Press Release

Native Women’s Association of Canada Heads to UN Conference on Status of Women; Will Focus on Closing Gender Digital Divide


March 3, 2023

The 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women kicks off on March 6 in New York, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will be there as an accredited member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Given that NWAC is running the first-ever Canadian Digispark pilot, the session represents an opportunity to engage in high-level discussions around the gender digital divide, where women remain digitally marginalized, especially Indigenous women, girls, transgender, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse+ people.

Heading the NWAC delegation is CEO Lynne Groulx. She will be joined by Natalie Sterling-Moses, a youth delegate from British Columbia; Lisa Smith, Interim Advisor to NWAC President Carol McBride; Denise Cook from Winnipeg; and Brandy Stanovich, member of the NWAC board of directors.

As the sponsor of Canada’s first digital pilot project for the Trust for the Americas’ POETA DigiSpark, NWAC is very much interested in helping to advance the goals of the Commission and engaging in conversations on how to work towards a more inclusive and equitable digital evolution.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that the theme for this session is Innovation and Technological Change for Achieving Gender Equality,” said Ms Groulx. “Women - and specifically indigenous women - have been historically marginalized. We see in this conference an opportunity for technological innovation to play a crucial role in inclusion and participation, especially toward economic reconciliation and economic justice. NWAC is already implementing projects in technological inclusion with international organizations such as OAS, and we are looking for opportunities to expand these projects with UN support.”

The Commission is the UN Women’s principal intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women around the world. Delegates to the 67th session, which runs from March 6–7, will be considering innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age in the context of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. While the digital revolution brings immense potential to improve social and economic outcomes for women and girls, it also poses the risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality.

Delegates such as NWAC will be exploring this broad theme from many fronts. These include prioritizing digital equity to close the gender digital divide; leveraging private- and public-sector investments to support women-owned enterprises; promoting universal access to education, career development, and vocational and technical education; promoting the participation, employment and leadership of women in technology and innovation; and protecting the rights of women and girls online.

“NWAC is delighted to have been invited to contribute to this session. The Commission’s mission to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women aligns with our own vision where all individuals have an opportunity to develop their talents to achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, access to digital technologies and skills for women and girls is restricted due to lack of access, affordability, lack of education and skills. While that gender digital divide has been narrowing, women remain digitally marginalized, especially Indigenous women. We welcome the opportunity to discuss such issues at this high level.”

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