Gender and technology

Target – 5.b: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

The intersection of women, gender, and the utilisation of information and communication technologies (ICT) and global digitalisation has unearthed surprising and transformative linkages, redefining socio-economic landscapes globally.

Digital technologies can act as an equalizer for gender disparities. While traditional societal structures often perpetuate gender inequities, ICT and digitalisation have the potential to bridge these gaps. For instance, they offer avenues for remote work or entrepreneurship, providing flexibility that can be particularly beneficial for women who face constraints due to caregiving responsibilities or societal norms limiting their mobility.

Furthermore, the adoption of digital tools has given rise to platforms that amplify women’s voices and causes. Social media, blogging, and online communities have become powerful instruments for advocacy, empowering women to discuss pertinent issues, share experiences, and mobilize for change on a global scale. This connectivity has facilitated solidarity across borders, fostering movements for gender equality and women’s rights. This change only comes about by pursuing gender equty purposefully, as SPIDER does.

Yet, amidst these positive strides, there exist digital divides that disproportionately affect women. Disparities in access to technology, digital literacy, and online safety persist, impacting women in marginalised communities more profoundly. This accentuates existing societal inequalities, hindering the full realisation of the potential benefits of digitalisation.

Additionally, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in various sectors introduces nuanced concerns regarding gender bias. Algorithms trained on historical data often perpetuate existing gender stereotypes, inadvertently reinforcing societal biases in decision-making processes. Addressing these biases demands a concerted effort to ensure that AI systems are developed ethically and inclusively.

In essence, the linkages between women, gender, and ICT amidst digitalisation are multifaceted. While technology presents opportunities for empowerment and advocacy, the challenges of access, inclusivity, and gender bias underscore the imperative of a comprehensive approach towards harnessing technology for gender equality and societal progress.

How SPIDER advances gender equity in technology

Inclusion, representation and intersectionality should never be an afterthought. By acknowledging bias in our real as well as digital worlds we can start addressing the structures that enable inequity to persist.

SPIDER both explicitly coordinates programmes with specific gender and technology outcomes but also embeds an analytical in all its projects. This is why you can read about telecom regulators who choose change initiatives that encourage women to pursue careers in technology. Some of our partners have spear-headed girls in ICT initiatives that alter the technology landscape and create space for innovation that is inclusive.

SPIDER represents and encourages African women to take their rightful place in academia in the GeJusta project and thoroughly explores gender and innovation spaces in the EU-Equals initiative.

EU - Global


Europe’s Regional Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age

Experience the cutting-edge developments in social and digital innovations within the European Union through EQUALS-EU. The initiative brings a novel perspective to the forefront, scrutinising both the products delivered to society and the processes driving these innovations, ensuring a gender-balanced approach. This focus is imperative given recent data indicating a concerning decline in gender equality progress across the union.

Africa - Global


Gender Justice in STEM Research in Africa


SPIDER is proudly part of GeJusta, a project comprising a network of women change-makers and male allies focused on tackling the underrepresentation of women in STEM.  The goal is to pathways for gender justice in STEM research in Africa. The GeJusta network has members from universities and NGOs based in Kenya, Uganda, Sweden, South Africa, Zambia, and the United Kingdom.

Sub-Saharan Africa


ICT Policy & Regulation - Institutional Strengthening


The work of ICT regulators is key for gender equity, diversity and inclusive societies. SPIDER delivers a practical and intersectional training for the 43 countries involved in the iPRIS project. The expected outcomes is a more inclusive policies that bridge the digital divide and take steps towards encouraging women’s equal access to digital tools, more representation at leadership levels and wholistic approaches to digital transformation.

Latest updates from SPIDER's Gender work

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Women's health

SPIDER has since 2016 supported efforts to eliminate cervical cancer i the African continent where it is the cancer that kills most women.

ICT Policy and Regulation

SPIDER coordinates a multi-country and multi-sector project supporting change initiatives by 43 Afrcian Regulatory Authorities

Women's leadership in community building

Women’s participation and leadership in community forums, peace-building efforts is central to peace and justice. 


How is gender relevant to digital transformation?

Gender is highly relevant to digital transformation as it influences how individuals, particularly women, engage with technology and benefit from the digital transformation. Digital tools can either exacerbate existing gender disparities or serve as a catalyst for positive change.

What is the gender digital divide?

The gender digital divide refers to the gap between men and women in terms of access to and usage of information and communication technologies.

What are the main barriers preventing women from accessing ICTs?

Barriers include limited access to technology, lack of digital skills, socio-cultural norms, online harrassement, and insufficient representation in the tech sector.

How does ICT impact women's empowerment?

ICT can empower women by providing access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. It also facilitates communication and networking, enabling women to participate in decision-making processes.