World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS Forum 2016): Gender Equality & e-Skills Gap

At the WSIS Forum 2016 last week, the main theme was ‘supporting the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the WSIS Action Lines.’

WSIS CC panel

Gender Equality and e-Skills gap panel at WSIS Forum 2016

The ChunriChoupaal team has been organizing workshops on gender equality and gender mainstreaming in policies and implementation of ICT strategies at the WSIS Forum since 2014. This year, the theme was bridging the digital skills gap for the economic empowerment of women. This year’s WSIS event featured week-long discussions, workshops, sessions, high level moderated sessions on everything from gender, education, knowledge, inclusive development and the promotion of ‘creation’ of software programs and not just being consumers of technology. ChunriChoupaal-The Code To Change and our CEO Iffat Gill’s involvement as a High Level Speaker championed the message of inclusion of women and girls in the digital economy through bridging the skills gap at the WSIS Forum 2016. We have been championing the message since WSIS+10 High Level Forum 2014 and are proud that our contributions to the process were noted in the outcome document which was adopted by the UN General Assembly last December.

“Women need to be part of creating the technology and not just remain consumers. We need to empower grassroots level community leaders to facilitate inclusion of girls and women from under-represented communities.” Iffat Gill at High Level Policy Session on Access to Information and Knowledge for All

With 1,800 participants from 140 countries, including 85 ministers and 250 high-level representatives this year, the WSIS Forum is growing in importance. Last December at the WSIS+10 Review, the outcome explicitly called for the close alignment between the WSIS process and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the first meeting after that review, the Forum was an opportunity to gather the wider community to discuss the way forward.

Collage WSIS 2016

Top; High Level Track Facilitators WSIS Forum 2016, Middle-Left; ChunriChoupaal-The Code To Change Team, Middle-Right; High Level policy session on Inclusion, Bottom-Left; Team at opening cremony, Bottom-Right; High Level policy statement on Financing for Development and the Role of ICT.

WSIS Forum 2016 moved from policy statements to moderated high level policy sessions in an effort to promote dialogue and interactive discussions. Our CEO Iffat Gill was selected to be part of this innovative approach. In addition to her role as a High Level speaker at a policy session on Inclusion, Ms. Gill moderated a High Level policy session: WSIS Action Lines and the 2030 Agenda; Financing for Development and the Role of ICT. The panelists included high-ranking officials of the WSIS stakeholder community, representing the government, private sector, civil society, academia and international organisations.

Quotes from our workshop on ‘Gender Equality and e-Skills Gap:

“Men are part of the solution. We need the fathers, and brother’s friends and sons to become our supporters.” Mine Ogura, Head of Delivery-eBay Classifieds Group

“Community is important. Bridging the skill gap is about fostering of men and women working together to achieve SDG 5 for gender equality.” Monique Morrow CTO new frontiers evangelist at Cisco

“Our mentors need mentoring too. They need to learn how to be better coaches.” Claudia Vicol, Senior Software Engineer and Manager at Martkplaats part of eBay Classifieds Group.

We hope that the spirit of inclusion and action can continue throughout the coming years to achieve the sustainable development goals through leveraging ICTs for development.


1- Link to Workshop on Gender Equality and e-Skills Gap (recording to webcast can be found in the side bar) [Link]

2- Video message from Member European Parliament, Terry Reintke for ChunriChoupaal’s WSIS Forum workshop [Link]

2- Summary of High Level Policy Sessions. [Link]

3- Link to WSIS Forum 2016 Outcome document [Link]

4- Link to event photos [Link]

Our hashtag: #worktoequality

Event hashtags: #WSIS