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Opening Remarks: Introductory Webinar for the Bridging the Mobile Gender Gap

Opening Remarks: Introductory Webinar for the Bridging the Mobile Gender Gap

Delivered by Rodney Taylor

Secretary General, Caribbean Telecommunications Union

7th September 2023

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished partners and participants,

Good [morning/afternoon/evening], and a warm welcome to this pivotal training course on “Bridging the Mobile Gender Gap.” I am truly honored to address you today on behalf of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), one of the proud partners in this transformative initiative.

First and foremost, I want to express our sincere gratitude to the organizers of this course for bringing together such a diverse and talented group of individuals committed to advancing gender inclusivity in technology. It is a privilege to join forces with organizations from across the globe, united by a common goal: to ensure that the benefits of the digital age are accessible to all, regardless of gender.

CTU has collaborated with respect to capacity building with GSMA for several years including training in areas such as The Internet of Things – Its Tremendous Promise in 2017 at ICT Week in The Bahamas, Internet Governance in 2018 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and in 2019 in Suriname, again on the Internet of Things.  There is also strong collaboration in the work of the Spectrum Management Task Force, in particular as we prepare for the World Radio Conference 2023 in Dubai. Let me express my sincere appreciation for this very strong collaboration and support and may it long continue.

The theme of this training course, “Bridging the Mobile Gender Gap,” strikes at the heart of a crucial issue in our ever-evolving technological landscape. In the Caribbean and beyond, we have witnessed remarkable progress in the field of telecommunications and information technology. Mobile devices and the internet have become integral parts of our daily lives, driving innovation, economic growth, and social transformation. However, we must also recognize that not everyone is reaping the full benefits of this digital revolution.

Very recently I received an email from a Gender, Trade & Financial Inclusion Expert, someone with whom I had collaborated with in the past, and the email said in part:

Dear SG Taylor

I have read about recent initiatives launched including CaribCoin, with others such as DCash, and mMoney with the telecoms sector.  I wanted to set up a call to see how these will engage women micro-entrepreneurs, enhancing financial inclusion for women and also improving digital inclusion for women and other marginalized groups.

I had not thought about it and so I reached out to the founders of CaribCoin, creators of the Carib dollar to add him to the discussion.  He immediately saw this as an opportunity to build out the CaribDollar network with women in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises across the region and gave a commitment to reach out to her! It also dawned on me that this is a question we need to ask all of our partners as we move forward so that our actions are more determined and systematic.

The moral of the story is, that the issue of Bridging the Mobile Gender Gap is really one of an opportunity for the Caribbean and not a question of fulfilling some mandate from the United Nations or any other international obligations.  It is in our collective social and economic interest!

As partners in this initiative, we have a shared responsibility to address this issue head-on. We must recognize that gender inclusivity is not just a matter of social justice; it is a strategic imperative for the advancement of our societies. The untapped potential of women in technology is an immense resource that we can no longer afford to overlook.

Our region is rich in talent, and we must ensure that this talent is given every opportunity to thrive in the digital age.

This training course represents a crucial step in our journey towards achieving gender parity in the technology sector. Over the next few days, we will delve into the key challenges, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions that can help us bridge the mobile gender gap.

I encourage all of you to actively participate, engage in meaningful discussions, and build lasting connections with your fellow participants. The success of this course depends on our collective commitment to creating a more inclusive digital future.

In closing, let me emphasize that the work we embark upon today is not just about technology; it is about creating a world where everyone, regardless of their gender, has the opportunity to thrive, contribute, and succeed. Together, as partners, we can make this vision a reality.

Thank you for your dedication to this important cause, and I look forward to the valuable insights and collaborations that will emerge from this training course. Let us embark on this journey together, united in our pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable digital future.

I thank you for your attention!