If the digital world doesn’t consider gender equality is that progress?

Date: TBC
Time: TBC
Where: Online, via Zoom
Woman speaks on the phone.

In Kenya, ownership and expenditure on mobile phones is greater in men compared to women, contributing to the gender divide (Photo: Barbara Minishi/European Union via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This IIED Debates event will consider how to make a digital world more gender inclusive and how we can use digital technology to create equal opportunities for women and men and drive true progress.

This event is being rescheduled. Please still register if interested, and you will receive a notification when a new date and time has been confirmed.

With the pandemic our lives have gone virtual – or have they? Some people have easy and cheap access to digital tools and channels to gather information, engage in citizen-led action, participate in events, join work meetings or grow a business, while others do not.

And if we think about ‘people’, is it actually the same experience for women as men, and for young women as young men?

Does a person in a rural area of Kenya, for example, have access to these tools or access to the internet? And if a young woman wants to take advantage of opportunities or information via digital channels, will it be as easy for her to do that as it would be for a young man?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital with many events, opportunities and sharing of information happening online. This is certainly progress in many ways – but is it sustainable and fair?

Any digital development should give an equal chance to women and men of all ages to participate in work and in their communities, seize opportunities and prepare for the future. If it doesn’t, then there’s an increasing risk that power imbalances will be reinforced, potential will be lost, and some people will get left behind.

At this IIED Debates webinar, speakers will share their experience of these issues and the solutions they are testing in their work.

We’ve asked our speakers to be brief and provocative. They’ll raise questions for us to consider in a period of discussion. There will be opportunity to share your experiences and for us all to learn from each other so that we can leave the event with new knowledge to deploy.


Juliette Tunstall (, IIED's internal engagement and external events officer