Thank you Chair, and thank you, panelists.
Young women and girls in small island states face specific and additional challenges when it comes to the gendered digital divide – our large ocean spaces, and multiple, often remote islands, face limited connectivity. This adds to our existing challenges posed by climate change, and existing high rates of gender-based violence.
While digital technologies offer potential solutions – both for climate change and for advancing gender equality – they can also be a source of harm. The large carbon footprint of new and emerging technologies, along with new forms of technology-facilitated gender-based violence, pose a threat to young women and girls in the Federated States of Micronesia and other small island developing states.
However, girls and young women are also leading the solutions. We raise our voices on international platforms, negotiating to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as well as promoting the rights of women and girls. In the Federated States of Micronesia, we are harnessing digital technologies to reach girls to discuss what is often a taboo topic – menstruation. One topic among many for which we are trying to create a digital platform through online surveys used to help understand the needs of adolescent girls. These surveys pose an example of how we are using tech to put sustainable and affordable innovation into the hands of young women and girls, to help them take control over their own bodies, and their own lives.
Additionally, the Federated States of Micronesia has created various empowering online materials through the Inspiring Women’s Advancement Through Collective Action program, a program which seeks to reduce gender discrimination towards women in the workplace and ensure that project partners have increased capacity to act against gender discrimination within their institution.
We call on members, civil society, international agencies, and other stakeholders to join us in promoting sustainable and resilient technologies that support and enable the empowerment of young women and girls everywhere, including in our small island, big ocean states.