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IGC Reception at Swiss Residence “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”

The theme selected by the United Nations for International Women’s Day 2023, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” aimed to explore the advancement of technology and how this has the potential for innovations that meet women and girl’s needs and promote gender equality.

In the framework of the International Gender Champions Initiative (IGC), Ambassador Raphael Nägeli, Permanent Representative of Switzerland, hosted an event at the Swiss Residence in Vienna. At the event the Gender Champions of the Vienna hub highlighted the achievements made by the network in 2022. In the ensuing panel discussion, the Champions and national expert from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs spoke about challenges and best practices in the context of innovation and technology for gender equality. The panel also deliberated innovative ways to make the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable.
On the importance of promoting gender equality, Ambassador Raphael Nägeli of Switzerland who joined the IGC Vienna-Hub in 2023, stressed that “the equal inclusion of skills, experiences and needs of people of all genders makes our work more effective, our society more just and our world more sustainable.” He emphasized “bringing all genders into technology increases the potential for innovations that meet the needs of the whole society”.


Providing highlights from the 2022 Annual Report of the International Gender Champions report, Ambassador Laura Holgate of the United States of America said, “as we note the formidable progress in last year’s report, we also recognize that much work remains to be done”. She encouraged the Champions to “increase the representation of Global South Champions and bolster the number of civil society leaders”, stressing “we need to bring more private sector into the network. We need more male Champions. We must model diversity and inclusivity within our own ranks, to reflect the values we so passionately advocate”.
Amongst other speakers at the event, Ambassador Katrina Kaktina, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia, highlighted the relevance of data collection. “Now, when AI is more and more present,
it becomes clear that it basically works with already existing data. We need to ensure that needs of all genders are reflected in the AI and are taken into account.” Providing best practice of how Member States can collectively advance work on these issues, Ambassador Annika Markovic, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sweden noted that “the Group of Friends [in UNOV/UNODC] seek to promote gender equality and the mainstreaming of gender while serving as a platform for policy debate and learning.
Reinforcing the need to maintain momentum on the progress achieved on gender equality, Ms. Marina Wyss Ross, the Head Arms Control, Disarmament and Cybersecurity from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs stated, “we’ve seen an encouraging dynamic over the last years towards a more inclusive approach to Arms Control and Disarmament. Especially when it comes to tackling the impact of new technologies, we need to keep this up.
The choices that society makes today will profoundly impact how the digital age will generate opportunities for the empowerment of women and girls. Taking a gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education will help to create a better future—not just for women and
girls, but for all humanity.