Project Title

The Untapped Economic Potential of Including Women in the Digital Economy in the APEC Region 

Project Year

2020   

Project Number

PPWE 07 2020A 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Project in Implementation   
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Project No.

PPWE 07 2020A 

Project Title

The Untapped Economic Potential of Including Women in the Digital Economy in the APEC Region 

Project Status

Project in Implementation 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

APEC Support Fund 

Sub-fund

ASF: Women and the Economy 

Project Year

2020 

Project Session

Session 2 

APEC Funding

39,000 

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

39,000 

Sponsoring Forum

Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) 

Topics

Gender 

Committee

SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

Chile 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Australia; New Zealand 

Expected Start Date

01/07/2021 

Expected Completion Date

30/06/2022 

Project Proponent Name 1

Maria Jose Martinez (wef 2 December 2021) 

Job Title 1

Head, Studies Department 

Organization 1

Ministry of Women and Gender Equality 

Postal Address 1

Not Applicable 

Telephone 1

(56-225) 196400 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

mmartineza@minmujeryeg.gob.cl 

Project Proponent Name 2

Not Applicable 

Job Title 2

Not Applicable 

Organization 2

Not Applicable 

Postal Address 2

Not Applicable 

Telephone 2

Not Applicable 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

Not Applicable 

Declaration

Maria Jose Martinez 

Project Summary

The APEC region is host to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of the digital economies growth as well. In South Asia, a Facebook and Bain & Co report published in 2020 shows that, by the end of 2020, the number of digital consumers will reach 310 million, a number originally forecast to be reached by 2025. In spite of the economic potential, women continue to be excluded, especially in the digital economy. A McKinsey Global Institute Publication issued in 2018, estimated that USD $4.5 trillion could be added to the collective Asia-Pacific GDP by advancing women’s equality in the economies of the region. To this date, no report has estimated the untapped potential of including women to the digital economy.Chile plans to carry out a research project that: (I) identifies and examines gaps in internet access and use of technology for women from diverse backgrounds, identities and experience that limit their participation in the digital economy throughout the APEC region; (II) estimates the potential economic and social gains of eliminating such barriers; and (III) highlights policies that have successfully contributed to closing these gaps, and develop an recommendations to drive inclusion of women in the digital economy, especially in light of economic recovery efforts post Covid-19. The project will begin in April 2021 and the research paper will be presented at the 2021 WEF.

Relevance

Relevance – Region: Globally, as of 2019, approximately 58 percent of men were internet users compared to 42 percent of women (ITU, 2019). Additionally, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU, 2019), “women are still 10 percent less likely than men to own a mobile phone and are 23 percent less likely than men to use the mobile Internet”. Access to digital technologies, skills and platforms has the potential to empower women socially and economically by creating new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, removing trade barriers for them, enhancing access to finance and information, and optimizing their business processes and communications.

In 2012 Dalberg Global Development Advisors published one of the most relevant estimations with regards to the untapped potential of including women in the digital world. According to their estimation, developing economies could increase their GDPs from USD 13 to 18 billion by doubling the number of women and girls online (Dalberg, 2012). More recently, the Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020 of the GSM Association showed that in low and middle-income economies 54% of women now use mobile internet and the gap is narrowing. The report also estimated that closing the gender divide in mobile internet in low- and middle-income economies could generate an additional $700 billion in GDP growth. 

There is no doubt that, while that pandemic has hurt female participation in the labor force all around the world, it has also paved the way for an accelerated growth in the digital economy. In South Asia, a Facebook and Bain & Co report published in 2020, shows that by the end of 2020, the number of digital consumers would reach 310 million, a number forecast to be reached by 2025. The APEC region is host to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies in the world. A McKinsey Global Institute Publication issued in 2018, estimated that USD $4.5 trillion could be added to the collective Asia-Pacific GDP by advancing women’s equality in the economies of the region. However, an APEC study published in 2019 on the gender digital divide, led by the OECD and Chile, found that worldwide roughly 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and can access mobile Internet. Women are on average 26% less likely than men to have a smartphone. 

Over the past years APEC has made sustained efforts to advance women’s economic participation and empowerment. Workshops like the “APEC Workshop on Fostering Inclusive Digital Economy: Empowering Women through participation in digital startups”, “APEC Workshop: Strengthening Women Empowerment in Industry 4.0 through Digital Entrepreneurship Training”, “Women’ Leadership in Digital Era: Agility, Adaptability, Fluency” or publications such as the “Advancing Inclusion through Enhancing Women and Girls' Digital Literacy and Skills in the Context of Industry 4.0” and “Bridging the Digital Gender Divide” have helped build a solid background to further the inclusion of women in the digital economy. 

