Information and communications technology is a thriving industry with several opportunities for women. Yet according to Judith Owigar, a founding member of Akirachix, a training and mentorship program aiming to increase the number of girls in the technology sector, women in the developing world don’t seek this industry due to reasons like cultural barriers.
“ICT is a growing industry and it’s hiring a lot of people,” she told Africa Renewal’s Jocelyne Sambira in an interview. “Many girls have not taken advantage of this opportunity due to various reasons such as cultural barriers. Others do not have the minimum education required or they just don’t think ICT is their thing. We need more women to seize these opportunities because it can improve their lives.”
Akirachix prepares many women to start their own businesses. The organization states, “technology empowers the people who use it to create solutions for themselves.”
Not only is it important for gender-equality purposes to encourage women’s participation in ICT, but also for working women to invest their incomes in areas that have fundamental implications for development.
For instance, ONE is an organization advocating for poverty eradication and claims that women invest 90 percent of their earned income on their families. The organization also writes that a survey of women in the developing world showcases that 75 percent of women use the Internet to further their education.
Helena Contes of One policy claims that providing training in technology skills for women is vital to diminishing the digital divide. She states that empowering women begins with a holistic approach to the problem, and by introducing women to technology at a younger age.
Addressing the digital divide can help when dealing with social and economic inequalities and accelerating development. Technology provides a channel for learning and creativity, and is an essential tool for ensuring women’s progress in all spheres of daily life.
– Mayra Vega
Sources: U.N., Pew Global, Akirachix