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Empowering Equality: The Philippines’ AI Initiatives for Gender Inclusion

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In a bid to bridge the gender digital gap and ensure equitable access to transformative technologies, the Philippine government, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is spearheading initiatives to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to promote gender equality. This commitment was underscored by Director Franz de Leon of the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) during an interactive dialogue at the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations.

Image credits: Department of Science and Technology

Director de Leon emphasised the pivotal role of collaboration among policymakers, technologists, researchers, and civil society organisations in harnessing the potential of AI for advancing gender equality. While acknowledging the challenges, he highlighted the myriad opportunities AI presents when developed and deployed thoughtfully and inclusively.

The Philippines is actively training women in AI, data science, analytics, and related fields through online learning platforms, facilitated by various government agencies. These efforts aim to equip women with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the digital era, fostering economic empowerment and participation in the burgeoning tech industry.

Moreover, the government is refining the National Artificial Intelligence Roadmap to embed gender considerations in AI policies, ensuring that advancements in technology benefit all segments of society equitably. These proactive measures reflect the Philippines’ commitment to leveraging technology as a tool for social progress and gender empowerment.

However, as AI continues to evolve, concerns about its potential risks and unintended consequences loom large. To address these concerns, the Philippines has enacted robust gender-related legislation, including the Magna Carta of Women and laws combating violence against women and children, online exploitation, and abuse materials. These legal frameworks aim to protect women and girls from the harms of AI and ensure their safety and well-being in the digital realm.

In his message, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Antonio M. Lagdameo, stressed the urgency of eradicating poverty among women and girls and dismantling barriers to their rights and opportunities. He emphasised the collective responsibility to safeguard the safety, dignity, and prosperity of women and girls globally, especially in the face of unprecedented challenges.

The CSW68 interactive dialogue provided a platform to explore the intersection of AI and gender equality, highlighting the potential of technology to fulfil the human rights of women and girls. With the theme “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective,” the Commission reaffirmed its commitment to advancing gender equality on a global scale.

The Philippines’ initiatives in leveraging AI for gender equality underscore the transformative potential of technology in promoting social inclusion and empowerment. By prioritising collaboration, education, and legislative action, the Philippines is paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive digital future, where women and girls can fully participate and thrive.

The nation is eager to embrace an inclusive digital transformation, ensuring that all segments of society can benefit from the opportunities presented by technological advancements. OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is leading transformative efforts to boost digital literacy and empower various communities through a series of capacity development sessions catered to diverse sectors, emphasising the vital role of digital skills in today’s technology-driven society.

The Philippines is actively training its citizens for the digital future, with a focus on cybersecurity. The DICT is leading nationwide upskilling initiatives to strengthen cyber defences and ensure public safety.

Initially targeting government workers, the DICT plans to expand cyber training to the public, aligning with the National Cybersecurity Plan 2024-2028, demonstrating the government’s commitment to bolstering cyber defences and safeguarding critical digital infrastructure.


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