Road to Equality: bridging the digital gender divide in migration

On 8th March 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reaffirms its commitment to achieving gender equality for all women and girls, especially those on the move. Under the theme Road to Equality: Bridging the Digital Gender Divide in Migration, IOM celebrates the achievements of migrant women and girls in technology and innovation while raising awareness of existing barriers to their access to digital services. 

The digital revolution offers transformative opportunities for the empowerment of women and girls. Increasing their access to economic, educational, and social opportunities within technology has the power to not only unlock their potential but also that of their communities and societies.  

At the same time, women and girls continue to face many barriers in accessing technology, not only in terms of infrastructure and affordability, but also due to discrimination and unequal access to skill development opportunities. It can be even more difficult for women and girls on the move.  

In light of International Women's day we spoke with Lizhen Xu, General Manager at Hack Your Future Belgium. Have a look at the video to see how they empower migrant women and girls.

"There are only 17% women in the tech sector in Europe. That means that all the tools, all the apps, the algorithms are being developed by men. So they don't necessarily take into account half of the population, in fact."

"In the selection process there is one sentence that we add everywhere "We encourage women to apply". Because of that sentence, a lot of female students told us, they actually applied, dared to apply."

What does Hack Your Future Belgium do?

Refugees often experience challenges in finding suitable jobs to apply for and further developing their skills. Yet, the number of unfilled vacancies in the IT sector is increasing at a fast pace. Their mission is to provide them training, hence, the necessary skills to pace their job search in the light of the market demand.

HackYourFuture was founded in 2015 in Amsterdam, with the aim to enable refugees to build digital skills for a career in web development, facilitate the integration of newcomers, and address the shortage of qualified workforce in the IT sector. Since 2015, HackYourFuture coding schools have also opened in Denmark and the UK. On the 20th of May 2018, HackYourFuture Belgium has launched the coding school for refugees at BeCentral, the digital campus in Brussels.