2 Selected challenges faced by women in the digital space

Women face multiple challenges that prevent them to fully benefit from the opportunities offered by the digital space. This section does not intend to list them all but, rather, to focus on access to digital technology, access to digital skills, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and leadership, and access to infrastructure and digital services. Globally, access between women and men to these areas is currently unequal.

In many parts of the world women and girls are typically at disadvantage when compared to men in terms of access to digital technology, connectivity and security. When it comes to skills, women and girls find it more difficult than men to have access to programmes equipping them with, at least, basic digital skills in the area of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Compered to men, availability of credit, digital banking, and payments (as well as financial training) are typically lower for women. Women’s access to networks, knowledge sharing platforms and associations is also lower for women than for men and the same applies to women’s presence in decision-making roles within the ICT field. Women, particularly those living in rural areas, find it more difficult than men to access to digital infrastructure.

These challenges are not static and are likely to vary across countries and regions. What follows is a brief illustration of selected challenges faced by women using global level data from datasets by different international organizations such as ITU and the World Bank.