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67th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

New York, USA

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,


According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, allowing women to fully participate in a digital economy will result in $524 billion increase in economic activity by 2025. We need to harness this opportunity.


While there are barriers that need to be addressed, the Philippines already has the advantage. The Philippines still leads among Asian countries in terms of closing the gender gap, based on the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report where we placed 19th in the global rankings.


Philippine laws such as the Magna Carta of Women, Anti-Discrimination Against Women Act, Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law, and Safe Spaces Act, among others, create an enabling environment where women’s and girls’ rights and safety are promoted and protected to allow them to achieve their full potential.


These policies shape the programs that the Philippine government invests in to ensure digital inclusion and gender equality. Our Department of ICT has been implementing programs aimed at bridging the digital divide and digital gender gap. Foremost is the provision of free Wi-Fi, particularly in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. In 2022, there are more than 4,000 live sites in different parts of the country. Just last week, we launched free Wi-Fi sites in the Province of Antique, including in indigenous communities. We aim to have more than 15,000 sites in 2023, and 100,000 sites by 2025.


Our Tech4ED Project and DigitalJobsPH Program are both focused on improving ICT services in rural areas. These programs have helped improve the country’s IT-BPM sector, which saw an increase of 8.4% or 121,000 full-time employees in the Philippines in 2022. The industry also saw a growth of 10.3% in revenues to reach a total of $32.5 billion in 2022, surpassing the 2021 earnings of 29.5 billion.


We want to increase the Philippines’ stance as the top investment destination for global services in the world. We will do this through the Digital Cities 2025 Program, which aims to expand the IT-BPM sector and bridge industry progress in the countryside to strengthen local economies.


While these programs seek to promote digital inclusion, we also need to ensure that they address the digital gender gap.


In line with this, we conducted the Women and ICT Development Index (WIDI) Survey 2022, the first-ever national survey that aims to generate indicators on how women are able to access and use ICTs. Data from the survey will provide a comprehensive evidence base for more gender responsive ICT policies, plans, and programs.


In closing, bridging the gender digital divide is crucial to achieving gender equality and promoting economic growth. Through policies, programs, and initiatives that prioritize digital inclusion and gender equality, the Philippine government is committed to ensuring that no one is left behind in this rapidly evolving digital world. Let us continue to work together towards a future where every individual, regardless of gender, has access to and can fully participate in the digital economy. Thank you.

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