Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality
GenderTech Toolkit: Building digital solutions for, with, and by girls
Digital technology has become critical to our lives. Online experiences and opportunities are also important for children’s and young people’s development across a wide range of areas, including : online education, access to formal and informal learning; access to information and support relating to health and well-being; being able to engage with their own creative and cultural practices; to express their ideas and opinions; for leisure, play, and connecting with peers; to find employment, career information, entrepreneurship opportunities.
However, there is a gender digital divide: girls are disadvantaged when it comes to digital adoption, have lower levels of access to and use of digital technology than boys, and often they are not benefitting from digital technology in the same way as boys.
Digital products and services need to be designed with and for girls to meet their realities. Digital solutions, products and content tend to be designed for a ‘default’ user and fail to consider, for example, the connectivity and data limitations, devices girls have access to, the digital platforms they are on, their digital literacy levels, or content girls find relevant and want to see. Despite best intentions, teams often design for a user base that is predominantly male. Girls are left out of co-creation, design, and product testing. As a result, female users often are not able to access these digital products and services, or see no reason to use them, which means that girls engage less with digital solutions. This in turn widens the gender digital divide and puts girls at a further disadvantage.
UNICEF EAPRO Gender and Innovation team is developing a toolkit with best practices, to support innovators, designers and implementers of digital products and services, to benefit girls and young women equally and help close the gender digital divide.