You are here

IGF 2017 - Day 2 - Room XI - WS251 Fast Tracking Digital Dividends for Women in CASA

 

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. 

***

 

>> MARIA BEEBE: Good morning.  Thank you for coming to join us. 

The session is called Fast Tracking Digital Dividends for Women in CASA.  The workshop purpose is to explore collaborative ways of fast tracking digital dividends in Central Asia and South Asia.

Just a few interesting statistics with regards to the Central Asia, South Asia ‑‑ in short, we say CASA ‑‑ in terms of the percentage% of the female population, it is about half, half and half.  The income group, low income.  Nepal is low income, then you have the upper, middle, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and a couple of countries which are considered upper‑middle, Kazakhstan and the Maldives.  There is no data for Tajikistan, Afghanistan, others.  The other interesting statistic, the gender gap rank, Bangladesh is 47 and Pakistan, 143.  It is interesting to know that number one is Iceland.  And there are 144 countries, number 144 I believe is Yemen.

Sorry, that's not readable.

Interesting to note regarding the statistics, there have been movement from the year 2000 to 2017 in terms of Internet users.  You have the penetration of the Internet in terms of the percentage of the population.  The lowest is Afghanistan which right now is about 11.7%, and I guess the highest is the Maldives with 78.1%.

The other interesting statistics ‑‑ at least for me was interesting ‑‑ was, you know, like the indicator, one indicator that people use now, the number of Facebook users.  As you can see, there is quite a bit of people who actually use Facebook.

The Agenda for the workshop, we're going to do an overview of the digital dividends followed by country presentations.  We were going to do small group sessions, but I think we'll do away with the small group sessions and instead have a larger, everybody would be part of that discussion.  Then we will hear the resource speakers in terms of what resources they could help, they could provide.  By digital dividends, we mean three things.

Can you make that larger?

By digital dividends we mean impact for economic growth, creation of paid work and new kinds of services, such as eHealth, eAgriculture, other socially relevant applications.  In to the rest of the world, the digital, there is data showing that digital technologies are transforming business.  So for instance, Alibaba is helping 5 million and counting small businesses.  Digital technologies items that are forming people's lives, for instance there are ‑‑ I can't read that ‑‑ 300 million and counting of global money users, and then in terms of governments, again, an example is India with digital identity of 950 million and counting.

How does digital dividends happen in a country?  With the Word Bank Development Report they look at several factors.  They look at the foundations for a Digital Economy, and those are regulations, skills, and institutions.  They also look at the level of digital development.  That could be emerging, concessioning and transforming.  When we listen to the country case studies, they will be sharing with us foundations for a Digital Economy, what's working in the countries, what are the current challenges, and possibly the level of digital development by regulation, by skills and by institution.

The World Bank Development Report also says that in terms of skills, for example, it is not just about IT skills, but it is about the other skills like cognitive skills, social and behavioral skills and technical skills.  For the country presentations, we would hear from Tajikistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka ‑‑ I'm sorry, Sri Lanka is not able to make it.

We'll start with Tajikistan, Zuhra, they were not able to make it.  They're online.  Are they ready?

Change of plan, I don't think they're they have been successful in logging in yet.

I think we'll go to South Asia first starting with Afghanistan.

You have 5 minutes.

>> SHABANA MANSORY: Good morning. 

I work with TechWomen Afghanistan, especially for different programs and activities.  I also work with Internet Society of Afghanistan as chapter officer.  I'm mainly representing women and gender‑related issues and representing Civil Society.

I had a bit of a presentation prepared for this, which is not now with me, but with the person who is enjoying now with my laptop.  However, I had prepared my notes.

About two last years, we're witness of the rapid development and with the division of digital technologies and also digital technologies development, and we're still we believe using these technologies and the broader benefit, it is the digital dividends.  In order to benefit from this basic digital technologies in Afghanistan, in order for everyone, everywhere every time, it should be accessible and to be used, we need for a special ‑‑ for a special incentive, a special act and we considered digital dividends as one of that.

Not only this digital dividends, but also to get the most use of this rapid developed digital technologies and evolution, we need to work on other complements, and in order to know how to do this, the other complements, we need to strengthen regulations in Afghanistan that ensure businesses and also citizens, government are adapting skills both for businesses and also for citizens to the new economy and new era of technology demand and in order to ensure the regulations and technological skills are implemented, we need the strong support and also strong contribution of institutions also. 

Currently, the digital technology has rapidly experienced by citizens, businesses and government, but it is not enough and unsatisfactory and we're representing some numbers and figures which has been done that seems that mobile technology is the main device for using information for people in Afghanistan.  We're 86.6, and they own mobile to obtain information and among that, the 78.3% are men and 45% are ‑‑ 45.7% are women. 

For the second, technological access to Internet, there are 41%, people say that they have access to Internet in the area of living, Internet is mostly accessible in the capital and that's 81.9% and in urban areas, it is 20%.

Again, the use of Internet and for social media, it is considered and people have responded that 27% have accessibility to Internet, and in order to use for social media, we're only 9% in rural area and among that, 20% are male and 7% women has access to personal Internet and use of social media.  By personal access to Internet, it means that the numbers I said overall access of Internet, it is like they have access to Internet, but not sure the personal device, the userability, but they can use a shared device or if someone has access to Internet in a family and to use the shared device by share of costs or something, but they have personal access to mobile and also social media and mostly they use social media for basic usage of just to have email or Facebook or only for some campaigns, but not to use for advance uses of Internet for transaction or for reservations or for businesses or to use it for other sections like education or health.

