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Digital inclusion for Filipino women and children is essential for a thriving digital economy

Digital inclusion for Filipino women and children is essential for a thriving digital economy

An announcement
made by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
highlighted two trainings it conducted to address digital inclusion. One is for
Women and Mobile while the second one is for Children and Mobile Technology.

The DICT hosted back-to-back trainings in
line with the celebration of the National Information and Communications
Technology (NICT) Month 2018, with the theme, “Thrive Through Disruption:
Inclusivity, Empowerment and Sustainability”.

The first training is for Women and Mobile:
Bridging the Gender Gap which was on 27 June 2018. The second training is for
Children and Mobile Technology a 2-day event on 28 to 29 June 2018. Both
trainings were held at the Cocoon Boutique Hotel, Quezon City.

The aforementioned courses were done in
cooperation with the Asia-Pacific
(APT) and GSMA, both are globally recognised
organisations committed to developing innovative interventions through policy
and regulation addressing society’s technology gaps and inequalities.

The APT is a key organisation of
governments that spearheads development and innovation programs, in cooperation
with the ICT industry key players and stakeholders.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile
operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies
in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software
companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations
in adjacent industry sectors.

The DICT recognises gender gap exists in
several forms including digital divide. For them, it must be ensured that embracing
ICT is inclusive to avoid societal imbalance, which is most apparent in
unserved and underserved communities. In these areas, telecommunications play a
pivotal role in magnifying the opportunities that technologies bring in the
digital economy

DICT Undersecretary John Henry Naga said, “The
increased occurrence of women being marginalised in cyberspace has also been

While qualified access to information,
brought about by emerging trends such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data
and Machine Learning, promises a brighter future through more informed
decision-making, it is imperative that the government declares policies and
issuances that will facilitate the use of ICT most notably by those who are in
vulnerable conditions.

Global best practices are then needed to be
localised in order to fit consumer demands particular to a demographic region,
such as mobile applications typically used by the younger generation.

The use of the Internet, especially for the
younger generation, has been defined mostly by the applications used by
consumers. To address issues concerning cost, availability and coverage, appropriate
mechanisms have been established.

Enjoining the industry in telecommunications
reform is key to realise the broadband vision with emphasis on the digital
literacy among children.

Equal access to opportunity must be given
importance to address digital inclusion. Having this will bridge the
countryside and narrow the digital divide.

In view of this, ICT development must be
continuously pushed across different nations and cultures, especially the use
of Internet in educating the youth and mainstreaming gender equality for a
truly digital economy.

An earlier
announcement from the DICT highlighted the month-long celebration of the 2018
National ICT Month this June. A line up of events addressing the three key
messages of the theme, which are Inclusivity, Empowerment, and Sustainability,
were made available for the people to learn from and participate in. The
schedule of activities can be found here.

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