St. Kitts And Nevis Calls On International Partners To Help Developing Countries To Bridge Digital Divide

Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs, the Hon. Isalean Phillip (Photo via SKNIS)

(St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service Press Release) St. Kitts and Nevis has called on international partners, particularly industrialised nations, to do more to help countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa to close the digital divide as efforts to enhance gender equality are pursued.

Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, highlighted this issue as she addressed the 67th Session for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67). The meeting is the United Nation’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment and runs from March 06 to 17, 2023. It is being held in New York under the priority theme of:
“Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital age for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.”

In addressing delegates on Monday evening (March 13, 2023), Honourable Phillip noted that the St. Kitts and Nevis government has made significant strides in proactively appointing women as leaders in Parliament, statutory boards and corporations. It has also enjoyed success in shaping inclusive cultures and representational spaces for women and girls in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

However, she pointed out that globally, there is a disproportionate impact of the unequal distribution and ownership of innovative technology and intellectual property.

“Where North America, Asia and Europe comprise most of the world’s IT industry with a collective share of 88% leaving Africa and Latin America with 6% and 5% respectively of global tech industry distribution, any effort to leverage digital technologies for the enhancement of women and girls must recognise that the spread of opportunities for transformation is unfairly limited for developing countries,” said the Minister of State.

With a clear disparity by some member states to realise the full potential for the development of digital technologies, the corresponding ripple effects negatively impact women and girls who live in small island developing states as challenges in accessing better healthcare, job opportunities, and financing.

“As we dialogue and table recommendations for prioritising digital equity to close digital divides, including the gender digital divide, I urge us to acknowledge that digital equity also requires a geopolitical lens that magnifies divides between the developed and the developing countries as distinguished by unequal creation and distribution of technologies,” Honourable Phillip added.

The government’s introduction of the one laptop per child initiative will help St. Kitts and Nevis to leverage digital technologies as a tool for 21st-century teaching and learning by equalizing access between boys and girls and across social and economic class divides.

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