Still, there are gaps.  In order to change the gaps, the digital device, the digital dividends, and for that, for the digital device, Internets should be accessible, affordable, also open and safe and for digital dividends, we believe that the benefits of digital technology should be done with efficiency, and also it should be controlled and concentrated and this interconnectivity, it is digital divides and use of technologies, the digital dividends can both take us to making digital development strategies, regulations, and then to make sure that the regulations are passed through skills and the active contributions of the institutions and we're very helpful and we would also love to have more inputs today from resource speakers and also from other representing countries here to talk together and to take back some of the outcomes back to our work in these areas.

Thank you so much.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.  Now that we have Tajikistan online, we'll hear them.

Please use your earphones.

Hello, Zuhra and Matzuna.

Are you ready?  We cannot hear you.

Hello?  Can you hear them?

You're the only one that can hear them.  Sorry.

Can you hear?

Can we use that one?

We're trying to fix it so that we can hear you better.

There is obviously a digital divide between Switzerland and Tajikistan.

>> (Audio echoing).

>> MARIA BEEBE: We have a technical issue here.

We'll listen to India as they try to sort out ‑‑

>> AMRITA CHOUDHURY: Should I begin or should I wait?

Good morning.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here.

We have the second largest Internet user base today.  The government has initiated a lot of initiatives with using the Internet to get the services to the people, we have a national broadband plan, we have a digital India mission launched by the Prime Minister where we have several schemes in terms of infrastructure and empowering people and services to get services to the citizen level.  There are initiatives for women, in terms of literacy, we have in terms of digital skills, we have also certain skill programs which are on so that people in the country can be skilled, especially women, and there are definitely gaps.  We have certain initiatives and things on the pilots like financial literacy and empowerment of women where 60,000 people ‑‑ women have been trained.  There are jobs which have been created.  However, there are reports which say that to the digital talent gap is widening in India by 64% in the organizations, the last few years, there are initiatives but there are gaps also that need to be addressed.  If I'm talking from the gap between the male and female usage on the Internet there is a report by the Internet and mobile association of India which says that the rural male to female Internet use is skewed to 88% to 12% and in the urban areas it is 62 versus 38%.  We have a long way to go in terms of bridging the digital gap between the genders.  Of course, there are certain social taboos also involved with the women using Internet in the country and there are various schemes that are owned, various initiatives that even the public sector has launched which encourages women even at the entrepreneurial level to use the Internet.  There are various initiatives which have been launched by Google, which it is on empowering the rural women to kind of get into business online.  Facebook also has initiatives on its own.  There are dividends which the women ‑‑ certain dividends which we see, the skills, the empowerment, it is giving to women, especially rural areas.  However, there is more to be done.

Coming back to the session between building capacity between the CASA region, I would say that we have been doing a study on building the digital gap between women and we found that women do not find role models to follow.

Perhaps a collaboration within the region in terms of having a Forum where women can come and exchange ideas, knowledge about what they do, their challenges, and to help each other.  That's the best way in   which women can empower themselves.  Many times they are hesitant in terms of speaking about their issues, looking at it even from a career perspective, you would not see many women in the senior levels, how to get to the next level.  That's certain positions that women in positions can help to mentor.  If you have a newsletter, a capacity building, sharing of Best Practices in to the regions may help women from the gender South to actually improve and have voices heard.

These are my initial comments.  I think I'm good on time.

Thank you.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Are we ‑‑ we're still waiting for the technician so we can hear.  I think we should carry on that way.

>> DIKCHYA RAUT: I work at a legal assistant and I'm the youth IGF2017 Fellow of ISOC.  Beginning increasing digital technologies from mobile points and Internet, the number of mobile users and the Internet users have been growing up globally and people, business and governments, they have been connected more than ever.

So even women in Nepal are benefited by the success of the Internet that we have and the usage of Internet and the modern technology that we have.

Talking about the specific case scenarios of Nepal, for instance if you talk about digital dividends and how women have been benefited by it, Nepal, the husbands, they're out of the country for employment because poverty, it is one of the realities of Nepal.  For women, because of the Internet, it is really comfortable for them to access the market, the real rate of the market price of agricultural products and this is how they have been using Internet to benefit in terms of the agricultural aspect.

There is so many institutions.  This is the case scenario.  But there is so many institutions working in Nepal, for example, a center for law and technology where I work and Internet Society, Nepal chapter, they have been working to empower women in terms of ‑‑ in the aspect of ICT.

Talking about the center for law and technology where I work, there is a program which they're about to launch where they're trying to have a ‑‑ to create a platform where any women who face violence in the Internet can complain.

Those are a few initiatives happening in Nepal and even in the individual level, the police in the eastern district of Nepal, they have started training the secondary in higher secondary students and families of migrant workers on the Internet safety.

This is the initiatives that are really important to minimize the criminal activity that has been happening in the sector of Internet, especially for the women.  If we talk about connectivity, back in 2015 there was ‑‑ many people died two years ago, there are now more than 17,000 people who were actually injured.  After that, a positive part about the earthquake which struck Nepal, it was that an organization, it coordinated a central platform where people can actively ask for ‑‑ they can ask for help or they can offer assistance also.

Another positive aspect for after the devastating earthquake, it is how the mobile telephone has connected those in Nepal.  The cellphone was not really consistent at the time but the Internet, they use the unstable Internet also through the mobile where it was easier to connect to their family and to know whether they're okay or not and have peace of mind.  There are currently two mobile service providers in Nepal, there are more than five, but two are the main mobile service provider in Nepal and there are more than 25ISPs, including all of the small and bigs.  All the mobile Internet, it is quite trending in Nepal, yes, in the global, but also in Nepal, it is really trending.  With the liberalization that's happened in telecommunication business in Nepal, it has especially helped our market to open to competition and that's how the Internet has become more affordable now than the past.  The improvement and competition has directly benefited the customers in terms of access to services and quality of services, and the service charges.

