How Africa can bridge the gender digital divide

18 May 2018

Computing

Until now, only a few girls and women in Africa are dispelling the stereotypes associated with technology and science industries in general. There are still a small number of women in digital space compared to men, and the situation is similar in many other areas.

According to the 2016 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average USD95 billion a year, or six percent of the region’s GDP.

Another report released recently by the World Wide Web Foundation indicates that Africa has the widest gap in internet use between men and women. Of all the population that has access to internet, women make up only 25 per cent of them.

Globally, this is called gender digital divide. According to Fode Ndiaye, the One UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator, this divide is jeopardizing the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth.

“Gender inequality is costing Africa billions of money, but also gender digital divide is costing us a lot,” he said.

The World Wide Web shows that there is an estimated $408 million collected to expand internet access throughout Africa sitting dormant in public coffers. Yet, these funds are enough to bring 6 million women online, or provide digital skills training to 16 million women and girls.

“What we have seen is that resources are there, but we need to form partnerships, make sure that we have a clear vision and understand that we owe it to the women of this continent,” Ndiaye told the participants at the Smart Africa Women summit. Read the full article on The New Times here.