  It's at this Institute of Technology that two women came across and young students who needed help because they were being bullied online.  We're looking at important question.  We're discussing inclusion, looking at diversity, also looking at how you can address questions of access where we earlier talked about there are just about 28 percent of Indians online and that's a huge number because when it comes to numbers, both India and China are great as far as statistical samples come.  What we looked at and I just completed the first primary study in India where we interviewed about 700 editors and journalists.  Not just social and economic values.  Patterns in democracies where there's a lot of diversity, they surprise you.  When you have to humanize these numbers and when you go deeper you really learn about experiences.  So whether it's patriarchy which is preserve lent in India, despite different kinds of cultures, family systems, Sabana, you talked about that, we echo these consequences.  We also have the same lived experiences.  What is changing, a lot of women whether it comes to agriculture, e‑commerce, they're coming online.  That I think is the single biggest contribution that IGF has made.  It's made this conversation around policy multistakeholder.  It is an open platform.  Though we sit in a UN building as Marilyn reminded us, for the record I am Dr. Subi.  So we can spell that right.  Despite no social barriers, despite some economic challenges, even in families with multiple devices where you have access to a laptop, where you have access to a cell phone, who you negotiate these spaces with, how much time you can spend online, what kind of sites you're visiting, what kind of choices you're making online, that evolution of decision making, how does it come down to the last and least most important common denominator which is the woman in the family.  What is equally disturbing for us is to see how sons and daughters are growing up differently and how the mother will be treated when she has a device.  If it's a father who's holding the device he's doing some important work which relates to the office and he's the breadwinner of the family, if it's the mother she needs to go back to the kitchen because the son is hungry or daughter's yelling for some noodles.  In a lived experience of food instant conversations, instant relationships, as far as public policy is concerned, a very wise friend once told me if you are not on the table you'll probably be on the menu.  What we need are more women in the room negotiating their policy where inclusion and diversity are not just notional, where you are looking for policies of the Internet, one of the biggest updates in developing countries and emerging economies has been the availability of local language content.  So how do you get people online is the first barrier and access remains a really important challenge.  In India there's been an explosion of sorts because both the cost of device as well as the cost of data, they have come down.  It's less than a dollar and you have about a GB of data for a month.  And now the large tell coms are actually competing with each other to bring this price down further.  But that ‑‑ has in a shown a significant increase in the women who have come online?  Not really.  Because you look at the language in which they're operating, digital literacy is a real challenge and as much as a challenge is digital policy literacy.  What happens to you after you come online is the freedom of the speech.  After you have spoken what kind of laws exist in your country, will they protect you?  We've seen people going to jail for section 66A which was considered unconstitutional and scrapped by the highest court of the country yet that dev solution of information to the police and law enforcement where you can not send people to jail for liking a Facebook or sharing on Facebook still hasn't happened.  The social stigma of honor sadly enough has still rested on the shoulders of women in the family.  It would be terrible if somebody called you out for saying something, doing something God forbid in the social realm.  What we've sort of mapped so far are challenges.  When it comes to inclusion and diversity, what would be helpful is this creation of safe spaces.  What we ended up doing as an experiment through the foundation is going to cashmere, going to conflict areas and going to areas where special armed forces power given to a particular stakeholder group in society and these are regions which have been experiencing turbulence for quite some time.  So if you could just create these spaces where women could talk, women could exchange best practices, even talk about what the law really reads like where nobody else is interpreting the constitution for them, those experiences were extremely helpful in Kashmir, equally helpful in New Delhi.  What you learned was despite the location, despite in your lived in ‑‑ whether you came from a wealthy family or were poor, the stifling of voices and the chilling of speech was happening everywhere.  This kind of support when came for women was extremely enabling and the fact you had recourse in law.  I guess there's a door but you have to keep knocking until you can bring it down.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you.subi, you remind me when I went to Afghanistan at the invitation of the organizers of the first Afghan IGF, I met a young woman there who is a practicing lawyer and her practice is about educating women what their rights are and I think that's one of the things that I see as a barrier is that women don't know what their rights are, men don't know what women's rights are and there's no place ‑‑ in many cases the law or protection mechanism is not well developed in certain countries, which is an additional barrier.  If I could please, Namimi, your company works in many different countries and cultures.