Besides this, as part of the government plan to make a smart city, it is the electronic payment system we have there, it is really new in Nepal and really new, that's how ‑‑ that's how the private sector and for government services, you can pay it and besides this, ISOC has been really training in Nepal.  This is much more than ‑‑ although it was already existing in the global space, in Nepal, it only recently has been launched.  It is creating a lot of job opportunities for many people via Internet, including women.  Having said this, yes, Nepal has ‑‑ there are so many advantages that the digital dividend can have.  Although Nepal has good telephone penetration and Internet penetration, there is 15.5 million people who do not have access to Internet.  Although 40% of the population is connected to the Internet, 15.5 million, it is the agreed figure.  So I think the solution for this problem in South Asia, I think that the general problem, it is because of the patriarchy and the stereotyping of the women.  It is seen in Nepal, and it is also an underdeveloped country ‑‑ or do I say a developing country ‑‑ but particularly the rule of patriarchy is even more deep in the case of Nepal.  That's the main problem we're facing.  So the solution, yes, of course, could be as already presented by the panelists, also the collaboration ‑‑ the collaboration and coordination can have a lot of positive impact in case of Nepal.  I'm really ‑‑ it is a delight that as 2018 is happening in Nepal, I wish other programs would also happen in Nepal so that people and the government could actually be sensitive on how important digital dividend actually is.

Thank you very much.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

>> SIDRA JALIL: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here.  This is my first IGF, and I'm so happy and excited to be so many like‑minded people here talking about the issues and problems and problems and solutions around it.  I'm representing Pakistan here.  I'm a marketing communication and research professional working over 12 years in the same industry and has been part of the entrepreneur ecosystem in Pakistan for the last five years.  I'm working for Code for Pakistan, it is a non‑profit building a civil friendly system in our country and supporting the ecosystem. 

Talking about Pakistan, the digital dividend, it is the same problem, just like many other countries, according to the Digital Access Index, Pakistan unfortunately is rated at .24 at the moment.  Just for your understanding, the scale ranges from 0 to 1 where highest values suggest that, you know, it is a better digital access.  Unfortunately, it is a serious problem at the moment.  Adding more to it, this indicator is usually evaluated on ‑‑ the usage, infrastructure, knowledge, quality, and so our government back there, our citizens, communities back there, they're focusing entirely on the use at the moment, to bring more Internet user, more mobiles all over the board.  However, I personally believe there is a need to work on the quality, knowledge, access to student literacies, you know, active parent involvement is also more important.

Talking about the government:  Government is investing and aggressively working on initiatives and policies.  There is an organization government simply developing the Pakistan software that's been established by the Government of Pakistan to ensure the policy framework that works with local software houses, working with the start‑up communities and helping with resolving their issues, listening to their concerns, et cetera.

Investment policies, hardware development, there is a special concession on software experts, there is a special tax exemption on start‑ups and communities who are working around it, working with open data and partnering with government, SSC, has proposed drafts for the rules of venture capital companies and then the State of Bank of Pakistan has allowed opening of Internet merchant accounts within the Pakistan to promote eCommerce.

Talking more about the numbers, Pakistan is currently one of the fastest growing Internet market, just like India.  You know, to give you an idea of this, there are over 1 million people coming on bar, starting using online ‑‑ starting to use Internet through the mobiles every month.  This is just small.  Consider this, multiplying this over 12 months, you know, imagining the whole population of Pakistan, this is going to be massive in the next few years.  The total number of users in the country currently stands at 31.5 million, which is, you know ‑‑ that means large, but it is still many offline.  For the perspective, the entire population of Australia is 32.1 million.  Imagine the sheer population and density.  Pakistan is the fourth largest country in the Asian continent.  Going further on this, users in Pakistan was 20% in 2016 and it is growing 20% every quarter.  The global average, 10% increase of Internet users.  Pakistan, like any other market, the overwhelming majority of web traffic is going through mobile.  We have tremendous growth of 13% increase last year, the share of PC is at 27% and it is estimated that the mobile market last year was worth around 840 million U.S. dollars which is, again, imported by the legal Chapels and we believe that there is still a lot of high‑end model, mobile phones that are brought through the market.  We believe that the impact is huge.

Looking at the channels, looking at the past, Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan is delighted to work and trusting more on the start‑up of industry to evolve and working on negotiators.  And over the year, in the last two years, we have startups, many.  To give you an idea, the famous startup from Pakistan, it is an IoT based device and a farmer can manage his own cattle and, you know, the lands through a single device.  We have startups like doctors where women, sitting at their home far away in remote areas can get access to health facilities and get to know about their health problems through a very small screen.  Government is supporting the initiatives. 

Talking about education:  We have startups like preK and several other education and we use mobile and education on mobile, et cetera, using content of Open Source platforms already.  And in fact I will observe many startups are using the content, delivering the same content to far, far, you know, remote areas of Pakistan.  We believe that open data and Open Source solutions, content, it is the need.  We should start collaborating more on these solutions.

Apart from this, the civic community, the community, organizations, non‑profit organizations, they're very active and they're also working with government to work on the open data policies developing civic innovation labs, the Government of Pakistan took initiatives to launch initiative centers in all of the five leading cities and then going further to the subsidies of Pakistan, apart from this, there are plans to launch the digi skill program for women and youth only where they can bring over 1,000 users every month, using the Internet and enhancing their skills and capacity building.  Worth mentioning, there is plans to launch civic spaces and maker spaces in smaller cities of Pakistan to make sure that the talent goes viral and they learn new skills and get an opportunity to access the devices.

