Telefónica joins the Rural Women's Connectivity Alliance to contribute to reducing the digital and gender gap in rural areas of Latin America. The aim is to achieve the economic, political, and social empowerment of rural women as key players in the development of regional digital economies.
The formal signing of the agreement took place during the Latin American Communications Congress (CLT 2019), held in Córdoba, Argentina, in early July. The initiative, promoted by CITEL since the end of 2018, has also been supported by eight countries (Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, United States of America, Mexico, Paraguay) and various organisations and institutions, namely: CITEL, Web Foundation, COMTELCA, ASIET, CCAT LAT, Internet and Society, GSMA and VIASAT.
From left to right: Yacine Khelladi (Alliance for Affordable Internet), Robert Pepper (Conectividad Global), Óscar León (CITEL), Silvana Giudici (ENACOM), Pablo Bello (ASIET) and José Juan Haro (Telefónica).
Why is Telefónica joining this initiative?
Telefónica's objective in joining this initiative is twofold: to connect the unconnected and to favour gender diversity.
1. Commitment to "connect the unconnected"
At Telefónica, we believe that connectivity is the gateway to the digital world. It is an indispensable ally in addressing the challenges we face as a society, so we cannot leave anyone behind. For this reason, we are committed to promoting digital inclusion, understood as the democratisation of global connectivity and the adoption of internet services. People who are not able to access the digital world will be the new 'excluded' people in the digital society we are building.
We are aware of the benefits offered by connectivity to reduce poverty, improve basic infrastructures and access to cultural, educational, and financial services. In addition, we know that access to digitalisation is essential for the development of countries and their citizens. In this sense, digital inclusion has a direct impact on communities, allowing them to build fairer and more sustainable societies. We are looking to promote universal access to the benefits offered by digital services for all people. Therefore, we are committed to a strong network deployment enabling more and more people to be part of the current digital society.
Bridging the digital divide is a herculean task that requires the joint collaboration of different actors, from the public sector to non-governmental institutions and private companies. With this premise, we have been actively involved in projects such as Internet para Todos, with which we aim to "connect the unconnected".
By joining this Alliance, we continue to strengthen our commitment to facilitating access for all to the digital world, positioning ourselves before regulators and governments in the region.
2. Commitment to gender diversity
At Telefónica, we understand diversity as a key element in identifying, developing, and promoting talent. Therefore, we have incorporated it as a strategic and mainstream element of our global strategy and our Responsible Business Plan.
We know that diversity is a fundamental ingredient for living together in a diverse and changing society. In fact, it promotes innovation and empathy and, as such, generates value for the company and has a positive impact on our results.
With regard to gender diversity, we have opted to become a leading company in promoting equal opportunities and the protection of women's rights, based on our solid organisational commitment to gender equality.
By way of example, some of the projects with which Telefónica joins the Rural Women's Connectivity Alliance are:
- "Internet para Todos", a collaborative project with which we want to bring connectivity to the more than 100 million people who live in areas without internet access or coverage in Latin America. This initiative has already begun to be implemented in Peru, where we have connected 410,000 women out of a total of 800,000 newly connected people so far.
- Profuturo Project: a non-profit organisation promoted by Fundación Telefónica and the La Caixa Foundation that aims to promote the digital education of boys and girls in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Of the total number of teachers trained by Profuturo in Latin America, 141,643 (62%) were women. Of the total number of students benefitting, 1,563,758 (49%) are girls. Within this framework, the course "Induction to ICT" has also been carried out for mothers and women in the communities where Profuturo schools are located, using the capacities already installed in the schools (digital suitcases, training, contents).
- The OAS-Telefónica Prize in the "rural entrepreneurial woman" category of the programme ”Connect to Grow”. This programme is dedicated to identifying, promoting, and rewarding initiatives that generate a positive impact for communities in rural areas of Peru through the use of technologies. This year a new category has been created to reward rural women's entrepreneurship in the areas of education, health, productivity and the environment. Within the framework of the Alliance, this category is jointly awarded by the OAS and Telefónica.