Social development and inclusion

Advancing gender equality and women’s digital empowerment in the Global South


There is a global shift towards digitalisation that is driving technical, social, and organisational changes (Nordic Co-operation, 2020; Sorama, 2018). As such, having the capacity to leverage digital technology has increasingly been identified as essential to ensuring individual wellbeing and enhancing community and political engagement.

Several international actors also identify digitalisation as a development enabler and as having the potential to drive equality. However, the heightened reliance on information and communication technologies (ICT) resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns has illustrated that many countries are unprepared for this drastic digital shift.

During the pandemic, governments faced difficulties ensuring inclusivity in the delivery of digital public services. This is particularly apparent in the Global South, where the rapid digitalisation of public services has deepened structural inequalities and vulnerabilities.

Given the shift towards digitalisation in the face of COVID-19, and the newfound importance of connectivity and digital literacy for accessing public services, the need to bridge the gender digital divide has become ever more pressing.