Yes, the Fellowship programs are also open, citizens that are willing to contribute, willing to develop solutions that can help improve the quality of life all over the country, they're also being welcome, I myself from the platform of Pakistan has volunteered for several initiatives, government has funded several hackathons, innovation challenges to promote new ideas and encourage startups to add value to it.

We believe that the horizon is, you know, it is huge, it is wide.  There is a need to collaborate and not just within ‑‑ among citizens and government, but there is a need to work cross border and add values to each initiative.

Thank you so much.

>> MARIA BEEBE: What's happening with Tajikistan?

We'll try Skyping them.

While they're setting that up, do you have any burning questions for our South Asia speakers?  They don't have to be all burning!

I see a hand over there.

Go ahead.

Any questions?

>> AUDIENCE: I'm with the U.S. department commercial development program.  I have some familiarity with the region, I have been working to support attendance by her and I'm curious, I'm familiar with Afghanistan, I don't know how the average person is able to access the Internet online and take advantage of the opportunities and that affects women.  It is a country that's not licensed 4G mobile services and there is not extensive infrastructure to support land line services.  I'm wondering, Shabana Mansory, can you tell us, how do people get the Internet?  Is it a matter of just working within limitations of mobile where there is access at all or are there other means that women in particular have?

>> SHABANA MANSORY: Thank you, Joe.

If I didn't misunderstand, your question was, how are women getting Internet while there is not a licensed 4G and also about the cost of the Internet, technologies?

>> AUDIENCE: Not just the cost but the technology.

If I were a man or a woman and presumably more in the city, the service is available but what service would I use as an average citizen, 3G or is there something else?

>> SHABANA MANSORY: Thank you.

To respond to your question, myself still using 3G and other citizens in the capital using 3G and only used for ‑‑ it depends from person to person, from woman to woman which they propose to use.  The majority of use of Internet, even capital as a witness, it is the majority of them using only for the basic services which is only to use, for example, the women who are only housewives and they have the basic digital literacy and they only use it, for example, to be connected with parents and family outside of the country or even inside of the country to use only this ‑‑ to have access, for example, to WhatsApp which has very much users in Afghanistan and this is in the lower level.  In the upper level, using the Internet, having, for example, those who are women who are students, more educated a little bit, girls in schools for having at least an online account, email and then Facebook, and then coming out to the women that are professionals, working, to use it for nowadays for different reasons.  For example, many of them use ‑‑ activists, Civil Society activists, they use it for different countries.  For example, just recently many women in the capital used the social media through Internet to express their unsatisfaction from introducing a female to be candidate for Ministry of Afghanistan which was rejected by parliament, the use of Internet for social media and also as I said at the beginning, for campaigns to use it and also nowadays, mostly in many events and the upper levels, we also as part of the Internet Society and many initiatives and.

Programs in Afghanistan, we have been encouraged and also understanding for many ‑‑ women that are working as entrepreneurs and startups, to prepare use of technology and Internet as a need and the need to use it for startups, creating businesses, and for women, business women, to use it for financial ‑‑ for financial use or for establishment from online promotion of their businesses and also for marketing, to use it for different areas.

Overall, use of Internet is mostly in cities and the capital and, again, in cities and capital, it is different to use it, from level of your life.  It is used, like for basic level to the upper level.

Thank you.  I hope that addressed your concern and the question.

>> AUDIENCE: That's exactly why I asked.  Thank you.

It is something I think about in terms of the infrastructure component.  You talked about different levels and wonder, number one, will the lower levels ever have access.  You mentioned the price is very expensive.  Even in the upper levels, how is that accessed?  Unless you have a mobile phone in 3G, unless you're at a University and you may have a special connection, even at the upper level I imagine it is difficult to have information about businesses and that.  If someone were to post an opportunity on the website, the average user may not see that.

We're helping women, we're going to post it on a website, an opportunity, does that convey the message?  Can they respond and do business?  It seems like a fundamental issue in your country.

>> SHABANA MANSORY: As a real example I can use now, as a woman who lives in the capital and started University in Afghanistan, Kabul used to at least around 10 local international opportunities only through the use of Internet and of course Facebook.  I used it for different opportunities inside and outside country. 

Through the different programs of Afghanistan, we encourage our members and also audiences to use Internet and also social media for different, to catch different opportunities and that will depend on which ‑‑ on which sector they are, the education sector, the bank, doctors, so we encourage a bit of use of technology on the Internet and also if they create jobs, create managerial use of Internet and if they can also overall, my own personal working areas also, use of ICT and technology for women entrepreneurs to create jobs, businesses to contribute overall economic growth of Afghanistan.

Thank you.

>> If you can use a headphone instead.  We're getting so much noise from the other site.

>> MARIA BEEBE: After we hear from Tajikistan, if we hear from them, we'll listen to a few resource speakers for the resource speakers.  How can you, your organization help with fast tracking digital dividends in Central Asia and South Asia, and each speaker will have about 5 minutes.

>> ZUHRA HALIMOVA:  Can you see the presentation?  Good.

Thank you for all of the trouble you have been going through to connect us.  It is very timely to talk about the dividends of the technology in Tajikistan as well as globally.  We're very much dependent on the resources we have.  

My colleague and I will talk about the situation in our area, the country, it's a post‑Civil War, the war literally finished around the beginning of 2000, any reforms, progress we have, it very much depends on the last 17 years.  I have to really ‑‑ you're looking at our slide, it gives you the sense of where the situation is, where our neighbors are, what kind of problems we could have.  Of course, we're not alone in our region. 

