Digital2Equal is an IFC-led initiative launched in 2018 in partnership with the European Commission that brought together 17 leading technology companies operating across the online marketplace to boost opportunities for women in emerging markets. Under the initiative, participating companies made measurable, time-bound commitments specific to each company’s goals and participated in knowledge-exchange sessions on implementing gender innovations, including contributing to thought leadership on how the digital economy can increase women’s access to jobs and assets.
The companies participating in the initiative consist of global travel company Airbnb, Inc., global transportation platform Didi Chuxing Technology Co., Brazilian online marketplace Elo7, social media company Facebook, South African recruitment app Giraffe, global technology company Google LLC, leading "super app" in Southeast Asia Grab, African e-commerce company Jumia, Southeast Asian marketplace platform Lazada, online professional network LinkedIn, Kenyan work platform Lynk, Latin American e-commerce site Mercado Libre Inc., Chinese online lender and Ant Financial brand MYBank, Indian e-commerce firm Myntra Jabong, customer relationship management platform Salesforce.com Inc., South African home cleaning service app SweepSouth, and global ride-hailing firm Uber.
Join the conversation: #Digital2Equal.
Drawing on company commitments and other data from Digital2Equal members, the 17 case studies below highlight four approaches to building inclusive platforms for women: creating inclusive employment; collecting sex-disaggregated data; designing gender-inclusive products and services; and supporting communities and building ecosystems. Together, the cases featured here showcase a portion of the wide range of activities undertaken during the initiative — as well as newly developed programs to support COVID-19 response and recovery.
In 2018, the global travel platform Airbnb partnered with the World Bank and the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission to hold home-sharing training sessions in India. This case study explores how the program developed training modules aimed at improving women's ability to engage with guests and unlock the value of their homes.
For companies operating in the platform economy, gender dividends are particularly relevant as they are well placed to benefit from increased innovation and improved product and service design for closing current gaps. Global mobile transportation platform DiDi Chuxing realized that women in China face several barriers to equal employment. This case study highlights the company’s efforts to recruit and support more women in the tech sector through the DiDi Women’s Network.
Women comprise the majority of Brazilian online marketplace Elo7’s users. As part of IFC’s Digital2Equal initiative, Elo7 surveyed 1,000 sellers to better understand the needs women entrepreneurs. This case study highlights the survey’s key findings and how Elo7 utilized the insights to develop targeted tools and content aimed at helping women entrepreneurs professionalize their sales efforts in the digital world.
In partnership with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Facebook’s Future of Business (FOB) surveys have gathered insights from millions of small business owners across 97 countries. This case study highlights Facebook’s approaches and explores how insights from FOB surveys informed the development of programs which support women-owned enterprises’ participation in the digital economy through digital skills and business training.
As part of IFC’s Digital2Equal initiative, South African recruitment app Giraffe analyzed salary figures from 122,000 job applicants on the platform. The findings, which are covered in this case study, reveal wage discrepancies between men and women across different sectors in South Africa. They also show a widening wage gap at the bottom of the distribution curve, indicating that low-income women earn significantly less than their male counterparts compared with women in middle- and high-income brackets.
Global technology company Google launched Internet Saathi—a program that seeks to encourage rural women in India to develop and pass on digital literacy skills in their communities—in collaboration with Tata Trusts. The program has helped more than 30 million women learn about the internet in over 290,000 villages across 20 states in India, with over 20,000 villages added in the past year. This case study explores the opportunity to expand women’s access to information and addresses some of the social norms that exacerbate digital divides in India.
Southeast Asian super app Grab initiated the Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap, aimed at raising the bar for safety standards in transportation. This case study explores the importance of safety as a key concern for women users of ride-hailing services and Grab’s design-centered approach in responding to these concerns.
In 2019, African e-commerce company Jumia sold products to more than 6 million consumers across the continent, with an estimated transaction or lead every two seconds. However, growth of e-commerce in Africa is hindered by low connectivity, particularly among women. In Jumia’s home market of Nigeria, only 21 percent of women and 38 percent of men have formal internet access. This case study highlights Jumia’s Women and Youth Empowerment Program—an initiative that aims to build the local e-commerce market in Nigeria by equipping women and Nigerians younger than age 30 with the training and support needed to help them earn additional income through eCommerce.
For Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada, working with mothers is an opportunity to support entrepreneurs who struggle to start and grow ventures. Through its “Mompreneur” initiative, the company reached thousands of working mothers. This case study explores how a pilot in the Philippines demonstrated positive impacts that have led to plans for replication in other markets.
Kenyan work platform Lynk connects blue-collar workers with job opportunities and provides a platform for artisans to showcase and sell their products. As part of IFC’s Digital2Equal initiative, Lynk realized it could support women’s entry into high-paying but male-dominated industries. This case study highlights how Lynk’s approach allowed it to gain a better understanding of the challenges and needs of women who use the platform and helped the company to develop training and financial support schemes.
Digital2Equal: Mercado Libre’s Inclusive Policies Fuel Women’s Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship in Latin America
Twenty years after its founding in Argentina and expansion into 18 countries, Latin American e-commerce site Mercado Libre supports an estimate of 600,000 families. This case study highlights how Mercado Libre’s approach to diversity and inclusion helped increase the proportion of women employees in information technology (IT), management, and senior leadership roles. The company fosters an inclusive culture, nurtures IT talent, and provides women access to technology education. It also shows how a dedication to building diverse teams has inspired equally mindful approaches to creating a better enabling environment for the women entrepreneurs who use the platform.
Chinese online lender MYBank has provided loans to more than 20 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China, using a data-driven approach with more than 3,000 variables to assess within three minutes an applicant’s ability to repay. This case study explores how MYBank has embraced the opportunity of women-owned SMEs as a market, including developing initiatives to help more women take advantage of MYBank’s offerings.
Customer relationship management platform Salesforce is considered a trailblazer in setting standards for equal pay and inclusive practices. This case study charts the development of Salesforce’s inclusion strategy over the past eight years and how initiatives in the past year resulted in equal pay adjustments for 7 percent of employees—96 percent of the pay gaps were due to unexplained differences between genders.
To better understand the needs of domestic workers and to advocate for change in workers’ pay, South African home-cleaning service app SweepSouth conducted a survey of more than 1,300 domestic workers across the country as part of IFC’s Digital2Equal initiative. This case study explores how findings from the survey are informing policy debates on the pay and working conditions of domestic workers in South Africa.
Transport is a key—and often underemphasized—tool for increasing women’s economic potential. This case study highlights global ride-hailing firm Uber’s efforts to increase safety and security for its drivers and passengers by rolling out sexual harassment training to 75,000 drivers in India and by promoting freedom of movement through social media campaigns.