>> Yes, thank you.  I'm Melanie Newman from United States.  I was born in Washington state.  My family is originally from Sri Lanka so I look Sri Lankan.  It was interesting to hear some of the other comments about harassment and people needing to be careful about what they put online and because we have those issues in the United States as well.  It's important to recognize it's a global issue.  It's coming up the issues of harassment.  It's been really powerful the role of the Internet in addressing that.  I'm sure you've all seen the hash tag me too.  It's become this massive moment in the U.S. that's beyond the Internet and beyond gender and really about women in our society and work and coming up in every context where people are really rethinking how women should be treated and you have people stepping down from political office, people stepping down from professional life because of how they've treated women and I think it's a good reminder of what we see online is really a reflection of what's in realize and vice versa.  Digital gender divide as we know is growing.  250 million more men online than women.  Tetra tech, our company does work in gender in all aspects of our work.  So we do a lot around gender and energy.  The energy is really important.  But women have a gap there as well as we have a gap in Internet access.  So it's ‑‑ we do workaround addressing how to ‑‑ we make sure women have access to energy because they're the ones spending all the time getting supplies to light their stoves at night.  Similarly with water.  You know, it's the women going to gather the water.  So working on water issues in a gender sensitive way.  We can bring what we're doing there to the Internet and thinking about how can we create systems where women are online as well as men.  USAID which is a major client of ours recently came out in November with a digital survey toolkit which I'm sure people in this room would be really interested in.  It looks at how we collect data around ICT and gender.  It has kind of norms for surveys, qualitative and quantitative norms focusing on local data collection and really pushing to go from the what to the why around data.  So I commend that to everyone in the room who might be interested in what kind of resources are out there.  We've also seen other donors being interested in the gender and Internet space.  So DIFIK, UK government's aide agency is looking at doing more programming around Internet access in developing countries, looking at gender in particular and also looking in rural areas because we find marginalized groups in rural areas and women all over being really important.  If those aren't paid special attention to then they get left further behind and the real life gaps are exacerbated.

>> Thank you for that.  And thank you for mentioning the survey.  Actually, we had an invited speaker from 360FHI who was going to present about that survey, but she was not able to make it.  So I will ‑‑ I passed around a sign‑in sheet.  If you haven't signed in and you want to I will post that survey to everyone and I want to go to Ursula now because the ITU has been doing a significant amount of work in the gender area for some time but you're also a part of the group in Geneva itself, that is working to improve the awareness about equality.  Since we're focused on social and cultural barriers, perhaps we'll focus most on that and then if you would announce that opportunity for comment.

>> Thank you very much.  Yes, I briefly wanted to mention there's an initiative called equals, equals.org which is focused on bringing women and girls to tech and tech to women and girls.  But the particular approach it takes is really about recognizing all the amazing work being done in so many countries around the world.  What is the opportunity to connect the dots so we can all share what's working and what's not as well so that all the different initiatives can be more impactful, both on their own but also coming together through collective action to work on some of these common challenges, et cetera.  I encourage to you have a look at equals.org.  Also an action map there where we're trying to gather information about all these amazing initiatives so it's easier for everyone to see what others are doing.  Therefore be able to identify gaps and opportunities also to work together.

Second thing I wanted to mention and thank you so much Marilyn for flagging this is that there is an opportunity right now to help policymakers around the world understand how important gender divide and addressing it is and to address further awareness about your initiatives.  I have a little flier I want to hand out.  Basically the ITO has a council working group which is made up of policymakers and very excitingly they have decided to seek stakeholders views around the world on the topic of bridging the gender digital divide and they have this open consultation process.  Thank you so much which we'll hand around this flier now.  And you can ‑‑ theres five questions.  You can answer one.  You can answer all of them.  You can submit a link to your fantastic work.  You can upload a PDF, write a comment.  The key reason I really encourage you to do that is not just to raise the awareness of why you are work but what often happens I think, you know, politicians they look at even the numbers, how many people have raised an issue.  That means how many people care about this issue and they have formulas about that if say five people submit something, that means that exam number actually care about it.  I really encourage you whatever you submit to go to this link, submit something.  It's open until 23 December and then they actually have an in‑person one for those who can make it on the 22nd of January.  The more submissions they get the more it's communicating directly to them this is a really important issue, a lot of really exciting work is going on and they should support it.  I really encourage you to I can at that up this student to communicate about the fantastic work you are doing.  Thank you very much for the opportunity, Marilyn.