However, we are certain that working on producing an estimation of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy will open a new conversation with regards to best practices and actions to be taken in this regard.

Relevance – Eligibility and Fund Priorities:

This project meets the eligibility criteria for the Women and the Economy Sub-Fund by improving the “enabling environment for trade and investment and economic participation for women” by focusing on the following PPWE Pillars: (I) Access to markets and (II) Innovation and technology. The project will also be developed led by Chile’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, therefore will include women’s perspective in the design, implementation, and evaluation. 

Relevance – Capacity Building:

This project will build capacity by informing economies in the region of the economic impact of not including women in the digital economy in the region.  The project will also build capacity by sharing information and knowledge on best practices, providing recommendations to properly address the current gender digital gap in the region, based on the project’s estimation. This will be of particular relevance to developing economies, where female labor participation rates are well below male labor participation rates. For example, economies with a female participation rate inferior to 57%, which is the average in the region, will benefit the most from the estimation of the economic impact, sharing of best practices and drafting of recommendations. 

The project is expected to further the conversation on best practices to incorporate women into the digital economy around the region. 

This project’s outcome is also expected to enhance policy coordination among policymakers and relevant stakeholders within the region related to decreasing the economic impact of not including women in the digital economy.

Objectives

This project’s objective is to give an estimation of the untapped economic potential of including women in the digital economy, thereby providing a starting point for economies to commit to the key actions set in the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth: “strengthening the sharing and use of data and best practices to bridge the digital gender divide”. As such, this project’s goal is to inform economies in the region of the economic potential of including women in the digital economy throughout the APEC region. This effort will be carried out through research, an estimation of the cost of the current gender digital divide, and finally a workshop that will help compile best practices, provide recommendations to devise a common path to accelerate women’s digital inclusion as a part of the post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Alignment

Alignment - APEC:  This project aligns with the 2019 Women and the Economy Forum (WEF) Statement: “...We recognize that data are fundamental to advancing the inclusion of women in the economy. We encourage greater efforts to collect, analyze, disseminate and leverage sex-disaggregated data”. By providing a groundbreaking estimation of the cost the digital gender divide has, we will be furthering the efforts to collect, analyze and disseminate data. As we explore the subject, we hope we might even start the conversation on including this estimation as part of APEC’s dashboard.

The project also aligns with the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth as it “...seek[s] to provide concrete direction and catalyze policy actions across APEC that will drive greater inclusive economic development and participation of women in the Asia-Pacific region”. We expect that by setting precedent on the cost of the untapped potential, we can help start conversation on APEC’s fora about how to create policies that help incorporate women in the economy, especially within the region.

Finally, the project aligns as well with the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap: “...APEC economies should promote policy measures and technical means to bridge the digital divides between and within economies, regions and groups, in addition to promoting universal broadband access”. We hope establishing the cost we can also help different APEC fora to embrace policy debate and projects that can promote universal broadband access to both men and women, equally.

Alignment – Forum: This project aligns with the 2019-20 PPWE Strategic Plan mission statement: “...The PPWE will achieve this by engaging with key stakeholders, undertaking research and data collection”. It also aligns with the same document’s “Objective 1.4: The PPWE will strengthen and promote gender analysis tools to inform policy and programmatic gender initiatives…”

TILF/ASF Justification

Not Applicable.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: Due to the current global situation, we do not expect to execute any type of in-person event. However, this project’s budget does consider the following outputs:

1. Research Paper: Development of a research paper to be published as an APEC publication, which will be created using available data sources, and will provide an overview of women’s participation in the digital economy and an estimation of the economic potential of increased female participation in the digital economy in the APEC region. This paper will identify current participation, existing barriers to female participation in the digital world and access to skills, entrepreneurship opportunities and the digital economy in the APEC economies. Likewise, it will identify the challenges ahead on incorporating women in the digital economy and the through an economic model, estimate the cost to the region’s economy of not having more women in the digital economy .  This document is expected to have between 30-45 pages.

