Women's unequal participation in the digital economy hinders development in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The regional United Nations agency presented its latest study at the opening of the 12th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, being held in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, on Oct. 15-18.
The study, titled "Women in the digital economy: breaking through the equality threshold," said that in several regional countries, "women equal men in terms of Internet access, but are at a clear disadvantage when it comes to using it."
Average Internet usage rates among women are 8.5 percent lower than that among men in 10 countries with available data.
"This limits the personal and professional development of women," said ECLAC.
The agency defined the digital economy as including telecommunications infrastructure, especially broadband networks, information and communications technology (ICT) industries (hardware, software and applications) and the level of users' digital literacy.
"In recent years, all countries saw an increase in the number of men and women reporting using the Internet," according to the agency, "but the gap between the two sexes only narrowed in Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay. The gap widened in the other countries."
In Chile, a country that has one of the highest Internet usage rates overall, the difference between men and women is almost 5 percent (39.3 percent versus 44 percent), said ECLAC.
The difference is even starker in Peru, with 26 percent of women and 34.1 percent of men reporting using the Internet.
This digital gender gap is more common in urban than rural areas, and mainly affects older women of all levels of education.
The agency urged countries in the region "to guarantee women's economic autonomy, increase their participation in the labor market and recognize the unpaid work mainly done by them."
简明释义：根据拉丁美洲和加勒比经济委员会拉丁美洲和加勒比（拉加经委会）周二公布的一项新的研究表明，妇女在数字经济中的不平等参与将阻碍发展。该机构定义的数字经济，包括电信基础设施，特别是宽带网络，信息和通信技术（ ICT ）行业（硬件，软件和应用程序）和用户的数字素养水平。