U.S. Embassy Cotonou Hosts Panel Discussion on DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality

U.S. Embassy Cotonou hosted Minister of Digitalization Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou to discuss this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” In front of an audience of tech students from Seme City and younger Beninese leaders, Minister Adam Soulé Zoumarou shared her insights on the role of technology in advancing gender equality and on how women can enter the tech field. Minister Adam Soulé Zoumarou is an alumna from the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship (the premier exchange program for outstanding young African leaders) and other YALI alumni attended the discussion.

The discussion was part of the U.S. Embassy’s ongoing commitment to promoting gender equity and women’s empowerment. Gender inequality is a pervasive issue, and the Embassy believes technology has the potential to be a powerful tool for advancing gender equality. Gender equality is a U.S. priority because it is fundamental to efforts to promote free and fair democracies, inclusive economic growth, international peace and stability, ” U.S. Ambassador Brian Shukan said while addressing the audience. “ Innovation and technology have the power to make our world more inclusive and equal. We must use these tools responsibly and ensure that they are accessible to all.”

During the event, Minister Adam Soulé Zoumarou discussed the opportunities and challenges in using technology to promote gender equality, including the need to ensure women’s and girls’ digital inclusion. The Minister highlighted the important role her ministry plays in promoting digital literacy and creating opportunities for women in the technology sector. She also mentioned notable breakthroughs such as the digitization of microcredit and her ministry’s LeARN program (which provides women advanced training in digital professions). 

As part of its commitment to promote women’s empowerment, U.S. Embassy Cotonou (through the U.S. African Development Foundation and Academy for Women Entrepreneurs) provides training and resources to women entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. U.S. Embassy Cotonou also (via the Mandela Washington Fellowship) helps increase the number of women in leadership positions in the public and private sectors, including careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics areas (STEM).   

Event’s photos are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAxT2D