Beijing+20 and Mobile Learning Week 2015
Current estimates from the International Telecommunication Union show that there are almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world today. These numbers tell us that technology is now common even in areas where women’s educational opportunities are limited. A burgeoning number of programmes using mobile devices for learning are also successfully reaching women and girls. However, gaps remain. Quality of education and access to education is still unequal across gender lines, and disparities result in disproportional literacy rates for males and females.
Globally, two out of every three illiterate adults are women. Another complexity is usage and access to Internet technology. In low- to middle-income countries, a woman is 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man, and the divide is similar for Internet access.
To highlight success stories as well as identify strategies to overcome the gaps that remain, Mobile Learning Week 2015 is being co-hosted by UNESCO and UN Women from 23-27 February at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. With the theme “Leveraging technology to empower women and girls”, this fourth yearly gathering will give a record number of participants (more than 1,200) a venue to learn about and discuss technology programmes, initiatives and content that are helping to bridge gender gaps in education.
Participants from around the world will explore how increasingly universal, affordable and powerful mobile technology – from basic handsets to the newest tablet computers – can help open doors to education and accelerate learning for women and girls, especially in disadvantaged communities.
Mobile Learning Week 2015 will provide a unique opportunity for participants to engage with a vibrant community and showcase the work they do to promote the education, skills development, life-long learning and empowerment of women and girls through ICTs and through the development of gender-responsive digital content.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will give opening remarks on 24 February.
UN Women will also present its own digital innovations for women, including the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN Women online Training Centre, and two grantees of the Fund for Gender Equality who have developed software or are using mobile technology to raise women’s issues in their rural communities in India and Costa Rica.
The week-long event will include a series of workshops, symposia, a high-level policy forum and research seminar. Discussions will focus on the themes of equitable access, gender-sensitive content and pedagogy, literacy, and skills development for women and girls. This is one of several global events as part of UN Women's Beijing+20 campaign.