Achieve access for women to digital innovations, says WHO

Observing International Women’s Day, the World Health Organisation calls for action in the South-East Asia Region and across the world to ensure every woman and girl has access to digital innovations and technologies. The UN health agency says women’s access to new digital tools in health and other sectors can help close the global gender gap. According to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, the estimated time to achieve global gender equality has increased from 100 to 132 years.

The World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for South-East Asia states that timely and equitable access to digital innovations and technologies can protect, promote and support health and well-being.

But gender inequality limits the ability of women and girls to benefit.

According to WHO, about 61 per cent of women in the Asia Pacific use the internet compared to 75 per cent of men. WHO also states that women are about 12 per cent less likely to own mobile phones than men.

Similar disparities are also found in the health workforce according to the WHO. While women comprise about 70 per cent of the global health workforce but just 25 per cent of senior roles.

This impacts health policies and systems as WHO found that women leaders often expand the health agenda, thereby strengthening health for all.

Furthermore, according to the WHO, the COVID-19 pandemic has further affected the existing gender inequalities.

The WHO reassured its commitment and support for all countries to ensure women’s timely and equitable access to digital innovations and technologies that can create a gender-equal world.

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