2. 2-day Virtual Kick-Off  Workshop, (February 2022):

a. A two-day event with 6 sessions, aiming at gathering initial information with regards to the current situation of women in the digital economy (best practices, barriers, challenges)

b. 30 participants; Officials working in institutions in the economies that are in the realm of gender equality, labor, and economy.

c. At least 2 experts for the first 4 sessions would be invited. Experts targeted for these events would include academics expert on gender/labour market/ digital economy; public officials (current or former) from regions different from APEC to share best practices; private sector entities working on initiatives aiming at promoting women’s inclusion in the digital economy; experts from non-governmental sector working on initiatives to further women’s inclusion in the digital world.

d. Workshop Plan:

i. Asses the current situation of women and girls’ access to the digital economy (2 session)

ii. Review Best Practices of economies in the region that have managed to overcome barriers, in light of the new information. (2 sessions)

iii. Agree on a set of recommendations based on best practices gathered, to be submitted to the PPWE’s Work Plan 2022-2024 in light of post COVID recovery efforts. (2 sessions)

3. Summary Report (15 pages) that will gather the knowledge shared during the workshop and recommendations made and will require endorsement from the PPWE. The Summary Report will include:

a. Summary of best practices shared and discussions,

b. Summary of the set of recommendations agreed on the workshop.

c. Circulation for endorsement

Outcomes: 

1. Increased knowledge of women’s participation in the digital economy is achieved.

2. Barriers and data gaps to female participation in the digital economy are identified.

3. An estimation of the untapped potential of including women to the participation is shared with economies in the region.

4. Workshop participant’s knowledge of barriers women face in the digital economy is increased.

5. Workshop participants identified, shared and compiled best practices to incorporate women to the digital economy.

6. A set of recommendations that guides future commitment from member economies on furthering women’s access to the digital world and economy, in light of COVID and the current need for digitalization, has been drafted and agreed on.   

Beneficiaries: 

a. APEC economies: economies with a 57% of female labor participation force or less, would be the primary target. However, economies with a percentage of female labor participation over 57% will also be of great interest as they are well positioned to share best practices and recommendations

b. Policy makers and officials from ministries of women/gender equality or gender experts within ministries like labor, economy, development and finance. Officials will be invited to participate in the workshop, and share best practices, to compile recommendations..  These officials must be involved in the process of designing public policy, providing advice on the matter and/or addressing the barriers women face when incorporating the digital economy.

c. Private sector: organizations in the digital economy who have made efforts to advance female participation in the digital economy will be invited to the workshop to share best practices and recommendations.

d. NGOs, associations, think tanks, research institution and experts: Individuals knowledgeable on the subject of increasing female participation in the digital economy will be invited to the workshop in order to share best practices and recommendations.

Dissemination

The target audience for the research project, the workshop, and the summary report will be policy makers from APEC economies, representatives from the private sector, NGOs and public officials. All materials of the outputs and outcomes will be circulated with the PPWE and the PPSTI, as well as any other relevant APEC fora. The research paper, which will include the estimation of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy and the identification of existing barriers, will be published as an APEC publication. Finally, when the final estimation of the untapped potential is complete, we intend to disseminate that number through a social media campaign to increase the amount of people knowledgeable of the estimation. 

The project overseer will also be sharing electronic versions of the aforementioned materials and documents on the APEC Meeting Document Database. Also, the paper, best practices and recommendations will be circulated and endorsed in all relevant high-level meetings so as to maximize impact. Chile will publish the final version of the paper on the website of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. Finally, the Summary Report will be available as an APEC Publication.

Gender

This project is developed based on pillars (II) access to market; (III) skills, capacity building and health and (IV) innovation and technology. 

PO is committed to achieving gender parity for both speaker/experts throughout the workshop (indicators: % of female vs male participation measured separately for speakers and participants). For participants, PO is committed to achieving a minimum of 40% of the underrepresented gender for participants. 

PO is committed to collecting sex disaggregated data for all speakers and participants (not only those funded by APEC) at the project event. This data will be included when submitting a Completion Report to the Secretariat upon completion of the project, as well as providing guidance to future POs on their own gender parity targets.

Work Plan

Time

Tasks

Deliverables

July 2021

Contracting Process (8 weeks)

ToR and Contract

September 2021

Research Project Kick-off

Contractor to start organizing workshop and research paper workplan

December 2021

Contractor presents research paper workplan

Research paper

January 2022

Workshop Preparation (6 weeks) 

Invitation, List of Experts, Dissemination of paper findings

February 2022

Workshop implementation during WEF

2-day virtual workshop

February 2022

Workshop Summary Report

Summary Report submission

February 2022

Submission of Research Paper

Research Paper

March 2022

Circulation of Workshop Summary Report and Research Paper  in PPWE

Summary Report + Research paper circulated

April 2022

Submit APEC Project Monitoring Report

APEC Project Monitoring Report

May 2022

Submit APEC Project Completion Report and supporting documents

APEC Project Completion Report

June 2023

Participation in long term evaluation of APEC projects conducted by APEC Secretariat

