The gender divide is one of the most significant inequalities to be amplified by the digital revolution, and cuts across all social and income groups. Throughout the world, women face serious challenges that are not only economic but social as well as cultural obstacles that limit or prevent their access to, use of, and benefits from ICTs.
The digital gender gap weakens the innovation potential of a society by hindering a large proportion of citizen’s productivity. It is a gender inequality with regard to fewer women having access to the use and impact of information communication and technology.
Improved understanding and awareness of these challenges, but most importantly of the opportunities that ICTs could provide for women, are important steps towards bridging the gender digital divide and towards transforming it into digital opportunity. The involvement and engagement of women in the Information Society on an equal footing with men will directly contribute to improving the livelihood of people, making it more sustainable and thereby promoting the social and economic advancement of societies.
Significantly in Africa, a wider gender gap has persisted over the years and this problem is more severe at higher education levels and professional hierarchies. Scientists and engineers of diverse gender, interests, and cultures constitute a more inclusive workforce which in turn produces more innovative and productive results, hence participation of African women at the higher strata of STEM is not simply a matter of fairness but a necessity in growing the economy by harnessing the untapped talent and resources of the continent.
There is therefore a need to close the digital gender gap and ensure that more African women and girls are equally participating in technology revolution to obtain a better gender balance in the STEM sectors.