Archived Webinar

Gender Learning 2021 - Women and ICT in Urban Operations

"Exploring the likely barriers that women face in owning, accessing, and benefiting from digital sector interventions in urban areas."

This session explores the barriers that women face in owning, accessing, and benefiting from digital interventions and potential opportunities to empower them in WBG urban operations.

Access to the internet is power, yet more than two billion women and girls are silenced, unable to access key resources, information, and opportunities that come with an internet connection. Constraints include lack of finance, limited digital skills, and social and cultural barriers. More than ever, gender disparities in internet access and use are further marginalizing women and ultimately undermining efforts and goals to foster a more gender-equitable world. Urban environments offer opportunities for connectivity and knowledge about the digital world, but for women to reap those benefits more needs to be done to create safe spaces for women and girls to explore the digital world.

This session explores the likely barriers that women face in owning, accessing, and benefiting from digital sector interventions in urban areas. Drawing on the World Bank publications, Engendering ICT Toolkit and Handbook for Gender-Inclusive Urban Planning and Design, here is a discussion on the importance of digital access for women, barriers to women’s access to ICT, and opportunities that ICTs may provide for women’s empowerment. In particular, the session discusses how digital inequalities can diminish the gains urban living has made possible on eroding gender inequalities; present effective ways to address the gender digital divide specifically during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic; identify opportunities for using ICT to empower women; and, finally, share/suggest a set of actions, drawing from existing examples with the potential to address these barriers and provide lessons learned and good practices from real projects.

About the Presenters

Maria Beatriz Orlando

Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank

Maria Beatriz is a Development Economist and Specialist in social inclusion, labor markets, and gender analysis. While at the World Bank she has contributed to gender equality and inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia through applied analytical work, and coordination of efforts to include the gender and social inclusion lens in operations and policy dialogue.

Samia Melhem

Global Lead, Digital Capabilities, World Bank

Samia Melhem is the World Bank’s Global Lead for Digital Capabilities. Her current operational responsibilities include lending and technical assistance for the ICT sector and digital development (DD) in general. In her years of experience in development at the World Bank Group, Samia has worked on telecommunications and broadband policy, public sector transformation, improving health and education services, innovation, and private sector development. She led the WB’s first knowledge toolkit on gender inclusion in ICTs in 2008. She worked in more than 40 countries and led several research products and policy notes on DD. She holds degrees in Electrical Engineering (BS), Computer Sciences (MS), and Finance (MBA).

David Mason

Urban Development Specialist, World Bank

David Mason is an Urban Development Specialist at the World Bank with a background in urban planning, land administration, and affordable housing. Since joining the Bank in 2013 as a consultant, he has worked on analytical and operational activities focusing on housing, urban land, local governance and planning, and public spaces with country experience in Mongolia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. Outside the Bank, he has published research on microfinance, informal settlement upgrading, and local economic development. David holds a doctorate in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. He previously worked as a city planner in Southern California.

Carina Lakovits

E T Consultant, World Bank

Carina is a Housing and Urban Development Consultant working at the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit. She is one of the authors of the World Bank’s Handbook for Gender-Inclusive Urban Planning and Design. Carina also specializes in the design and implementation of housing policies and programs with a particular emphasis on climate resilience and inclusion. She previously worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Cambridge.

Shan Rehman

Social Development Specialist, World Bank

Shan Rehman is a Social Development Specialist working on the intersection of community, economic and digital development. He has a diverse range of professional experiences—including community organizing, management consulting, and urban development policy-making. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Shan was the Program Manager at the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, where he managed community development and affordable housing-focused grant portfolio supporting NGOs across the city. He has also served as a Fellow at the U.S Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where he supported the Startup America initiative; and spent time as an Analyst at a boutique public-sector-focused management consultancy. He began his career as a Community Organizer at Chhaya Community Development Corporation, working on neighborhood revitalization efforts in low-income immigrant communities in Queens, New York. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, Shan holds a BA in Economic Anthropology from Hampshire College and an MBA from Georgetown University, where he concentrated on community development finance and impact investing.

Questions Submitted

jose luis

- Aug 1, 2022
muy bueno


- Jul 28, 2022


- Jun 10, 2022
Truly an eye opener

Mahaman Mourtala

- Dec 9, 2021

Nkechi Linda

- Dec 3, 2021

Jes�s Manuel

- Aug 17, 2021
very interactive


- May 10, 2021


- May 9, 2021
Very interesting.


- Apr 8, 2021

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Apr 8, 2021
Gender Learning 2021 - Women and ICT in Urban Operations
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