Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Closing the Gender Digital Divide

Closing the Gender Digital Divide - Empower Women Create the Future

Just like men, more women need to use ICTs to be more productive and effective as they carry out their career and life roles in an ICT driven world. We all need to use ICT to manage information, for work and business, to interact with colleagues, friends and family, to have a voice in local, national and global communities.

For Women in ICT Blog, digital exclusion is a luxury none of us can afford. But the participation of women in ICT should not be limited to consumption. Women should be able to create and shape ICT and contribute as professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators.

So how well are women using ICT to realize their potentials? In particular how has ICT helped the economic and social development of women? Women in ICT Blog is of the opinion that gender inequalities in ICT hinder the ability of girls and women to access and use ICT.

For example, isn’t it amazing that very few women work in such an important sector (ICT)? And when women work in ICT, where do they work in large numbers? ICT creates more jobs, but in which areas do you see more women? Are most women in places they can fulfill their dreams? Highly skilled, high value added, or the “dirty and sweaty” dead-end work? At the “Empower Women, Create the Future” session organized by Jidaw Systems, Women in ICT Blog asked:  How can we grow as a nation if half of the population is not fully involved in an area that has become an imperative to innovation, business and organization? We cannot create the future in this manner.

Women in ICT at the March 2011 Free IT Career Seminar

Women need to be empowered to enhance their contribution to growth and to live their dreams. Are technologies, including ICTs, really gender-neutral? All over the globe, women’s enrollment in science and technology programs is low. Surveys conducted regularly at Jidaw's IT training center indicate the percentage of women that enroll for IT Training and certification courses is always less than 6%. Without ICT education how can women fulfill their potential with ICTs? What are the economic and socio cultural issues at play? How well informed are girls and women about ICT career and entrepreneurship opportunities? Concerning ICT, are women aware of all the issues at stake? This special session on women at the free career seminar questioned whether women are getting the right information on ICT and ICT careers. Through what lens are women looking at ICT? To the Women in ICT Blog, these are the key areas and issues of concern.

The Blueprint

Human beings discriminate. Societies discriminate. Technology does not discriminate. If you have the interest, passion, education and creative flair nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, should stop you. Your ability to write a software program has nothing to do with whether you are a man or woman. To create a real sustainable future, women need to have equal opportunities for income generation, career development and improved quality of life through ICTs. With ICT skills you are able to use your abilities, potentials and ideas in different areas of technology at all levels. 

The message of the Women in ICT Blog is that we ALL need to create a just, realistic and better tomorrow when women can fully contribute and improve their communities; when women can live their dreams as ICT users, professionals and entrepreneurs. It’s time to remove the status quo barriers hindering gender equality and the advancement of women with ICTs. 

There is no other blueprint. Closing the digital divide between women and men – the gender digital divide - is the blueprint.

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Nigeria Computer Society

Nigeria Computer Society
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