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UNCTAD-ERIA E-commerce Week: How Can Women Digital Entrepreneurs Boost Inclusion? Peer learning dialogue across regions

The Thematic Session in Partnership with UNCTAD during E-commerce Week

The digital transformation has created new opportunities for developing and emerging economies, allowing businesses to access global markets and increase their level of transactions. The COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed and accelerated the transition towards economic activity online. According to the Covid-19 and e-Commerce Global Review, the share of e-commerce of global retail trade is estimated to have surged from 14 per cent in 2019 to about 17 per cent in 2020. However, in spite of the economic growth generated by the increased use of digital tools and technologies, important inequalities remain with and within countries. Some categories, such as women, are still excluded from large chunks of the digital economy. A situation that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted women, and slowed down years of economic and social progress. Calculations by the World Economic Forum revealed that the pandemic situation of the two last years has increased the global gender gap by 36 years, resulting today in a gender divide that is not expected to close for another 136 years.

Reducing the gender gap in the digital space will not only benefit women, but societies and economies as a whole. According to an International Finance Corporation report issued in 2021, women could add over $14.5 billion to e-commerce markets in Africa alone and $280 billion in South-East Asia, between 2025 and 2030. Similarly, in Southeast Asia, according to ERIA research, a better inclusion of women in fast growing digital economies can have significant social and economic benefits, especially by providing access to entrepreneurship opportunity, STEM skills and careers and leadership position in the digital economy. By providing relevant support, stakeholders of the digital sector can help women tackle the challenges related to the gender digital divide and contribute to more inclusive economic growth, generating opportunities for everyone. This session is part of series of events highlighting the positive impact of more inclusive digital economies.

After a High-Level session dedicated to discussing how fostering more inclusive digital entrepreneurship can be a force for development, this session will pursue the discussion and gather different actors who, at their level, are taking concrete actions to address the gender digital divide and contribute to sustainable development. With the objective to facilitate cross-fertilization and peer learning across different regions, the session will enable the exchange of good practices among different stakeholders of the digital economy and encourage partnership-building at a regional and a global level, to help increase women's participation in the digital sector.

Event Details

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Starting Date

28 April 2022




Virtual Room

Contact Info

Ms Lina Maulidina

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