>> Marilyn:  So what I want to do now, I want to ask for just three people who would like to speak for two minutes about what is going on that's related to social cultural barriers.  I'm going to look at Maureen for a minute.  And then I'm going to turn to our two youth attendees and give you both a couple of minutes to talk about what you see as the cultural and social barriers.  I also want to hear from Brazil so we can hear a little bit about what's going on and then who is here that hasn't spoken that wants to take another two minute slide?  I'm looking at some of the newcomers here.  Maureen.

>> Maureen:  Thank you.  I think one of the things we wanted to mention was the fact within Pacific cultures there's a bit of a social hierarchy.  Sometimes people aren't encouraged.  The social hierarchy isn't restricted to women.  It's cross genders.  And that if you are not a particular status, you aren't encouraged to have a point of view.  And I think that the more education and the fact women ‑‑ yeah, women in particular are encouraged to be educated along with the education and this new technology having that knowledge does actually empower them.  Does empower them to actually select, be able to say something because they have knowledge that is above and different from what is the normally accepted sort of like traditional sort of like knowledge that people sort of like use as a barrier to having their say.  One of the things I did want to sort of like mention too was the fact the use of mobiles.  40,000 people, every single person including like we're talking skill kids as well has a mobile but I think what happens is the mobile use is major text messaging and also specific apps.  So that the only time that you get to use the Internet as such, especially for adults, is at work.  Because not very many of them are connected to the Internet because it's so unaffordable.  When it's unaffordable women, probably ones disadvantaged because they're home maybe looking after their kids.  They don't have it at home, they don't have that opportunity to use the Internet for personal development, for getting ‑‑ just being able to up‑skill themselves, that's where the inequities lie.

>> Remember to say your name.

>> Laticia speaking.  I work in the Lionel search about sexism and hate speech against women in social networks and there are just absurd that I've seen while doing this research.  For example, years ago, a couple years ago there was rape that became very famous in all country.  While this rape was in the news, I saw all the time in the FB, for example, and the victim blamed by the act.  She was being blamed just for being a woman.  I as a woman felt very constrained.  I felt stricken too and I think that it's one of the barriers that we have to overcome.  This is one of them, that women have to suffer such violence in social networks.  Women will have greater participation in social ‑‑ in the networks when they felt safe to interact and have the place to interact assured.  When they can participate in ‑‑ vulnerable they will have this overcome.

>> Kimmy speaking.  One of the things that I do think that it's hard for women is when we grow up, everybody told us to be something, like they taught us to take care or and like create children.  And the thing about the program that I'm investor here at the technovation is we teach girls from ten to 18.  Basically they're not that shaped by society so you can teach them like think differently.  Be your own.  Have something for your own and the impact that you see, it's not ‑‑ most of them don't actually go to technology or be a computer engineer or something, but you can feel that it changed their lives.  Like they started thinking differently.  They started to think they can do it also and they want to do it.  The programs, there are girls they created their own startups after the program.  One of the things we do like is to encourage others.  That's the main thing about it.  It's like couldn't you bring in some way that you can help someone.  You wanted to say something about Brazil?

And as like informatic student, I feel likes in Brazil it is hard.  If you see like on San Paolo university, one of the first pictures of the graduation class, it was full of women.  Now you see one of them ‑‑ nowadays you will see one or two.  You had a lot of girls like a lot of women acting on tech part and now we don't.  San Paolo we're trying to change a lot of it so you can easily find a lot of programs that teaches women how to code or be entrepreneurs or ‑‑ how to break the ceiling glass.

>> Marilyn:  I can I can take two more speakers and you're going to speak, right, and then we have a volunteer down here and one over here.  You want to go ahead?