Our population is mainly in the valleys.  93% of our territory, it is very high mountains, and that technologically brings a lot of troubles and issues from far away brings some sort of trouble.  Tajikistan, as a post‑war country has witnessed many different stages, including the Civil War itself and Civil War is a factor that's had a huge drain and huge amount of people that fled over the country during the Civil War.  So Tajikistan, after the Civil War, we had to bring up the new generation as well as education.  After 17 years, after being an independent country, they have really come through the restarting of the economic development and intellectual development and so far we can actually say that the system in Tajikistan has been restored and we have basically almost 100% of young children going to school.  General education is covering 100% of children in Tajikistan.  They're equally going to school and compulsory education, it is 9 years at school. 

Why I'm presenting this, when talking about technology, it comes to the issue of literacy, and if we want to really go further and stronger, the literacy actually is important, especially when you're talking about the quota, talking about access.

Tajikistan has faced many other challenges, including the economic challenges, however, there is a trend ‑‑ of course, you cannot compare ourselves through the trend which is subsidized in the development, it was much less than our neighboring countries, of course the damage of the war in Afghanistan is much higher, but it doesn't really ‑‑ if you look at the percentage, the investment, it was actually really less than what we had as a result.  Currently the system of education, Public Health, people have access and the question is the quality issue, and this is always an issue we have to really talk about more seriously.

The telecom industry, everything else, we have two parts of it:  One, it is the ongoing understanding of what the communication is about and the technology, what it is all about.  Soviet, still, it is actually controlling everything that's sourcable, the other side, technology itself, it is country to country, it is actually pushing the idea of actually being accessible for all.  We have the development of the technology which is growing by private sector and it is actually accessible to people, even as far away, especially in the mobile communication, as far away in the country and then we have, of course, you know the urban population, because heavily accessing whatever quality of Internet, you know, mobile communication.

>> We'll talk about our digitalization.  We started our eGovernment process and also the issue of the m‑Gov efforts.  The penetration of mobile users, it is more than 100 and the Internet users, it is about 20, 30%.

We have the different projects, very successful projects.  We have eTax, eCustoms, visa, et cetera.  From the other side, we are also facing the different types of gaps like the city‑rural digital device or age gap and also digital literacy gap that we're facing in our country.

We'll talk about what is, as I said, inertia from the past and then the current technology, then the of decision‑making processes, especially government, there is one side of the government and many other, you know, very highly qualified people in the government, they're pushing the Agenda forward, but unfortunately, there are some other ‑‑ some sort of suspicions about having mobile and more accessibility to Internet and even now it is creating that whole thing of discussion and suspicions around it.  That is somehow slowing down to make the decision about moving forward inclusive of the eGovernment project which is inclusive of the development, et cetera, there is a certain possibility to really move around and actually to talk to the governmental people to really come to the understanding that anything about technology and absence of technology, it would be very useful if they understood correctly, so there is a certain amount of pressure on the government as well and at the same time there is a lot of pressure on the Internet providers and mobile providers for the governmental.  We have this coincidental, you know, post‑soviet, the new organization and ‑‑ (audio issue).  They're talking about the prioritized framework of the energy, agriculture and employment and innovation and by innovation, they mean mainly for bringing more technology and bringing more skills.  That would be developed.

We're giving you also a slide about how much (audio issue).

The also we have potential IT courses, the professional institute and we're conducting digital uses, et cetera.  We're also introducing ICT for development for the universities, which is also a good example.

The conclusion is, we need to create original platforms and development skills in Tajikistan and also provide empowerment programs and encourage women and youth to join the mobile professional networks.

Another thing that would be important, to make this happen, we have to have more and more organizations who would be able to fund it.  The government will not be able to fund it within the donor community and it is actually encouraging and also to invest in such initiatives.

Thank you.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

With that, we'll proceed with the various resource speakers.  We'll go alphabetically from last name. 

Ankhi Das from Facebook.

>> ANKHI DAS: Thank you.

It is   indeed a privilege to be here to listen to representatives from Central Asia and the South Asia region, particularly women.  There is research that we have commissioned as Facebook recently, and also in terms of other research that we have seen in India, and I think this is symptomatic for the rest of the region as well, when you look at access to the Internet there are two fundamental barriers which are preventing women from getting online or limiting their access even when they have device access.  One is normative values in the society, the prohibiting full access to the Internet, and the second, it is access to resources.  There is a traditional conflict in terms of ability of women to access resources.

If I am ‑‑ this is a bit of a stereotype ‑‑ but overall what we have seen, is that if there is a family which has to distribute a data plan amongst family members and if you have a male child and a female child, it is always the boy that gets the preference and the girl child will get a hand‑down or a shared device which in itself creates a problem in terms of whether the person is able to fully exercise choice in terms of access to the Internet.  We have seen that.

What is becoming very interesting, is that the Internet's ability to provide skilling and education has become a force multiplier in terms of women wanting to get organized and get this access.  At Facebook, we have two programs of scale which we're doing which we feel is helpful:

One, we have a program which is known as She Means Business.  It is essentially helping small and medium enterprises, particularly those which are ran by women entrepreneurs’ scale in terms of using social media platforms to build brand recognition and to develop market access.  In India, we have reached, we have trained more than 14,000 women entrepreneurs and reached out to literally thousands of women that were impacted by this. 

There is a compelling case study that I want to share.  This is a self‑taught Facebook user.  She was a daughter of a slum.  She was very young when she lost her parents and went to work with a foundation, and she was literally on the streets.  What she did was self‑educate herself and started a page, a Voice of the Slum.  She put out a post saying if everyone reads this post would contribute a rubi I would be able to set up a shelter and a learning center.  As a consequence of that, she's been able to do fund‑raising.  Now she has a center which employs 12 volunteers and she's looking to set up a school.  She brings out a news publication which is known as Slum Post, it is an alternative newspaper for slum dwellers.  She's looking at a subscription model and looking at ads in terms of having a viable business, a completely self‑started, very inspiring entrepreneurial venture. 

