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Webinar on “Changing Attitudes of Men towards Women and Technology”, August 24, 2020, WSIS Forum 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

 Monday, December 28, 2020

Webinar on “Changing Attitudes of Men towards Women and Technology”, August 24, 2020, WSIS Forum 2020, Geneva, Switzerland


INIT in collaboration with UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, COMSATS University Islamabad and Ministry of IT and Telecommunications Islamabad conducted a Webinar on “Changing Attitudes of Men towards Women and Technology” on August 24, 2020 at WSIS Forum 2020, Geneva, Switzerland.


The aim of this session was to showcase and validate the finding of the joint research conducted by INIT, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D and COMSATS University Islamabad to better understand men’s attitudes and behaviours towards women and technology in Pakistan.


The research undertook 12 focus groups (7 for men only, 4 for women only, and one mixed) using a broadly similar template for both men and women, that began with very broad and open questions and then focused down on more specific issues.  The sample included university students and staff studying and teaching STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), tech start-up companies, staff in small- and medium-sized enterprises, and also in an established engineering/IT company. Focus groups were held in Islamabad Capital Territory, Kashmir, Punjab and Sindh, and they were all approximately one hour in duration. The tentative findings were also discussed in informal interviews held in Pakistan with academics and practitioners to help validate their veracity and relevance.


The session also explored through real life accounts of women working in the technology sector and the challenges and barriers associated from the perspective of gender. Since the session was mainly focused on the case study focusing on Pakistan, COVID-19 implications on working from home and managing a balance in work and personal life from a south Asian cultural perspective were also discussed in detail.


Relevance with the WSIS Action Lines


  • ?1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
  • C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • C6. Enabling Environment
  • C7. ICT Applications benefits in all aspects of life
  • E-Business
  • E-Employment diversity and local content
  • C10. Ethical dimensions of the information society
  • C8. Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic


Key achievements, announcements, launches, agreements, and commitments


Announcement of further strengthening the existing partnerships and conducting similar research in other OIC countries by INIT and UNESCO Chair in ICT4D.


  1. Main outcomes highlighting the following:

The following were the outcomes of the Webinar:


  1. Debated Issues
    • Please capture highlights of the main issues discussed and interactions with audience
    • Live Sign Language support was provided by INIT through Ms. Nasreen Aghai;
    • Need for policy guidance notes to minimize digital gender divide in developing countries;
    • Need of training and support focused on changing attitudes of men in the technology sector;
    • Infrastructure requirements for female employees.
    • Gender digital equality is worsening rather than getting better.


  2. Key achievements and challenges shared by the audience and/or panelists


    • SEHAT Kahani a Pakistani woman led technology startup for enabling female doctors to work from home after marriage was showcased a success story;
    • The research carried out by Dr. Akber Gardezi (COMSATS University Islamabad) and Prof. Tim Unwin (UNESCO Chair in ICT4D) in Pakistan and the guidance notes generated in English and URDU were also showcased (


    • Prof. Tim Stated “Digtal Gender Gap is worsening day by day despite all the efforts made on women empowerment”
    • Dr. Alo stated that “Digital Gender Divide is a big issue for many for many Nigerians, and for many African nations, the cost and where we are economically has been a major factor affecting the adoption of Technology and even more so for women who are less economically empowered”
    • Dr. Iffat stated that “Out of from 60 billion US dollar investment that happened globally in the last four years on technology only 1.8 billion US dollar investment was made in startups or companies build by a woman. And if you talk about Pakistan the situation is no different”


  4. Overall outcomes of the session highlighting
    • Main conclusions reached during the discussion
      • Need for effective technology policies to foster more inclusion of women;
      • Human Resource rules should be developed keeping the cultural barriers in mind for women.


    • The vision for implementation of WSIS Action lines beyond 2015
      • To achieve inclusion and reduce digital gender divide through C1 (Role public governance policy and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for Development);
      • To achieve inclusion and reduce digital gender divide through C7 ( Education and Governance)
      • To ensure C8 (Cultural diversity and identity , linguistics diversity and local content)


  5. Main linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals (please specify the SDGs)

    The thematic areas of the workshop focused on:

    • SDG 4: Quality Education
    • SDG 5: Gender Equality
    • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth


  6. Emerging Trends related to WSIS Action Lines identified during the meeting
    • There was a focus on ensuring more inclusive work places especially in the technology sector where lack of infrastructure were routinely pointed by panelists and audience for C1;
    • C10 was also touched upon the ethical dimensions of the information society;


  7. Suggestions for Thematic Aspects that might be included in the WSIS Forum 2021

Technology and inequality exploring the impact of monopolization.


The following panelists participated it the Webinar:


  1. 1.Prof. Tim Unwin

    UNESCO Chair, Emeritus Professor of Geography,

    UNESCO Chair in ICT for Development (ICT4D), Royal Holloway, University of London


  2. 2.Dr. Bushra Hassan

    Assistant Professor

    International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan


  3. 3.Dr. Tahir Naeem

    Director Lahore Campus (CUI) / Executive Director (INIT),

    COMSATS University, Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology


  4. 4.Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram


    Sehat Kahani, Pakistan


  5. 5.Dr. Alo Ohio-Omonkhomion


    Brains & Butter


  6. 6.Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga


    Sehat Kahani, Pakistan


  7. Sahar Habib

    Communications Director,

    Code for Pakistan


  8. 8.Dr. Akber Gardezi

Assistant Professor,

COMSATS University, Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology

The recording of the Webinar can be accessed at  

Click here for Program

Click here for Pictures

Keywords: Webinar