>> Hi.  My name is Sedra, I'm from Pakistan.  I represent code from Pakistan here.  I have a technical background.  I have a technical degree and with startups have been working in the industry for over ten years as a research professional.  I'm representing go for Pakistan here.  We are a nonprofit organization in building civic innovation ecosystem in our country.  We work with governments, civic society organizations and other communities, volunteers to work around solutions that can help improve the civic life in Pakistan.  Among our programs we do our initial objective is to create civic engagement and then do some fellowship programs and collaboration with government, engage audience through conducting hackathons, innovation challenges and then there is an exclusive program around women in tech because we believe there is a need to bring more women in the sector and they can help identify more problems around gender problem, et cetera.

Back in Pakistan, sorry for joining late, I don't inn if mentioned or not, I think most of our problems in Pakistan are around the cultural issues and all the norms involving there.  We are a country with over 200 million population and 48 percent of them are women and talking more about numbers within the tech industry we are hardly 14 percent of the whole population.  We believe there is ‑‑ and within those 14 percent we have loads of problem because of that we have a huge dropout number as well.  So there is a desperate need to work on both interest groups that is to bring upon more women leaders and enthusiasts on board.  Apart from that retaining those already working.  Regarding the cultural, I would specifically like to highlight the culture doesn't allow or promote or encourage women participation in many sectors.  A lot of people and many families still believe there should be segregated institutes for their education or workforce or employment and that's one of the reasons why many women back there in our country are still working at the labor level.  I'm from the capital and it is considered as education where there are 30 universities and only 28 percent of ‑‑ 28 universities following the coed occasion system and just two universities are women only institutes.  So I think there is a need to bring some cultural awareness and to highlight the fact that ‑‑ and apart from that there is a need to bring on more success stories around women female leaders and women who are bringing change all over the country.  I could talk more and more on that but I think I'll restrict myself.  We'll talk more after session maybe.  Thank you.

>> Sidra, it's Marilyn.  I'm going to share an exchange publicly between myself and someone from your country at a UN meeting where there was a discussion about some of the really wonderful programs that are underway in Pakistan but the story that I was being told is the young women are being taught really Microsoft skills, coding skills, office management skills and they are becoming somewhat westernized in their attitude and they no longer wear head scarves when they go to work.  And they're going into government offices with much older people and there's a real stigma attached to the idea they've now become very westernized because they have been exposed to technology and they're no longer respecting the cultural expectation of wearing a head scarf when you go to work and not wearing high heels and not wearing a short western skirt.  It was a really interesting exchange and I said but you're doing so much work in your country to help train the women.  And she said, Marilyn, I'm a woman.  I can change ‑‑ I can educate the women.  I'm a woman.  I can't educate the men.  And I thought that was a really interesting comment because I am later going to refer to Omar and ask him a question specifically about this, but first of all, we have more quick speakers, two minutes and two minutes, okay?  And remember to tell us your name.

>> Hello.  I'm Jara from Kenya.  I'm on Internet Society youth at the IGF.  So in Kenya women contribute to more than half of the labor force.  Yet these women, agriculture being the backbone of our economy, these women don't have the opportunity to use it to economically empower themselves and the main issue in Kenya is infrastructure.  So I think that in infrastructure is our biggest problem.  It's not really culture I think and most of these people in these places can actually read, they can write but they don't have access.  So in conjunction with other youth at IGF that I met five of them we cofunded an organization called digital grass roots, which aims to bridge digital divide by trying to the government and our countries to provide infrastructure at the grass roots level.  Thank you.

>> That's fantastic comment.  Thank you so much for making it.  And we have one more and then I'm going to introduce Omar.

>> Thank you so much.  My name is Esther from Zambia.  I'm ISOC IGF fellow.  In ‑‑ safety first for girls.  This is an organization that works with young women to raise awareness on safety issues.  In my work in Zambia I've discovered even from the stories that we're telling here that the online issues that we're experiencing as women, like access issues of gender inequality, patriarchy, these issues are a reflection of our society offline.  Therefore in order to resolve these online issues we have to work on the offline issues as well.

