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Gender equality in a digital world: IDRC at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

The digitalization of our world brings challenges and opportunities in the drive to achieve gender equality. This year, the primary focus of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) will be on innovation, technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality.
A teacher speaks to a female teenager who is sitting in front of a laptop in a classroom in Kenya.
GPE/Luis Tato

IDRC’s support for research on digital innovation in education, artificial intelligence and technology-enabled gender-based violence has much to contribute to these deliberations. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) is the principal intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women.  

IDRC’s participation in the Canadian Delegation to UNCSW 

During this sixty-seventh session of UNCSW, from March 6–17, 2023, IDRC is leading one of Canada’s official side events in New York:  

Leveraging digital education, technology and innovation for gender equality in the Global South  

March 10, 2023 from 11:30am to 12:45pm EST  

This panel will highlight how proven digital solutions at scale can address development challenges like the education crisis while expanding opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering and math and addressing gender bias and violence.  

Drawing on lessons from IDRC-supported research and advocacy, speakers will outline the challenges that hinder gender equality and inclusion in their local contexts, showcase their experiences with adapting and scaling gender-sensitive innovations and propose policy recommendations.

The speakers are: 

  • Larysa Lysenko, research coordinator, Concordia University   
  • Jasmine Turner, researcher, War Child Holland   
  • Claudia Sugimaru, adjunct researcher, Group for the Analysis of Development  

This in-person event will be moderated by Naser Faruqui, director of the Education and Science division at IDRC. The event is open to UN passholders on a first-come first-served basis, but registration is encouraged so that information may be shared.

An in-person Canada-hosted event on March 6, "Exploring the impacts and influences of digital technologies on gender-based violence work" also features IDRC-supported research. Suzie Dunn will share findings of the first phase of an 18-country survey on technology-facilitated gender-based violence. This survey is led by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and supported by IDRC, which recently extended support to expand the research to more countries. See the side event schedule.

IDRC events, partner events and contributions

A new indicator for care needs – Feedback session on the Basic Care Basket  

March 7, 1:15–2:45 pm EST │Ford Foundation Centre for Social Justice 

This UNCSW side event will launch the Basic Care Basket, an innovative methodology that counts an individual’s care needs (provided through paid or unpaid care work) as part of our support to create a co-responsible care model between households, communities, markets and states. The aim is to contribute to gender equality by addressing the undue burden of care that falls on women and girls.  

The event is co-hosted by the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth, Global Alliance for Care, IDRC, Southern Voice and the UN Foundation. 

Several IDRC research partners participated in the expert group meetings leading up to this sixty-seventh session of the UNCSW and prepared background and expert papers. They are also holding events at UN headquarters or in parallel to the UN session. This is the case for Research ICT Africa, LIRNEAsia, IT for Change and the Association for Progressive Communications, whose research informed debate on issues such as sexist hate speech, feminist digital justice and gender and the Global Digital Compact — a set of shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all that is being developed by the UN.  

Events led by IDRC research partners or featuring IDRC-supported research include: