Increase connectivity around the world

This was one of the simple, but far-reaching core messages discussed at the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67). But why is connectivity so important? Well, by ensuring everyone has internet access, we can create a more inclusive and equal global society.


A major cause of inequal opportunities is literacy. Of the 770 million illiterate adults (reading and writing), two-thirds are women. Similarly, of the children who are unlikely to ever set foot in a classroom, two-thirds are girls (according to UNESCO, summer 2021).


One way to increase literacy is through digital learning, however 37% of women and girls have NO access to the internet worldwide. Less online access means fewer opportunities.


“Digital technology is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”

Said during her speech on International Women’s Day in the General Assembly Hall in UN, New York by Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the first woman in 157 years to become ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Secretary-General.


Doreen Bogdan-Martin and  SI UN representative Stacy Ciulik


Reduced future job opportunities


In addition to existing female illiteracy, we are facing digital illiteracy as well.


Our world is rapidly becoming more and more reliant on technological and digital solutions, meaning that the workforce’s skills need to reflect that by being related to the STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Afterall, according to UNESCO’s estimate, by 2050, 75% of all jobs will be related to STEM.


Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU General Secretary, said during her speech:


  • “Get girls into STEM at an early age, and empower women and girls with the digital skills they need to succeed”


  • “Ensure women and girls have equal access to digital technologies and opportunities, and base decisions on solid facts and data.”


  • “Give women a seat at the digital table, making gender equality a must in every organisation.”

We, the Soroptimist International of Europe Programme Team, saw these remarks repeated in many sessions we attended at CSW67: how to increase connectivity/access to the Internet to get more girls into STEM as a way forward to decrease the gender-gap in the society and at future workplaces, and to end illiteracy for women and girls.


Sandra Gonzalez Sköld, SIE Programme Director, & Jitka Kratochvílová, SIE Assistant Programme Director


One of the recommendations, submitted to the member states to influence the agreed conclusions, was to acknowledge Internet access as a human right with regard to the Human Rights Council resolution on the Promotion, protection and enjoyment of the human rights on the Internet (GE.12.15325) to ensure uninterrupted, free, safe, accessible Internet and digital platforms.


As a Soroptimist you can contribute


We Soroptimists are already encouraging girls and young women to learn STEM-subjects, however, we need to increase our efforts. While doing so, we must also be aware of the ‘basics’: equal access to the Internet.


Do all girls have equal access to the internet in your town?


Do girls have equal access to technology, multimedia-labs or science-rooms?


How can you and your club develop projects to increase connectivity?



Find out more about CSW67 and STEM subjects:



Sandra Gonzalez Sköld,

Jitka Kratochvílová

SIE Programme team 2021-2023