Jeddah 8th March 2019: The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) in unison with the theme of the ‘International Women’s Day 2019’ calls for elimination of all structural barriers to bridge the gender digital divide. IPHRC also encourages the use of technology based innovate ways and means to enhance the opportunities for women and girls enabling them to fully realize their potential and meaningfully contribute towards sustainable development of their respective societies.
The Commission emphasizes that Islam has established complimentary relationship between men and women through codification of rights and responsibilities and calls for equal opportunities, in particular good education, health care and nutrition to women and girls to be able to effectively contribute to the process of building peaceful and resilient societies. On this important occasion, IPHRC reminded that discrimination based on sex is prohibited under core human rights treaties, including common article 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, providing for equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all rights.
The IPHRC, since its inception, has adopted women’s rights as one of its priority areas of work. It has regularly participated in the UN CSW sessions and other Ministerial Conferences on Women’s Role in the Development and made effective contribution to reinforce full and effective implementation of the women rights protected under international obligations. Presently, the Commission is engaged in the revision of Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam and OIC Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam where particular emphasis is being laid on protection and promotion of women’s rights and rights of the girl child.
Recalling the potential of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), IPHRC emphasized the need for using ICTs for empowering women and girls by creating inexpensive real time online resources for raising awareness about their rights and acquisition of required knowledge and skill development. Access, control and the use of ICTs is an effective enabler to achieving gender equality and equity. Thus, positively impacting women’s right to participate in the cultural life; enjoy the benefits of scientific progress including the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. For instance, use of telemedicine technologies could connect women in remote areas with the advanced global health facilities. Unfortunately, however, unequal access, limited by physical and socio-cultural barriers, remains a key human rights concern, which has led to widening of gender digital divide. Even where the access is available, women and girls are at a disadvantage in translating it into effective use, which has augmented the vicious cycle of feminization of poverty.
The Commission stressed the need for adopting and implementing rights-based inclusive national laws and policies that encourage female students to pursue science, technology, engineering, math and IT careers through integrated initiatives. Such measures may include, reserved quotas, tax breaks and other incentives to strengthen women’s representation and participation in technology related roles, it added.