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Credit: Department of Information and Communications Technology

Credit: Department of Information and Communications Technology

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 Telecommunity (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 alarming.”

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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