In my work in Zambia there is a belief that worse than NGOs are breaking marriages so to say.  There is a belief that gender equality is not culturally ours but it's being imposed by western organizations.  It's very difficult when we're educating others on intimate partner violence or gender equality because they say as in the cultural sense women are supposed to be under the men.  When we educate these people on these issues, they actually turn on the NGO saying we are the reason for the high ‑‑ there's an increase in spousal murders, which is happening, very unfortunate.  So we have to see that inequality is culturally rooted.  To resolve it online we have to resolve it offline.  Thank you so much.

>> Marilyn.  That.  Is a brilliant comment.  I am just going to ‑‑ I'm going to ask Mary to respond but let me first of all Mary and then we'll go to Omar.

>>

 

>> Good evening.  I am from Tunisia, professor of marketing and innovation and I would like to tell you a personal story about importance of being elected six years ago as dean of higher school economy.

>> Marilyn:  Slightly louder.

>> Is I was elected six years ago as the dean of the higher school of economy and at this time I was the only woman that was elected as a dean and we were at a university we were 13 institutions.  And even at initial plan it was about 5 percent women as dean and collector of university solutions.  After six years this year we have election and have about 20 percent of women who are at this level.  And I think it is very important that most of us contribute by the example to breaking the glass and to encourage other women to have these responsibilities in the economy in the decision places.  Now I am as professor as also founding president of the Tunisia economy.  We are encouraging any students, women and men to be to participate in the development of economy in Tunisia.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  I'm going to ask Mary to respond to this comment about that you were sharing with us about how western NGOs are being viewed in many countries as breaking marriages.  One minute, Mary, and then I'm going to go to Omar.

>> Mary:  There are cultural issues here and that in our region is very strong.  We have religious issues and they are very strong and even our legal issue, our legal requirement, our legislation, you know, in our country it's illegal to be gay.  You will go to prison if you are gay.  And we, and it's not acceptable in our culture in our religion.  People think the NGO stand up against men, claim your rights, that is where the men in IGF subregion this year said to me Mary this is against our culture.  It will take some time before we get to that level.  That people have Internet doesn't mean we should forget our tradition, we shouldn't forget our tradition, we shouldn't forget our culture.  So those ones should still be respected.  The last step, Internet, yes, but shouldn't break what we have started.  It will still take some time for us to get the conversation to the level of their accepting and when you go to legislative ‑‑ or if you go to national assembly, percentage of women is about 17 percent or less.  Rest are men.  Even when there is issues consenting women and ‑‑ well, whatever Internet or nonInternet related but their voices are by the majority of men.  Those are issues that we're still grappling with.  The truth is that whatever we want to do, if we do it right, if we do it legitimately and do it right and show them that it's not that well we are going to go out of our cultural beliefs, then they'll support us, but when it comes to something they very sensitive.  So those sensitive areas I try to avoid.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you.  So many of the ‑‑ we've talked around several of the issues.  The reason that I wanted to pull us back to this is that we really have to acknowledge that in many countries religion is a main contributor to the life of the community, the life of the family, and the life of the community.  And I come from a fundamentalist Protestant background in rural Missouri and girls are expected to be married by the time they are 16 or 17 years old.  They are not expected to go to school.  Expected to have children and work in the home.  Some of those fundamentalist Protestant expectations remain today in the United States, which may be a shock to some of you.  What are the social and cultural barriers and what can we do about it.  I'm going to introduce my colleague, Omar, who has been an inspiration to me for many years.  We met many years ago at the world IT services alliance and have been working together now for many years and Omar has really taught me a lot about the challenges that are faced in Afghanistan and in Casa and other parts of the Asian region that in many cases are similar to what's faced in parts of Africa as well.  And in parts of the Caribbean.  But let's talk about what we're going to do about it.  So Omar has a concept but before I ask him to talk about the concept, when I was in Afghanistan for only four days, Omar said something to me about communicating with men about women's access.  And I said the following:  A brave man stands up for women.  The woman I talked to at the Pakistan UN meeting said I'm a woman, I can educate women but I can't educate men.  So I'm really pleased to have Omar here today as part of this team and to have all of the rest of the men who are here and I want you to share with us the concept you have been developing. Omar:  Thank you so much.  And it's very nice to be speaking somewhere where women dominate.

