Smart societies, gender and the 2030 spotlight - are we prepared?
Keywords:equality between women and men, sustainable development, inclusion, AI, smart society
Smart societies cannot develop without adequate human and social capital nourished by the accumulation of knowledge. Today this process is driven by the new information and communications technologies. While digitisation is permeating all areas of life, it has become clear that technological revolution is not just a purely technical (or economic) process, but also a social one and it is not gender-neutral. Technology can help women and girls access new opportunities, means of expression and channels for participation. However, technological boom can also cause imbalances in the convergent environment. People will need a variety of skills to be able to contribute on an equal footing to the digital transformations but these skills are not equally distributed across all social groups. Debates nowadays extend even further to encompass artificial intelligence and experts have repeatedly underlined that advanced automation technologies can bring about not only great opportunities for humanity but also risks. Challenges can stem from the accelerated use of artificial intelligence without respecting such categories like gender, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. International bodies raise the admonition that “transparency and accountability for the data behind AI is critical to reducing bias, but very difficult to govern or enforce.” The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  embody a human rights’ based roadmap for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is a crucial goal among others in this important set of priorities for humanity. Only by ensuring the rights of women and girls across all the goals will we get thriving economies, a sustaining environment now and for future generations and genuine social inclusion for a smart society.
The article will present a new elaborated version of the summary of the research on gender issues in the converged environment done in the period 2018 – 2020 within the EC COMPACT project.