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Apply Now: $50 Million to Close the Global Gender Digital Divide

By Wayan Vota on April 24, 2023

grant funding usaid

Persistent gender digital inequalities have profound significance on livelihoods and economic outcomes. These inequalities take many forms, but include how women access, integrate with, and both empowered by and financially benefit from the digital economy.

Left unaddressed, these inequalities will worsen. As countries continue to digitize, the ongoing exclusion of women, particularly those facing intersectional barriers will create, widen, and calcify economic and social inequality, limit social and economic growth, and make developing countries vulnerable to further shocks and dislocation.

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Even for women who have managed to secure access to the digital economy, whether for the sake of making payments or selling goods through e-commerce channels, a new set of challenges, and resultant harms, await them: poor-quality services, exploitative business practices, algorithmic bias, data abuses, fraud, and technology-facilitated harassment.

Women in the Digital Economy Fund

The Women in the Digital Economy Fund (Wi-DEF) is a joint effort between USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress on closing the gender digital divide.

USAID will commit up to $50 million in Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) fund resources and the Gates Foundation will commit $10 million by the end of 2026, with at least half of each of these commitments focused on Africa. In addition to its commitment to Wi-DEF, the Gates Foundation has committed to invest $40 million toward closing the digital gender divide in Africa and South Asia.

USAID and BMGF envision using the Women in the Digital Economy Fund to rally stakeholders around evidence-based, proven solutions that help achieve the following core results in order to improve the livelihoods, economic security, and resilience of women and girls, especially those from underserved or marginalized groups, including youth and young adults, disabled, indigenous, LGBTQI+, and rural women, etc:

  1. Access and Affordability. Get more internet access and internet enabled devices into the hands of women and make sure that devices, digitally-enabled services including digital finance, and data are affordable, reliable, secure, and accessible, including for users with disabilities.
  2. Relevant Products and Tools. Design, develop, and provide access to relevant products and tools (interfaces, voice technologies, applications, digitally-enabled services) that meet women’s needs and facilitate women’s demand for and use of mobile devices, particularly smartphones, internet, and other technologies, especially for income-generation purposes.
  3. Literacy and Skills. Strengthen women’s digital skills and literacy, including media literacy, so that they can fully and safely access digital services and participate in digital spaces, including the digital economy.
  4. Safety and Security. Address technology-facilitated gender-based violence and online harassment and strengthen safeguards for digital user protection, including on consumer financial protection, data protection, cyber security, fraud, and risk mitigation.
  5. Data and Insights. Expand collection and responsible use of required sex-disaggregated data (and where possible, disaggregated by age and disability), research, and gender analysis (a) to better understand and address social norms and systems that influence gender disparities in technology adoption; (b) as a precursor to inform gender-equitable design of and activities related to digital policies, protocols, platforms, products, and services; and (c) to track and benchmark change.

Apply Now! Deadline is May 26, 2023

Gender Digital Divide at GDDF

Join us at the Global Digital Development Forum on Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about the gender digital divide and how you can be part of the solution. Here are just three of the many conversation we’ll have at the intersection of technology, development, and gender:

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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3 Comments to “Apply Now: $50 Million to Close the Global Gender Digital Divide”

  1. Hillar says:

    Please follow this link to my presentation on Bridging the Technology divide with the emphasis of ICT. Please advice me to access the fund to do something in Africa in general and in Ghana specifically.

  2. Musabashir says:

    Thank you so mach

  3. Justus Lavi Mungau Mwololo says:

    We are Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum KESSFF a registered grassroots village based membership network of Small Scale Farmers SSFs operating in 75% of the Republic of Kenya and part of a similar larger regional network for East Central and South African Countries ESAFF.
    We bring together SSFs through empowering them with capacities to articulate issues affecting them namely domestic and global policies domestic and international market access and availability of SSFs friendly credit this is in our efforts to participate in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.
    In the past we have participated in African Growth and Opportunities Act AGOA World Trade Organisation WTO United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD Tokyo International Conference on African Development TICAD and African Union AU DELIBERATIONS like AfCTA, ECOWAS ,SADEC, EAC INTERATIION PROCESS and THE COMESA .
    But we are seeking partnerships with like minded organisations for their techno commercial inputs to support the upscaling of our projects for wide applications please send us the details of the information for such engagements