The She Means Business program which is something we have scaled in Bangladesh, we just launched in Bangladesh and it is working in Pakistan also.  In some early evaluation in terms of seeing how we may launch it in central Asian countries, we think this is something that can really scale and help women connect to markets.

The second thing which we have done, and something that we have recently launched, is additional skills hub, and this is live in India currently.  And this is a hub which helps women learn social media marketing strategies which they can bring to their social entrepreneurship ventures.  The goal in India is to train a half billion women by the year 2022.  We do think that this will throw up learnings, and then we can take that and take it to other countries, creating local content, that's key to this.  We feel that while there are normative values holding women back in these societies, just the economic opportunity which the Internet unleashes can be a great organizing tool in terms of creating programs and supporting them.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

I call on Joseph Gattusa from the Department of Commerce.

>> JOSEPH GATTUSA: Good morning, everybody.  We have a few minutes of morning left. 

I'm Joseph Gattusa.  I'm with the Commercial Law Development Program, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  I'm pleased and honored to be in this discussion, although it is unusual for my office to take a speaking role and I'm being shy about it perhaps is the way to say it.  Our role is as enablers of other ‑‑ of people from the countries we support to participate and to take on different activities such as making it possible for there to be attendees here.  We usually don't take a discussion of policy.

The organizers asked me to talk a bit about what we do.  I'm glad to do that.  You may find it interesting.  It’s not an advertisement for my office, because I should say that even though we're part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, our funding for the most part comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the individual missions in different countries. 

At the moment, for South and Central Asia, the CASA region, we have funding to work on ICT matters in Afghanistan, we have some funding for Pakistan, although that's about to closeout.  We have funding for ICT in Sri Lanka.  It changes over time. 

What that funding does, we're commerce, and we're the commercial law program.  We look to see where reforms in the legal and regulatory environment can help the economies to grow and for there to be opportunities.  As we do that, that means the entire population.  That means women as well as men, and given cultural norms and other things, it requires us to take special efforts to make sure that women are included in the programs and receive the benefits that we have to offer the assistance that we have to offer.

In this area, I'm fortunate to have the flexibility to suggest programs that could be helpful in this regard and I'm thinking today that what we do, and what we do to help women falls in a couple of categories.  One is connectivity generally and infrastructure.  This is why my question to Shabana Mansory earlier, about Afghanistan in particular, Afghanistan ‑‑ and I'm not as familiar with the other Central Asia countries ‑‑ but Afghanistan has a lot to do with respect to building its infrastructure so that there is access, meaningful access is more than sending WhatsApp message, we're using that and we hope it is available still, that's a question in some countries, but what's it really mean to have access.  We work with the regulatory authorities on the regulations, on the development.  We're hoping that Afghanistan, for example, moves to a 4G availability in the near future.

There's also matters of business opportunities or other opportunities.  Some of my colleagues that do not work in ICT have worked with Afghan women, Pakistan women and other countries to provide ways to open opportunities and sometimes with the focus on women.  We are here at the IGF working with three countries, Tunisia also, spending a lot of time learning about and thinking about electronic commerce, what it means, what are the implications and women will benefit from that as well.

Then there is generally ‑‑ generally, but sometimes ‑‑ an opportunity to think about educational opportunities.  Here again, women are a focus of the work.  If we can offer an opportunity for education, is that opportunity available for women and do women participate?  We do a course at law school, somewhere else. 

That's three areas that perhaps we can contribute.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

I call on Chris.

>> AUDIENCE:  I'm a senior advisor, and I have been involved in Afghanistan since 2010 in various give roles within the U.S. government and in the private sector.  We consist of two main entities, the first being Afghan wireless communications.  Afghan AWCC was a first operator, launched its services in 2002 and currently has over 4 million subscribers and is providing 2G and 3G services throughout all provinces in Afghanistan.  There is a network of hospitals, orphanages and schools and they're covering all provinces of Afghanistan, providing food, clothing, maternal care, pre‑ and post‑birth, orphanages and other educational services to needy Afghans.  Both entities work together in sharing a common goal of connecting all Afghans to create an informed healthy, prosperous civilization in Afghanistan.  This also includes specific services for women in the area of IT.  eMedicine, eHealth, mobile banking, these are services focused on ‑‑ that are provided to women and for women entrepreneurs that will be providing these services through the platforms that both of them have together.

The challenge, again, remains in Afghanistan, it is related to sort of access to the Internet, quality of the service, the Internet services and the costs in Afghanistan.  Again, the question that was brought up, how can this organization help fast‑track the digital dividend in South Asia?  You know, more case studies and feedback to the Afghan government from lessons learned from other countries and how that digital dividend has been addressed can be very useful.  The big opportunity within the Afghan government now is to really come up with right regulations and policies and fees to ensure that the mobile network operators can go forward.  There is progress that started but the policies need to be fine-tuned to make sure we continue that access.

The networks, they're there.  We need to actually get to the percentages of people in the country that are not able to access the services.

Thank you.

>> JENNIFER CHUNG:  I'm from DotAsia.  Thank you for inviting us to share our recent research that we launched.

While my organization is actually operating DotAsia, we have been supporting the Asia‑Pacific Regional IGF for 8 years as well.  Our organization is to promote the Internet development in Asia. 

