Technology has no gender: Nigerian women and girls declare urgent need for multi-stakeholder commitment to bridge the global gender digital divide

Gadgets are for girls too; expressed stakeholders during the “Girls and ICT Session” in the just concluded First Lady’s summit on women and girls in Abuja convened by Friends Africa and the National Centre for Women Development. It was observed that parents seemed to segregate when purchasing learning toys for kids, providing gadgets for the boys and the more perceived “feminine toys” for girls. The stereotype is deeply rooted in homes, which is one of the reasons for fewer girls in ICT today. From the keynote speech where the girls’ representative declared “only teach us to weave baskets and palm frond brooms, if it will take us to the moon”; to the session, facilitated by Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), the summit exposed seven key areas expected of the 21st century girl to keep abreast technology.
Girls must be given the education that equips them to apply knowledge and be comfortable with gadgets and apps; Be able to use technology for effective communication, interaction and expression; Be able to collaborate, network and teamwork digitally; be inventors and creators of technology; Be able to sharpen critical thinking and problem solving skills digitally; be able to research useful information on the internet to improve their lives and lastly; must fully understand security, privacy and internet safety.
It is the responsibility of all stakeholders at the various levels of leadership to ensure that the enabling environment is provided for both boys and girls equally.

The technology gap between males and females globally are well documented. Unfortunately, institutions are not fully aware of the deleterious implications of this divide. Tech multinationals and big companies who do not have adequate women on board should be prepared to face a disruptive decline in revenue anytime in the future as women constitute a higher percentage of purchasing decision makers globally. A gender reprisal revolution is looming, which will create a market shift from organizations with fewer females on board to those with more. Why should women be side-lined as creators of technologies when they are higher “consumers” of same? Little wonder some tech products these days fail the overall usability test….. Read full article

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