Statement at Ministerial round table at the Commission on the Status of Women

State Secretary Bjørg Sandkjær’s statement at Ministerial round table at the Commission on the Status of Women: “Fostering inclusive innovation and technological change to empower women and girls and create safer digital spaces”

Chair, your excellencies, distinguished participants, dear colleagues.

We are gathered here today to foster inclusiveness and empowerment. New technology and innovation must be developed together with and for women. We need to include and empower woman and girls.

We must work to ensure that digitalization comes hand in hand with social inclusion and digital self-determination.

The “Digital Public Goods Alliance” is a true ally in this regard.

Limited access to the internet and digital services exacerbates social and economic disparities. We - the members of the United Nations - therefore need to be determined. We cannot allow restrictions on people’s opportunity to participate in the society.

We need social progress and better standards.

That is why we must commit to our “Common Agenda” and the “Global Digital Compact”.

We need to support digital solutions that empower women’s economic and political participation. We must work against existing patterns of gender inequalities.

We must support efforts to ensure an open, free, reliable and safe internet.

Gender based discrimination and online violence are major obstacles. An obstacle to women and girls’ equal participation in society.

The situation became worse during the pandemic.

I am sure we all recall the empty streets.

And almost everywhere in the world, most things took place online.

Also, sexual harassment.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must work to ensure that the internet reinforces democratic principles, gender equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Sexual harassment, online hate speech, disinformation and propaganda increase polarisation and undermines trust in democratic institutions and values.

Let there be no doubt. Norway will participate and commit to ensure that women and girls enjoy the fullest share of the dividends of our digital present and future.

Thank you for your time, I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.