We actually see that and recognize mobility, it is actually competitive advantage right now.  So we're launching this mobility index as part of our 10th‑year anniversary of project so we're trying to launch it next month.  The entire index is actually analyzing the youth in Asia, and how is the mobility in terms of three core sectors we identify both in education, employment, also entrepreneurships, how easy they are going inbound and outbound within their own countries, and how easy it is to set up the business or get employed somewhere.

In terms of these three areas, so not only ‑‑ we also consider 5 different factors ‑‑ which is also including not only outbound, inbound mobility of course, but considering the sustainability factor as well and the Internet factor, how digital mobile the youth are, and so that they can really set out to change the world.  So we think that this is actually a really good study and an overall landscape view to see how these localities in Asia, which including most of the South Asian countries actually but not including Central Asia, and we actually found that it is very interesting, some of the speakers already mentioned as well as the mobile Internet usage, it is a trend or even better than the fixed broadband development in some of the countries, for example, especially with Paul in India, the mobile Internet usage is much higher than the broadband adoption and this is an opportunity for them because ‑‑ maybe because of the infrastructure difficulties in the setting up of and promoting the Internet development, so it is more difficult to deploy the infrastructure for fixed networks and the countries, it is just capturing on the broadband to develop themselves and to spark.  However, the question of whether these help spark social, economic opportunities is yet to be seen. 

Also we observe ‑‑ another observation, while youth in general wants to be more mobile, but then we see that the digital mobility is limited, for example in Vietnam or in Nepal so the startup communities are really eager to do something there. 

For example, the eGovernment, some of the other digital aspects, Internet aspects, they're not that ready for them.  Overall, these mobility index, we hope that we can identify the policy gap or especially the gender balance perspective which also includes the gender indexes in the research as well.  What we want to identify is some of the policy gaps so that we could see how we could actually influence the policymakers to change the policies and also support women to get more how we can get them started with higher education, for example, that was mentioned, the starting line may be different, how we can help them get better employment, better education from the beginning.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

>> KAREN McCABE:  I volunteer with IEEE.  I'm an incoming board director for region 7 in February, which is actually Canada. 

The reason I'm here actually is for a different role, and IEEE has engaged on many levels on the professional side, on the women engineering side around the world, and in recent years, started an initiative we call the IEEE Internet Initiative. 

Within that initiative, we have a couple of tracks:  One is focused on inclusion, we have had a couple of Internet inclusion events, advancing solutions in Washington this year, another in India. 

It has a second track, a policy track, I'm the Co‑Chair of that track, hence participating at IGF.

  So what can IEEE do to advance the cause of women?  That's really the question we're asking here.  This gentleman put me a little bit on the spot.  I wasn't really prepared for this.  There is many levels. 

One is to support education from are the ground up.  In science, engineering, technology and mathematics and to be involved in that area and to make curriculum available free to you, for anyone to use, there is a website, try engineering.org, try nano.org, various sites of that sort where materials are available for anyone to use at their leisure.

Actively started in recent years, we started a humanitarian effort under the tagline of technology for the benefit of humanity, and under the strategic direction there is funding for what we call site groups, special interest groups on humanitarian technology and it is generally student groups that are IEEE members in various countries that form a site group and then a project.  For example, we have an outreach Internet inclusion outreach project in Tunisia.  There are various projects like that around the world.  If you are aware of student groups or projects that you will like to advance, you can get in touch with us and we can build the connections with the technical expertise.

The other part, of course, it is overall women and engineering.  We're trying to encourage women to get the education.  Once they have the education, advance their careers and be leaders for the next generation.

We do know that economic development, development of countries is tremendously dependent on the education and innovation that results from it, from their population.  For that, we need the smartest of all genders, not just one gender.  If we want to advance our civilization, we need technology to do it, because we won't be able to feed all of us without it and in order to get there, we need to involve all of us.  That means training us, training ourselves, training the young girls, moving forward with a well‑educated populous.  Not only actually for the knowledge base and innovation base, but also to have an educated population to make decisions on a political side. 

All over, my congratulations to you, to try to move inclusion and education and engagement for women forward.  We're with you.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Nilmini Rubin, and then Melissa Sassi.

>> NILMINI RUBIN: We're an engineering consultant company with 20,000 people in 130 countries, TetraTech and we have sister companies, Coffee and MSI you may have seen in the field as well.

I wanted to touch on a few things said and add in context. 

In 2016 donors got together in the World Bank IMF spring meetings and committed to doubling foreign assistance into Internet access by 2020.  It sort of is slow to come online.  It is coming from a low base.  It certainly, I think, is interesting to see that there is a larger commitment.  TetraTech implements donor projects around the world.  We have been tracking this very closely.  Within the U.S. government, in addition to our colleague's efforts from the Department of Commerce, UAAI, has done more work in looking at a digital access.  OPIC, the private investment project, they have been helping, and there have been feasibility studies, we have the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a big donor from the U.S. that does a lot of infrastructure work planning its first compact with TOGO focused on ICT.  It is an exciting moment looking from the general perspective going on. 

Touching on two things that came up here, gender, as a whole, and infrastructure.  I think that the theme is really integration.  That in all of the other donor projects that are done around the world, we have seen ways to integrate gender, we have principles on integrating gender in energy, similarly I think we need to just get baseline guidelines on how we integrate gender into ICT.  It is ‑‑ they're not radically different.  They're actually very similar.  We have electricity, which is the conduit for the industrial age and information is the conduit for this new information age or the fourth industrial revolution.  They're very, very similar.  Thinking about how to better do that, rather than thinking of gender as a tech issue.

