The Marcos administration has been carrying out programs aimed at educating and improving the skills of Filipino women on information and communications technology (ICT) as a way of empowering them, the country’s representative to the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) in New York said on Monday.
In a statement during the UNCSW67 Interactive Dialogue with Youth Representatives on the Priority Theme, Patricia Nicole Uy, head executive assistant (HEA) of the secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said the Philippines recently completed the first-ever national survey aimed to generate baseline data on access, use and skills of women on ICT.
“It identified where women are currently underrepresented in the ICT sector and tailor our efforts accordingly. We also launched the Digital Innovation for Women Advancement Program,” Uy said, noting that last year, the government trained nearly 94,000 women in 1,100 capability development activities such as web and software development, blockchain and cybersecurity.
“As we move forward, we will continue to work to ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has access to the opportunities that digitalization can offer. With a focus on inclusivity and accountability, we hope to continue to serve the Filipino youth and women by empowering them in this new digital world,” Uy added.
To improve digital literacy, Uy said the DICT has been offering ICT training, programming for children, physical and online learning platforms and cybersecurity certifications as well as handing over laptops and tablets.
Despite the immense benefits of digitalization, it is often underutilized, especially in countries with low levels of digital literacy.
In the Philippines for example, Uy said that with 82.7 percent of the population having a Facebook account, only 8 percent of Filipinos aged 15 and above possess basic ICT skills.
“Those exposed to social media at a young age tend to follow trends blindly, due to the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ which usually leads to personal data being collected without their knowledge,” the DICT official pointed out.
“Therefore, it is crucial not only to provide access to technology but also to educate users on how to use it safely and responsibly,” Uy said.
Uy pointed out that around 53.7 percent of Filipino Facebook users also are women, and are at a higher risk of experiencing various forms of abuse, such as sexual harassment and cyberbullying, bolstering the importance of promoting safe and inclusive digital spaces.
The United Nations Observance of IWD, under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, recognizes and celebrates women and girls championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.
The observance explores the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities, and it will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence. (PND)