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ERIA Holds Webinar on En-gendering E-commerce in Final Capacity Building Module

2 December 2020

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Jakarta, 2 December 2020: Creating a gender-blind environment, where women and men have the same opportunity, is essential for e-commerce to flourish. This means ensuring laws and regulations, like the operating environment, are fully inclusive and without gender bias, along with equally accessible training opportunities. These were some of the issues covered in a special final session of ERIA’s Capacity Building course on e-commerce, held virtually on 2 December. In this session, 19 participants from Cambodia were joined by 21 officials from Myanmar.

To discuss the issues and share their perspectives were four experts: Mia Mikic, Director of Trade Investment and Innovation Division, UNESCAP; Socheata Sann, Program Director, The Asia Foundation, Cambodia; Socheata Touch, South East Asia Director, Woomentum, Cambodia; and Giulia Ajmone Marsan, Strategy and Partnership Director, ERIA. The discussions were moderated by Sven Callebaut, International Trade Adviser to the Ministries of Commerce, Cambodia, and Myanmar and designer of the on-line course.

Mia Mikic highlighted the importance of women’s leadership role in several sectors as disproportion gaps remain. She focused on three key ways to accelerate women's participation in the digital economy, namely, improving the regulatory environment; providing access to technology and skills development; and providing larger employment opportunities. She also highlighted the importance of opportunities for women in government to enable a conducive regulatory environment framework. 

Socheata Sann noted the importance of capacity building activities to ensure a conducive environment for women's participation. She also noted the importance of a single window for cross-government regulation to support women embark on the entrepreneurship journey in the digital economy. Socheata Touch added the importance of having good networks and mentoring programmes to promote a conducive environment for women in the digital economy. 

Giulia Ajmone Marsan presented preliminary findings from ERIA work on women and the digital economy in ASEAN. She pointed out that women tend to be more vulnerable to the economic impacts of pandemics. She highlighted concerns about the risk of a growing digital gender divide with the rapid acceleration of a digital economy – globally and in particular in ASEAN- in which men are dominant. She described different ways policymakers can promote girls and women participation in the digital economy, especially by focusing on access to relevant education and skills, entrepreneurship opportunity, and leadership positions.

Jeremy Gross, ERIA’s Director of Capacity Building, in his opening comments, stated that this joint session would aim to promote best practices for inclusive e-commerce and digital trade, in line with Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 addressing gender equality. Jeremy also thanked the Australian Government for their support for ERIA’s Capacity Building Program and was pleased to welcome Listi Irawati, Program Manager at the Australian Mission to ASEAN, Jakarta, and Anthony Samson, Second Secretary, and Daravuth Rath Sith, Program Officer, from the Australian Embassy in Cambodia.

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