Technology sector and the internet can be a great enabler for girls in Africa. However, with the rapid developments in technology, the digital gender divide remains unnoticed as it widens. Changing perceptions and attitudes of every one around the globe is an important part of achieving gender equality in technology.
The Miss.Africa, a gender-focused initiative targeted mainly at female youth audiences in Africa to increase early technology use and adoption, is actively getting involved to address this digital divide. The program has run several initiatives in Africa to equip girls and women with digital skills that enables them survive in the technology sector.
As part of its activities, Miss.Africa supports initiatives that encourage women in technology with an annual seed fund program that is open to all African countries. This milestone motivates participants by funding them while spreading the digital inclusion concept and addressing the technical skills gap around the continent.
As the Founder of the Miss.Africa Program, Sophia Bekele notes in the ITU Girl In ICT Day Announcement;
“…An entry point for girls in ICT is the use their own smart devices, like mobile phones and built-in applications to expand their expertise in App development. Second is the active use of social media tools and ways to use them to create value for purposes of branding, marketing and global communications”
According to ITU, International Girls in ICT Day had been celebrated in over 160 countries with over 7,200 events in which over 240,000 girls and young women have already taken part. We know that many more celebrations and girls have been reached in 2017. ITU estimates that 257 million fewer women than men access the Internet. Understanding the barriers that women and girls face is of utmost importance, both for the women not enjoying the benefits of the digital revolution, and for all of us who count on the innovative, creative talents of all members of society to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges.
Kenya as a whole has a lot to do in making sure that more girls take up technology related careers and subjects. This includes cultivating the idea early on by doing outreach in schools, producing more literature and documentaries on role models to whom young women can relate. This is to show them that these opportunities are equally available as they are to men. Encouraging participation in tech related programs, introducing tech-rated devices in schools as this will bring about an interest in technology.
As we embark on the path to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ICTs are a key driver to empower women & girls and Miss.Africa is committed to enhancing the use of digital technologies to promote the empowerment of women in Africa while celebrating all the Girls in ICT.