Always been an honor and privilege to be with Marilyn working with her.  She has been my mentor and coach at the I can IGF.  I have learned so much from a woman and she has impacted my life very positively and if you see me as a MAG member at IGF or being at I can business constituency, she has a big role in that.  I thank her and congratulate her for transforming somebody.  My name is Omar Ansari from Afghanistan.  I was born in Afghanistan and that's why I like Afghan.  Earlier ‑‑ it's very nice to see you after so many e‑mail communications.  Thank you for your contribution to the IGF Afghanistan.  And glad to be with Mansuri, as well as Setwa and other colleagues there at the same session.  Incredible company I run in Afghanistan is working in four areas.  No. 1 is technology and that's how we started.  We started as a tech company and then I was so much interested in entrepreneurship start‑up so we added entrepreneurship as a service line.  We do like business in computer management and manage business accelerators.  And then I was very interested in community work in our other colleagues so that's why we added community as an activity line where Sabana got engaged and other colleagues working on different community programs.  We also do some policy advisement helping the government of Afghanistan to formulate policies that could create an enabling environment for men and women.

The challenges in Afghanistan, Sabana has already talked about it.  It's access to education, healthcare, clean water, Internet access especially because of the high cost of bandwidth in Afghanistan.  Awareness issues, people still do not understand what the benefits of technologies are and how they can utilize it effectively in their work and life.  Local content being a major issue, majority of the content is in request English language so people still lack in access to some really good education material.  People being connected to social media especially women and facing online safety issues that has been one of the ‑‑ as well as politicians and business people and other community members.  As an equal opportunity front technician has ‑‑ it understands that it's very important for innovation and that's a major part of our activities in Afghanistan to develop a cultural innovation of entrepreneurship in the country.  We believe for innovation it's very important to have diversity.  In a country where people are like due to so many cultural barriers and issues women are not taking an active role in business and technology and in the society in political activities.  It's very important to work on promoting and encouraging women to learn technologies and also start other businesses.  That's why we have started a number of programs which is really focusing on women.  No. 1 is tech in Afghanistan.  We started this back in 2003.  Conception in 2012.  The purpose was to develop the leadership of women in technology so they can do like leadership roles not only in business but also government in Civil Society as well as their technical capacity.  Because a lot of the time women graduate from universities and they become house wives.  They do not contribute to the economic development in growth.  I mean, being at home they can still do a lot of work if they're a technologist and if they are given opportunity.  We have been doing a lot of internship programs for girls who have technology background.  Technovation you mentioned that we have been supporting in Afghan and also in Kabul.  They have brought together in three rounds three years about 200 participants at the technovation global challenge.  Another program that we are running with Facebook, it's new, is called safe tier, which is from safety.  It's about online safety, especially for women.  It is like a campaign awareness education training so that people can understand on how they can be safer online.  We have a portal called tech first which provides information about how people can ‑‑ digital literacy campaign is underway in partnership with the ministry of education will be doing a lot of, you know, digital literacy activities across the girl schools in Afghanistan so they can learn how they can use technologies as well as process information in work with the Internet.  A very new program that we are kind of launching at the IGF is called TechWomen.Asia which I'll invite my colleague Sonia to, you know, introduce to you, but we have a couple activities that she would like to share with you and you're welcome to join us.  Thank you so much.

>> Thank you, Omar.  I really feel lucky being part of this project.  Previously I handed out some fliers.  We have some details and numbers about the TechWomen.Asia project that we already have 500 members.  Please, we literally just made our Web site online just today a few hours ago.  So please visit and go through it, if you have any questions e‑mail me or we can talk in person as well.  I invite everyone to subscribe.  I'll quickly go through some of it.  We are active in different areas.  One second.  Sorry, I can't go down for some reason.