Evaluation



Risks

1. Duplication of capacity building efforts: The goal of this research project and workshop is to deliver an estimation of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy and compile lists of best practices and recommendations of economies that have enacted programs or policies to incorporate more women in the digital economy. While there have been efforts to estimate the contribution to GDP that including more women in the labor force could have in the region, no efforts have yet been undertaken to estimate the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy in the APEC region. While workshops to discuss best practices (and provide recommendations) for doing so have taken place, none have considered the economic impact aspect which our study seeks to explore. Finally, PO will also consult closely with the overseer of relevant projects to identify any overlapping content. 

2. Participation in the workshop is below the established quota: POs will work closely with co-sponsors and economies to confirm their participation in the workshop, and ensure we meet the established quotas. POs will also disseminate workshop information at meetings of relevant working groups and make sure we issue invitations in a timely manner. 

3. Low engagement from economies participating in the workshop: POs will work closely with co-sponsors and economies to collect at least 5 best practices and 5 recommendations. POs will also work closely with other APEC working groups. 

4. Challenges in executing a virtual workshop considering COVID restrictions: PO will work with the Secretariat to ensure all details of running a virtual workshop are taken care of.  

5. Speakers cancel unexpectedly: PO will require that last minute cancellations are sent accompanied by a recommendation of alternative speaker, and will work to ensure that in case of a cancellation this should occur at least 7 days prior to the event.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Evaluation Focus

Indicators

Target Goals

Evaluation Method

Reporting

Outputs

1.   Research Paper

1.   Contracted executed

01 August 2021

Certification by PO

Contract

2.   Information on women’s participation in the digital economy is measured.

Yes/No

Certification by PO

Contract

3.   Barriers, and data gaps to female participation in the digital economy are identified.

5

Certification by PO

Contract

4.  An estimation of the untapped potential of including women to the participation is shared with economies in the region.

Yes/No

Certification by PO

Contract

5.  No. of pages    

30-45

Certification by PO

Contract

2.   2-day Virtual Workshop

6. No. of experts engaged

6

Event Attendance List

Completion Report

7.  No. of participants

30

Event Attendance List

Completion Report

8.  % of participating men/women

40/60

Event Attendance List

Completion Report

9. % of speakers participating men/women

50/50

Certification by PO

Completion Report

 10.  Best Practices Collected

5

Certification by PO

Completion Report

11. Recommendations

10

Certification by PO

Completion Report

3.   Summary Report

12. No. of pages

15

Certification by PO

Email to the Secretariat

13. Submission to the Secretariat

1 Oct 2021

Submission to the Secretariat

Email to the Secretariat

Outcomes

1.   Best practices to eliminate existing barriers to including women to the digital economy

1.   Implementation of international best practices by economies

2021 to 2022

Tracking economies six months after event

Report to Working Group

2.   Workshop participants knowledge of barriers to women to the digital economy and economic cost of untapped potential of including women to the digital economy is increased

2.   % of participants report substantial knowledge increase

75%

Ex-ante and ex-post evaluations survey

Completion Report

3.   developing APEC economies report substantial knowledge increase

25%

Ex-ante and ex-post evaluations survey

Completion Report

4.   women report substantial knowledge increase

30%

Ex-ante and ex-post evaluations survey

Completion Report


Linkages

This project will add value in many unique ways by: 1) providing an estimation of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy in the APEC region, 2) providing a clearer picture of the current data gaps and weakness with respect to digital and gender issues in the APEC region, 3) identifying best practices toward addressing these gaps in the APEC region As such, while this project will reflect on previous work like the “APEC Workshop on Fostering Inclusive Digital Economy: Empowering Women through participation in digital startups”, “APEC Workshop: Strengthening Women Empowerment in Industry 4.0 through Digital Entrepreneurship Training”, “Women’ Leadership in Digital Era: Agility, Adaptability, Fluency” and the “La Serena Roadmap”, it remains unique as it will be the first effort to quantify the economic loss of not including women in the digital economy. We hope that having this unprecedented information will open a new debate on data collection among economies, inform best practices for incorporating women into the digital economy and highlight necessary steps to take advantage of that untapped potential.