The second, it is integration infrastructure as has come up earlier.  We have ‑‑ we have millions ‑‑ hundreds of millions of dollars going into infrastructure in South Asia, in the CASA region, how do we better integrate that so that ICT is brought along.  If we're doing roads, energy, let's make sure we're doing the internet components along with it, whether it is digging once, doing it all at the same time or establishing Rights of way when doing other infrastructure to bring the Internet online.  In that way you have also the gender guidelines that are established in the infrastructure and then would be applied to this as well.

Thank you.

>> MELISSA SASSI: I'm Melissa Sassi.  I work at Microsoft.  I'm part of Microsoft's air band initiative.  I'll talk to you about a couple of ideas that I have.  I'm not going to spend a lot of time going through the work that our team does.  We all can research that. 

What I would like to do is really talk about some of the buzzwords I have heard today, whether that is collaboration, partnership, mentorship and talk through really some of the ideas that I have that maybe we can work together or Microsoft could help to empower Women and Girls around the world to achieve more.

My team, we focus on Internet and energy access.  Right now we're working in about 40 different ‑‑ we have 40 different projects in 25 different countries.  If you have not had a chance to meet Mikey, a partner of ours in India, if you haven't met him and don't know about the work we're doing, access side of things, good collaboration for you on terms what could happen on the ground.  There is also some really interesting things we're doing in Nepal when it comes to PicoSoft Nepal, part is internet access, another is skill building.  If you have not had a chance to meet there, I would love for you to connect with our partner on the ground.

Similarly, in Pakistan, Maria from the Women Digital League, not sure if you work with her or not, but I love the work that she's doing to really think about how do we ‑‑ not go in to a community to change the culture, change norms, how do we work within the confines of culture, which leads me to one of the other activities that I'm quite involved in, within IEEE, that's our Digital Literacy Working Group.

We're talking about percentage of access, access to the Internet.  A challenge we face when talking about women and girls or just people in general and looking at the concept of digital inclusion, what is digital literacy, what's it actually mean?  What's it mean to have a digital literacy society?  You know, I hear some metrics pulled up around using WhatsApp, Facebook, I'm an avid user of both as well as Twitter, but is that really a measure of digital literacy?  Is that just turning our women and girls and population into users of technology?  How do we make sure that we're not just creating a group of consumers but utilizing technology in meaningful ways, becoming creators, makers, doers with technology, whether that's basic digital literacy, including critical thinking all the way to complex activities such as coding, building mobile applications.  Microsoft is very involved in both aspects of things.  I happen to work more on the access side of things.

One of the things I might suggest in all of your countries, we have just launched a grant program, a call for grants this year, it is the third year, actually Mike is a grant recipient moving into broader partnerships, but it is for increasing Internet access in underserved communities.  We invest seed funding, mentorship funding, shared marketing, many other aspects that are kind of probably more of an accelerator, an IG platform baiter, we fund for‑profit applications and the applications close on the 31st of December.  If we look at the map, I have not funded any or we have not funded any projects in Afghanistan.  I would love to see a quality application come in from an ISP in Afghanistan saying we want to build out additional networks and get more people connected in Afghanistan.  I would love to see more coming in from India.  Doesn't mean you will lose money, Mike.  Same with Nepal, we gave out a grant in Nepal, I would love to see something from Pakistan, from Maldives, of the other countries we have talked about today, Tajikistan. 

You can find out more about it on Microsoft.com/airband.  If you have questions, I would be happy to talk after.

>> MARIA BEEBE: We have a final speaker who will also wrap up.

>> OMAR MANSOOR ANSARI: Great presentations from big data, the country speakers and the resource organizations.  I'm Omar Mansoor Ansari, and I'm presiding over TechNation, a coorganizer with Maria Beebe's global network of this workshop.  On behalf of TechNation I thank you for your time and contributions to the program.

I will try to be as brief as possible, we have a very important activity going on after this, which I would like to invite you all for.  I'll tell you what it is.

As an outcome of our first TechWomen workshop.  In IGF in 2016 in Mexico, we launched TechWomen.Asia, it is a network of women in technology.  It is focusing on building the leadership capacity and the technical skills of women in tech in Asia in the South Pacific so that they can collaborate, work together, build chapters, networks, so that's what TechWomen.Asia will do.  It is a new initiative and we're doing a soft launch at the technician booth, the TechWomen.Asia is also present there.  It is booth number 51.  You are all invited to join us there at 12:30, in a few minutes.

Can we go down or ‑‑ the programs, TechWomen.Asia is interested in working on ecosystem development in Asia and the Pacific for women and tech skill building and networking business acceleration, policy, advocacy and cybersecurity and safety programs.  There will be various events, you can go down.

How you can get involved is through becoming a member, a volunteer, a mentor, a partner.  This is the mission, a little brief information about the goals and the mission.  Please scroll down.

These are the originators of the TechWomen.Asia, the team we have in there, they're spread across Central Asia, South Asia, Europe, other countries and Americas.  Institutions behind ‑‑ but we're looking for more institutions to join us, because it is a multistakeholder initiative and we would love to work with others.

This kind of network we're building, it includes our country chapters, member network across Asia and the Pacific Partner Network in the mentor network that we really look forward to creating.

Why we're doing ‑‑ can you go down one more?

Here.  No.  No.  The number is up.

Down.

Yeah.

A little more.  Down.  Yeah.  This one.

Why we're doing TechWomen.Asia, you see 65 countries are there in Asia and Pacific, and the population includes 4.5 billion that's over 60% of the global population and the women include 2.25 billion people and that's almost 30% of the global population.  The employment ratio is 3% to 80% and the connectivity is 1.9 billion people.  There are so many problems and challenges that we need to address.

Thank you very much.  We'll see you later at the TechWomen.Asia launch.

>> MARIA BEEBE: Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Can I ask each speaker to please send me a paragraph summary of what you have shared with us.

Thank you.  

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411