Closing the digital gender gap: lessons from the pandemic

Wednesday 27 October 2021

We all read about new digital tools and channels and the assumption is that these are developments that everyone can enjoy. But is that true?


Does a person in a rural area of Kenya, for example, have access to these tools or access to the internet? And if a young woman wants to take advantage of opportunities or information via digital channels, will it be as easy for her to do that as it would be for a young man?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital with many events, opportunities and sharing of information happening online. This is certainly progress in many ways – but is it sustainable and fair?

Any digital development should give an equal chance to women and men of all ages to participate in work and in their communities, seize opportunities and prepare for the future. If it doesn’t, then there’s an increasing risk that power imbalances will be reinforced, potential will be lost and some people will get left behind.

At this IIED Debates event on Wednesday, 27 October 2021, speakers will share their experience of these issues and the solutions they are testing in their work.

We’ve asked our speakers to be brief and provocative. They’ll raise questions for us to consider in a period of discussion. There will be opportunity to share your experiences and for us all to learn from each other so that we can leave the event with new knowledge to deploy.

About the speakers

Liz Carlile (moderator) is director of communications at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). She is a marketing and communications strategist and leads a team working across the full range of communications channels.

Grace Natabaalo is a Uganda-based communications specialist and research lead at Caribou Digital, a research and advisory firm that helps clients change the world through building inclusive and ethical digital economies.

Barry Smith is a researcher in IIED’s Climate Change research group. His research focuses on locally-led adaptation, climate finance and using digital technology to engage citizens in climate action.

Sam Greene is a senior researcher in IIED’s Climate Change research group. Sam works on co-developing participatory, gender transformative tools that inform climate-resilient development planning at the local level.

Matt Wright is web planning and content manager at IIED. He is a digital communications specialist and manages IIED’s online presence across all channels and platforms. Matt implements digital strategies, develops digital content and evaluates its impact.

Maryanne Ochola is head of partnerships and programmes at ShuJaaz Inc, a network of social ventures that connect young people with the information, skills and resources they need to embed in a digital and real-world community.

Nasubo Ongoma is a researcher at Qhala in Nairobi, Kenya

About IIED Debates

This event is part of the IIED Debates series. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED brings together an international community to discuss critical issues.

IIED Debates encompass both physical and digital events, including critical themes, breakfast debriefs and webinars. These events are public and are hosted regularly throughout the year online and when possible in our London and Edinburgh offices.

About attending

Webinars are online workshops that people can attend via the internet from their desk or portable internet device.

This webinar will use the Zoom video conferencing platform. For those who have not attended a Zoom webinar before, please read this guide to participation as an attendee.

The event will be recorded to be distributed publicly afterwards. By registering for this event, you agree to give your consent for this.

The information you provide will be held on our database to process your booking. We do not share data with any third parties. We may contact you in the future about other IIED events. Please let us know if you do not want to receive any further information from us.

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