Okay.  That's good.  As you know this is like a holistic approach.  It's not enough to be active in just one area.  We work in ecosystem skill building, networking, business acceleration, policy and advocacy, cybersecurity and safety.  A lot of these headlines are things that tech innovation has been doing in Afghanistan for a lot of time so there's a lot of experience there but now it's being directed towards women in technology.  It is TechWomen.Asia but we mean Asian Pacific and also we aim to spread this project through Middle East, Southeast Asia a lot of African participants here and we also plan to launch country specific ones as well.  If you're interested in talking about it again Omar and I will be around throughout the week and also Marilyn as well as our advisor and so we also organize events and will increase the number of events.  There will ab woman in tech summit.  There was one a few years back in Afghanistan.  Probably again it will be in Afghanistan but we're also looking at organizing in different countries and cities as well and from summits to training and workshops focusing on different things starting from help with startups, women entrepreneurs who need mentoring or advice or training and also capacity building in cybersecurity in other areas are among our events.  Many different ways to get involved.  You can simply become a member but also become a volunteer and work with us and if you think you have things to share we also invite to you become a mentor and work with other women and increase their capacity and also we're open both to individuals and organizations so we could also become institutional partners, organizational partners and as a nonprofit of course there is a financial aspect but when we say partnership this includes sharing of resources of expertise of most importantly networks.  And there's some idea about our mission and goals but I think we've all ‑‑ I mean, Sabana has went through it, Omar has went through it so I won't repeat what they have said.  I think it's quite clear.  To some active in 65 countries we just launched our Web site but we already have members, partners.  We're looking to collaborate with more individual and institutional partners and we will have a soft launch of our Web site on day two at booth 51 and you're all welcome to come and join and celebrate with us and we will also have a cake and also in women related gender related workshops you can find us.  Just feel free to reach us out online or offline.  We'd be happy to talk to you.  Thank you.

>> And there is a reason we're doing TechWomen.Asia.  Can you go down a little bit?

A little up.  Scroll up.

You see the number of the population in Asia, there are 65 countries in Asia and the Pacific.  Total population is 4.5 billion people and that over 60 percent of the global population.  And almost half of this population is women.  Which is about 2.25 billion people.  In majority of them are facing a lot of challenges.  You see the literacy rate, women ‑‑ can you go down?  Scroll.  Employment.  That's 3 percent to 80 percent in Asia‑Pacific depending on, you know, economy in a country and that's a big challenge in the Asian Pacific.  This requires improvement.  Internet access is 1.9 billion people which needs to enhance connecting the next billions.  The majority of those people who require to be ‑‑ need to be connected are residents of the Asian Pacific.

>> Marilyn:  Thank you, Omar.  I want to congratulate ‑‑ happy to.  I was actually going to go ahead and open it up to questions.  But go ahead, Mary.

>> Mary:  You said ‑‑ okay, the number of countries is 65.  Just in Asia‑Pacific.  Okay.  Thank you.

>> Marilyn:  It's an extremely challenging endeavor that I'm very excited about and very excited to be collaborating and advising the team and I just want to congratulate you also on the choosing the new power color, purple, but to be more on a serious note, the team intends to take this seriously.  There will be criteria for who can be a mentor.  There will be objectives.  There is a need to make this real and to actually help effect change.  Again I want to reinforce the idea that this is inn visioned as something that helps to build on and collaborate with other existing activities and at the same time I'm going to use an analogy that involves the national and regional IGF.  I'm looking at Mary.  For many years people involved in the national and regional IGF wandered around the ITF, IR meetings, ICANN meetings, and they didn't recognize others because they were in a siloed environment.  Mary, Omar, a few others have created something called the internetwork which has helped to establish an idea so people recognize each other when they go to other meetings.  I think our objective will be when events held at a national level or even at a global level that we can begin to build that identity so that if you're interested in TechWomen.Asia and interested in collaborating even just about the program that you'll begin to see what I'm calling the brand of TechWomen.Asia.  I do hope you will come to the soft launch tomorrow.  You see the team here.  Please take advantage of the opportunity to get better acquainted with them.  I particularly want to thank all of you for your contributions and particularly our two youth speakers who spontaneously jumped in.  Our three ‑‑ four youth speakers who spontaneously jumped in now you know a whole bunch more people that you can snag in the hall and talk about issues that interest you.  Thank you so much for coming.  If you didn't give me your name and e‑mail, please do because I am going to send out that report I promised and I know that Omar will also have some interesting pictures and information to share with all of you.  Thank you for coming.

(Concluded)

 

Contact Information

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