A McKinsey Report in 2018 noted that the Asia Pacific region is home to some of the fastest-growing and increasingly innovative economies in the world. It also notes APEC’s Women and the Economy Dashboard as an existing framework to further the women’s agenda. As such, we believe APEC is the best source for funding this project, as it aligns with the Dashboard initiative and will provide information to further collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the region and continue boosting economic growth and social inclusion throughout APEC economies.

Sustainability

The beneficiaries of this project (public officials, policymakers, legislators from APEC economies as well as academics/scholars, private sector stakeholders and other actors responsible for promoting women’s participation in the economy) may further the results and lessons from the project by citing, promoting, and discussing its results in a public stage. By promoting the reported economic impact of the digital gender divide beneficiaries will also be promoting the value of gender equality across the region.

After project completion next steps may include a republication within the work of the PPWE of the report to provide in coming years as an update on the progress made. The latter will help reflect whether efforts to close the gap exist and are appropriate and whether the estimated economic cost increases or decreases.

With regards to the outcomes, we will measure whether there is an improved understanding of the cost of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy, by the amount of future reports, and workshops that include our estimation within the PPWE, and other fora. We will also, in the long run, measure the number of implemented policies and best practices developed that take our work as part of their background.

Project Overseers

María José Díaz (mdiaz@minmujeryeg.gob.cl), Head, ResearchDepartment at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. Maria Jose holds a Business Administration degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University. She was an advisor to the NGO Kodea, supporting the development and implementation of a public-private initiative to improve the digital skills of people in Chile. Also, she was a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank focusing on the management of human capital for digital transformation in the public sector and at MTV developing a social impact campaign to reduce maternal mortality in the U.S.  In 2018 she worked at the United Nations Capital Development Fund in the areas of financial inclusion and women empowerment. Previously, she was the Investors Manager at Cumplo.com, a fintech crowdfunding and worked in the Government of Chile as the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality and as an Advisor to the Ministry of Social Development.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

No.

Tasks

Hours

1.             

Conducting a desk research to gain understanding of the current barriers, and gather available data sources and data sets

150

2.             

Conducting primary research on economies of the region to better understand the subject (interviews)

100

3.             

Conducting secondary research to draft introduction, existing barriers and understand what data sources are available.

100

4.             

Design econometric model to estimate the untapped potential

100

5.             

Estimate the untapped potential of women

20

6.             

Write research paper (45 pages) that includes introduction to the subject, brief analysis of current situation and description of current barriers to women in the digital economy, the estimation of the untapped potential of including women in the digital economy and a conclusion

100

7.             

Creating a list of suitable potential speakers                     

40

8.             

Working with speakers and discussants in drafting, revising, and finalizing agenda of workshop including elaboration of each agenda session and make sure speaker’s materials are in line with the topic

40

9.             

Inviting speakers and discussing term and expected output from speakers

20

10.          

Developing ex-ante and ex-post evaluation

20

11.          

Make sure all technical aspects are taken care of during the event

20

12.          

Taking notes during the workshop

20

13.          

Drafting workshop report (15 pages)

40

14.          

Collecting, analyzing and synthesizing primary and secondary data during and at the end of the project, including but not limited to number of participants, including female participation, ex-ante and ex-post surveys,

80

15.          

Drafting a Monitoring Report

20

16.          

Drafting the summary report of maximum of 15 (fifteen) pages will be submitted to report and evaluate the implementation of the workshop, which will include of the following but not limited to: introduction of the project; brief summary of speakers’ presentations; best practices shared by economies; set of 10 recommendations agreed upon by member economies during the sessions.

60

Total

930 hours


Waivers

Not Applicable.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
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Project No.

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Publication (if any)

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Sub-fund

Project Year

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APEC Funding

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

Sponsoring Forum

Topics

Committee

Other Fora Involved

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

Proposing Economy(ies)

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Expected Start Date

Expected Completion Date

Project Proponent Name 1

Job Title 1

Organization 1

Postal Address 1

Telephone 1

Fax 1

Email 1

Project Proponent Name 2

Job Title 2

Organization 2

Postal Address 2

Telephone 2

Fax 2

Email 2

Declaration

Project Summary

Relevance

Objectives

Alignment

TILF/ASF Justification

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Dissemination

Gender

Work Plan

Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

Linkages

Sustainability

Project Overseers

Cost Efficiency

Drawdown Timetable

Direct Labour

Waivers

Are there any supporting document attached?

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Previous Fora

Secretariat Comments

Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

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PD Sign Off

Batch

Forum Priority

Committee Ranking Category

Committee Priority

PDM Priority

Priority Within Funding Category

Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

PMU Field 1

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PMU Field 3

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