24 June 2021

#GenderIDTalks, ALF Marathon for Dialogue in EuroMed: Panel 4 - Youth and Digital

On June 22 2021, the last live Panel of the #GenderIDTalks was held on GEYC's facebook page.

It was organised in partnership with Association la Voix de l'Enfant Rural -AVER / صوت الطفل الريفي and ANKA Youth Association in the frame of the Anna Lindh Foundation Virtual Marathon for Dialogue in EuroMed. 

During the Panel we focused on the importance of youth participation, especially using digital tools, to tackle women and gender stereotypes.

The Panel gathered stakeholders from Europe and EuroMed Region. The guest speakers were:

  • Jaroslaw K. Ponder: Head of the Office for Europe at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (Geneva, Switzerland), representing ITU in Europe and directing actions, projects, initiatives and experts groups targeting 46 countries of the Europe Region.

  • Diana Ionita:  Head of Digital at GEYC. Diana has been actively involved in youth work since 2010, volunteering or working for various NGOs. Currently, she is also working as an online facilitator and coach and is a amember of the Advisory Board on Digital Transformation of Salto PI.

  • Alexandru Manda: Romanian activist for educational justice. Founding member and former president (2015-2018) of the first school students' association in Romania, Alexandru has 8 years of experience as an activist for free access to quality education. At present, Alexandru Manda is programs coordinator at Romanian Academic Society, the oldest think-tank in the country. In 2021, Alexandru Manda received the award Young European of the Year

  • Sara Massini: psychologist specializes in psychological intervention in development and health in developmental age. Head of the international department of OPES Italia, a sports organization belonging to the Italian Olympic Committee network. She has been recently elected in the role as Secretary General of ENGSO working to promote grassroots sport as the engine for stronger, healthier and more equal communities.

  • Fahd Mohammadi: President of Center for Intercultural Understanding, an NGO part of Coconutwork, he hаs experienсe working in youth аnd сommunity work fields in France and the Euro-Mediterranean level. Projeсt mаnаger of numerous youth initiatives in trаining аnd developing innovаtive programs pаrtiсulаrly in the аreаs of intercultural dialogue and social entrepreneurship.

Speakers brought their vision of gender equality and what we can do to tackle gender stereotypes through youth digital empowerment.

Jaroslaw underlined the gender disparity that exists in the access to the internet and digital tools. Globally 52% of women are offline vs 45% of men. Young women struggle in pursuing careers in the STEAMs and ICTs. In the private sector women are still outnumbered by men by 3:1. For this reason the International Telecommunication Union is trying to improve its women delegate representation in every field and supports the SDGs number 5 regarding Gender Equality.

Diana brought her vision as Head of Digital at GEYC and coordinator of #GenderIDTalks by focusing on the importance of promoting an effective online dialogue to bring different perspectives to break down gender stereotypes and barriers in a lot of fields. The digital tools allow us to reach a broad audience and we need to be responsible and ready to convey the right messages that can ameliorate the youth and society. 

Alexandru emphasised the importance of the digital revolution for the future of the youth. We need to ensure quality education in the digital tools to avoid social and economic division in the society. Alexandru is constantly doing advocacy campaigns to increase the local budget in Romania for education. His philosophy of change is that we cannot have sustainable development without the involvement of young people. 

Sara presented his experience in the sport environment, which is historically a male-dominated field. Digital platforms can help us a lot in working and growing with an organisation. Exploiting in the right way the digital tools means finding a professional dimension and a representative position and making the first step to achieve a leadership role. 

Fahd stressed the importance of understanding the difference between radicalisation and extremism: radicalisation is a process, extremism is a possible end result. Radicalisation through digital tools has often been highlighted as one of the problems afflicting young people, particularly those in difficult economic situations or who are particularly isolated from civil society. Radicalisation does not regard only men but affects also women. It’s necessary to increase awareness about the dangers of extremist propaganda directed to women and girls 

Here are some of the most inspiring quotes of the Panel:

Young people are the future and teaching them to be responsible citizens in the real and digital world is part of GEYC's daily tasks. We still see so many people online promoting a culture based on gender stereotypes that have nothing to do with the reality of the world and with the abilities of women and men. 

For this reason GEYC has organised and managed several projects to promote a healthy attitude towards the use of digital tools. Since 2018 GEYC has collaborated with Google and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in the Young Digital Leaders (YDL), a European educational programme that aims to empower young people across Europe through digital citizenship, critical thinking and media literacy skills, beyond the classroom, so that they can grow up safe, responsible digital leaders. The programme also sought to upskill teachers and parents so they could more proactively support this process, with a better understanding of the challenges faced online. 

GEYC is currently organizing the EuroChangeMakers #euroCM, a 18-month project, in the frame of 'Europe for Citizens' programme, Civil Society Projects. The goal is to engage youth in National civic hackathons aimed at discussing, reflecting and proposing solutions for the Future of Europe and using digital storytelling on the SM to make their voices heard.