Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment via the Internet’s Knowledge-Sharing Capacity
February 26, 2014 Editor 0
Note: Everyone is welcome to join a Google+ hangout – focusing on women’s empowerment – on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The event is sponsored by UN Women, UNDP and the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law.
It’s easily taken for granted, but our essentially constant access to the Internet never ceases to amaze me. I use the Internet to stay in touch with my friends and family living abroad, to get my news, to shop for almost anything and to research laws from around the globe. But even more astounding are the revolutionary examples of how the Internet is being used as a tool to combat poverty worldwide.
Some of the most incredible illustrations come from India, where “cloud schools (without teachers) are being piloted to offer a new education channel for the poor in the remotest areas.” In countries such as Kenya, the social enterprise SamaSource is using the Internet to connect women and youths living in poverty to employment opportunities. One World Bank Group study even showed that simply increasing access to high-speed broadband Internet can accelerate economic growth by 1.4 percent.
Another exciting way to harness the transformative power of the Internet to eradicate poverty is as a platform to enable dialogue between advocates for change from all over the world. Women’s-rights activists, along with all those dedicated to women’s empowerment, have been taking their advocacy to the Internet in such high numbers that they are arguably coming to define a new wave of feminism. The tools bringing together such advocates to brainstorm strategies for empowering women include Google Hangouts, Twitter-chats and e-discussions.
The World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law recently leveraged the Internet as a platform for exchanging ideas by co-organizing an e-discussion with UN Women and UNDP. The e-discussion, Women’s Employment: Enabling Environment and Legal Incentives, took place from January 15 to 29 and was hosted on UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment. Experts were also invited to join the e-discussion, coming from such organizations as the IMF, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, OECD Development Center’s Wikigender, the International Labor Organization, the International Trade Union Confederation and Hogan Lovells.
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