With regard to structural and systemic causes to inequality, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with its feminist development policy wants to close the gender digital divide in order to achieve a gender-just digital transformation. In this context, betterplace lab was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), funded by the BMZ, to conduct a trend study entitled "Overcoming gaps, dismantling power structures! Linking feminist development policy and the digital transformation!".
The study outlines challenges, needs and potential in these areas and provides an outlook on the access, use and design of digital technologies. In recommendations for action, it explains how a "3R approach" can strengthen and promote the rights, resources and representation of women and girls in all their diversity as well as marginalized groups.
Through a participatory process, valuable perspectives and the knowledge of experts and representatives of various civil society organizations from the Majority World could be represented. Guest authors from various countries also contributed articles on the digital economy, tech governance, data, decolonization, climate justice and movement building and strengthening.
While women and girls in all their diversity use digital technologies to overcome economic, political and social barriers to mobility and participation every day, digital technologies, however, can also reinforce negative developments by reproducing patriarchal gender relations and oppressive structures. In order to overcome the inequality that is currently inherent in the digital transformation, holistic approaches are needed in which all key actors make concrete efforts.
Long-term, de-bureaucratized funding and intersectional programming are essential and must be carefully oriented towards micro-factors that affect women and girls in all their diversity as well as marginalized groups. The development and application of technologies should be organized towards the common good and the rights of all and developed together with local experts and knowledge holders.
Thereby, access to lifelong education, including STEM areas, is particularly relevant. The promotion of equal opportunities, freedom and security in career choices has to be a main goal in order to close the gender pay gap in STEM areas and especially in the information and communication technologies. Finally, a structural change is also necessary in organizations and institutions towards diversity and inclusion, instead of putting pressure on women and girls to initiate this change on their own.